Feser to compete in World Dwarf Games

St. Ed grad looking forward to challenge

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Kaley Feser, of Fort Dodge, poses with a soccer ball and badminton racket recently. Feser is competing in those two sports at the 2017 World Dwarf Games in Guelph, Canada. The two-week event takes place in August.

A little woman from Fort Dodge is ready to compete on an international stage with other people her size.

Kaley Feser, a 2016 St. Edmond High School graduate, will square off against other little athletes in the 2017 World Dwarf Games in August.

Archery, badminton, basketball, floor hockey, soccer, swimming and volleyball are some of the sports that will part of the competition.

Age brackets exist for all ages.

The only requirement is size. The height of competitors cannot exceed 5 feet.

The event is the seventh of its kind. It is being held in Guelph, Canada, about 45 minutes from Toronto.

“It’s kind of like the Olympics,” Feser said. “But it’s just for dwarfs and it’s a way for us to get involved and be able to play.”

It will be her first time playing against other little people.

Feser has a condition known as dwarfism. Dwarfism is a condition of short stature.

Her parents are Ann Feser and Jeff Feser.

“I am the only little person in my entire family,” she said.

Being smaller has its challenges aside from sports.

“Me being short isn’t the most beneficial in a place that’s built for people that are tall,” she said.

Feser uses a step stool in her day-to-day life.

She often uses one at her part-time job as a cashier at Target.

“I use a step stool at Target and they are very accommodating with that,” Feser said. “If I am at a friend’s house they grab stuff for me. Everyone is very helpful.”

Feser is able to drive. She uses pedal extenders and sits high up in her seat.

“The airbag has to be turned off because I sit so high,” she said.

Searching for clothes is a challenge.

“I can wear an extra small in womens to a medium in kids,” she said. “With our bodies, our torsos are so small, but the rest of us is kind of bigger.”

People’s reactions to her stature have been the most difficult to overcome, she said.

“People will stare at me weird. I know some people don’t fully understand. People don’t think I notice, but I do.”

Having people stare bothers her more now than when she was younger.

“When I was younger my mom would always say something for me,” she said. “My mom was a big help.”

“As the years went on, I realized they were looking at me because I was different,” Feser added.

She would rather people ask her questions.

“If someone has a question, they can ask me,” she said. “I love answering questions.”

While on her high school cheerleading team, a young girl in kindergarten came up to Feser and started asking her lots of questions.

Feser said she’ll never forget that.

“I was a cheerleader at St. Edmond and we did these mini-camps for kids,” Feser recalled. “There was a little girl there who wanted to know more.”

“She wouldn’t just look at me weird,” Feser said. “She came up and asked why I am like this.”

The encounter was special for Feser.

“She was really understanding for being so young,” she said. “It touched me really good. I kind of cried a little bit.”

Cheerleading got Feser recognized by Amber Barwin, head cheer coach at St. Edmond. It was Feser’s senior year at St. Edmond. Her team was cheering during Triton Challenge at Iowa Central Community College.

After the performance, Barwin approached Feser.

“She told me what I did out there was gutsy. She’s like, ‘what you did out there was great.'”

“That was probably the best thing ever,” Feser added.

Feser now attends Iowa Central Community College. Her goal is to become a history teacher.

At the World Dwarf games, she will play doubles badminton with her lifelong friend, Emme Brown, of Nebraska.

Brown is also a little person. The two met as children at a sporting event and have been friends ever since.

“Our moms became friends and we just kind of bonded,” Feser said.

Feser will also be playing soccer with the all-girls team.

She plans to train in Omaha with Brown in the coming weeks.

Feser said she hasn’t played sports competitively for sometime.

“I have never played badminton before and haven’t played soccer for about six years,” she said.

Regardless, she is looking forward to the competition.

“I am excited,” she said. “I have always wanted to visit Canada, but to be able to go there and play games , it excites me a lot.”

The World Dwarf games start Aug. 4 and wrap up Aug. 13.