Since the interview video went viral, Kyven’s name has become synonymous with ice cream. “I just want some ice cream” is on tee shirts, in audio remixes, and all over social media. Never content with the status quo, Kyven took it to the next level and learned how to make ice cream with the pros at the Iowa State University Creamery. Debuting on April 10 is Kyven’s ChampionCHIP Cookie Dough.
So how did this elite athlete go from #1 fan to maven of the world’s best frozen dessert? We sat down to ask Kyven about all things ice cream and the process of making his own signature flavor.
Throughout a successful wrestling career, Kyven was familiar with the post-match interview. “They’re looking for entertainment. The emotions are high, and you never know what someone’ going to say,” he recalls. For Kyven in 2015, that meant a lot of questions about the deeply personal loss of his father to cancer. “I knew what he was trying to do,” says Kyven, “and I just thought to myself, ‘think happy thoughts, what makes you happy? Ice cream.’” Though it seemed a non-sequitor at the time, the answer was borne out of Kyven’s connection to the sport and his father.
Kyven grew up accompanying his father to wrestling tournaments all over the country. A staple at these events was the ice cream vendor. On occasion, he says, his parents would treat him to ice cream after a tournament. “Ice cream makes me reminisce a little bit about the time I got to spend with my dad, you know.” Once he got the greenlight to work with the Creamery, Kyven worked to make his flavor memorable. But first, he had to learn a thing or two about making ice cream.
The Creamery’s team, Director Stephanie Clark and Program Coordinator Sarah Canova, sat down with Kyven to get started. Dr. Clark started with, “what’s your vision? What do you like?” she recalls asking. For Kyven, “Cookie dough was non-negotiable,” Kyven says, but from there? The possibilities seemed endless, but like his guiding principle and namesake charity, Kyven wanted this project to embody Be RARE. “We could have done cookie dough with vanilla, but I wanted something rare, something you can’t just find anywhere.” Standing out from the crowd is something Kyven embraced as a wrestler, when he learned the way to be a champion was to “be rare.” He turned the words into a acronym, wrote it inside his headgear, used it like a mantra, and now it guides his youth mentorship nonprofit Be RARE Initiative: to succeed, Kyven says, you have to be reliable, accountable, responsible, and effective.