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Posts Tagged ‘George Hackenschmidt’

The Return of the NWA World’s Heavyweight title to Des Moines— By Midnight Guthrie

Posted by flairwhoooooo on January 21, 2012

By Midnight Guthrie

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I’m sure you’ve read the hype for the upcoming NWA World’s Heavyweight title match between champion “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce and “The Rebel” Jeremy Wyatt at 3XW Divide & Conquer 2 on Jan. 27 in Des Moines.

You understand it’s a big deal because you may recognize the initials “NWA,” attributing it to names like Flair and Rhodes. Maybe when the subject of wrestling comes up, an uncle recounts for you the hundredth time about seeing the National Wrestling Alli-ance and “Handsome” Harley Race in Des Moines, years before he was called “King” in the WWF.

But, I’m guessing very few current 3XWrestling fans truly understand the history of the NWA in Des Moines.

This may come as a shock to many of you, but at one time Des Moines was one of the most important cities for professional wres-tling in the entire world.

Yes, the entire world. In fact, the first NWA World’s Heavyweight champion was crowned right here in Des Moines in 1948.

And on January 27, it will be defended in Des Moines for the first time in over a quarter century – 25 years!

The Origins of the NWA

To give you a little more history, we’ll start by looking back 104 years ago. In 1908 — 40 years prior to the founding of the NWA— Frank Gotch defeated George Hackenschmidt after over two hours of wrestling to become recognized as the undisputed World Heavyweight champion. Gotch, a farmer from Humboldt, Iowa, became one of the top sports stars in the world, amassing a for-tune rumored to be worth approximately $500,000 – which would be over $11 million dollars adjusted to today’s money!

Gotch, who never moved away from Humboldt despite his fame, retired as a champion in 1912.

Shortly after his retirement, the lineage of the World Heavyweight title became a total mess, with different promoters recognizing different champions all over the United States. By 1938, a minimum of six wrestlers were staking claim to the World Heavyweight championship. This led to frustration amongst fans and the popularity of pro wrestling as a whole started to suffer.

This continued until 1948, when Pinkie George, a Des Moines-based wrestling promoter, spearheaded the formation of an alli-ance of promoters to recognize one World’s Heavyweight champion, a champion who would travel to each of the different territo-ries throughout the country and face the best wrestlers available. George met with five other promoters from around the country in Waterloo, Iowa to share his vision and this group founded the National Wrestling Alliance. Eventually, upwards of 100 promoters joined the organization, covering almost the entire wrestling world.

Orville Brown was declared the first NWA World’s Heavyweight champion in Des Moines in 1948. Brown’s last defense of the championship came in Des Moines on Oct. 31, 1949, one day before injuries from an automobile accident would force Brown to retire.

Crowds of approximately 4,000 fans would pack the Des Moines Coliseum on Monday nights in the 1940s or the KRNT Theater on Wednesday evenings in the 50s for the wrestling matches promoted by George with the NWA title, now wrestling’s top champi-onship, being vied for in Des Moines upwards of five times a year.

George stopped promoting bouts in 1959, but the championship was still defended in Des Moines regularly through the late 1970s, including being fought for in the Coliseum prior to the arena being destroyed by fire. The Coliseum was located only a few blocks south of the current location of the Barratta’s@Forte Center, where Wyatt and Pearce will battle for the title on January 27.

It will be the first match for the title in Des Moines since “Nature Boy” Ric Flair defended against “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes on Oct. 2, 1986. The last defense of the championship in Iowa at all was Flair facing El Gigante in Sioux City, Iowa on May 21, 1991.

Still recognized in Japan, Mexico and Europe as one of the top Heavyweight championships in the world, the NWA World’s title has gone through some dramatic developments in the last 20 years here in the United States. Once featured as the top champi-onship in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), WCW broke off their NWA affiliation in 1993.

The NWA continued on through the 90s with the help of its many member territories. Former UFC star Dan Severn proved a dominate champion, winning the title in 1995 and holding it until 1999.

TNA Wrestling signed on with the NWA upon its formation in 2002, and the NWA World’s Heavyweight championship was featured as the top championship of the company until 2007, when they broke away from the alliance.

Enter Adam Pearce

In June 2007, “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce entered a tournament to crown a new NWA World’s Heavyweight champion. The star-studded competition included current WWE World champion Daniel Bryan, recent WWE signee and former Ring of Honor star Claudio Castagnoli, former WWE stars Aaron Aguilera (Jesus) and Brent Albright (Gunner Scott), British star Fergal Devitt and Japanese star Osamu Nishimura, among others.

Pearce outlasted the 15 other entrants over the course of four months to win his first NWA World’s Heavyweight championship, ce-menting his status as one of the best talents in the world.

Now a four-time NWA champion, Pearce has battled a “who’s who” of wrestling stars for the title all around the world over the past five years.

On January 27, he flies in from San Diego, California to battle “The Rebel” Jeremy Wyatt for the first time. Many fans consider Wyatt to be one of the best wrestlers in the Midwest today.

After years of dominating the Midwest, this is Wyatt’s first world championship match. Pearce, a 15-year veteran who’s known as one of the best speakers in all of wrestling, currently stars on the NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood television show.

Wyatt is no stranger to championships himself. Also known as “The Belt Collector” for the number of titles he’s won during his 10-year career, he is a two-time 3XW Heavyweight champion and recognized as the current NWA Central States champion, among many others.

Wyatt was recently awarded the 2011 Match of the Year award by MissouriWrestlingRevival.com for his phenomenal 73-minute Iron-man match – a match length unheard of in the modern-era of wrestling – with current 3XW Heavyweight champion Mark Sterling at 3XW’s Divide & Conquer in January 2011. Incredibly, this is the fourth straight year a match involving Wyatt has won the award.

And so the stage is set for another classic Wyatt match, perhaps the most historic of all. It’s his first-ever World’s title opportunity and it’s against a nationally-recognized opponent he’s never faced.

Quite frankly, I don’t have the words to describe the excitement I feel to have the NWA title back in Des Moines for the first time since 1986.

But on January 27 at Divide & Conquer 2, with decades of wrestling history in his rearview mirror, Jeremy Wyatt has the chance to do the once unimaginable;

Bring the NWA World’s Heavyweight title back home and make Des Moines one of professional wrestling’s most important cities once again.

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My thanks to Tim Hornbaker at http://www.legacyofwrestling.com/and http://www.wrestling-titles.com/for assistance with researching the details for this article. Lots of phenomenal wrestling history at both sites, definitely check them out!

 

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Is NWA World Champion Adam Pearce’s “Last Ride” tour about to come to a screeching halt due to “The Belt Collector” Jeremy Wyatt?

Posted by flairwhoooooo on January 16, 2012

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NWA World Champion Adam Pearce’s t-shirt as he makes his world tour.

By Brian Kelley

The prestigious NWA World title returns to where it all began as the NWA World Champion Adam Pearce comes to Des Moines, Iowa on January 27th in action at the 2-time MWR promotion of the Year 3XWrestling.

 Adam Pearce has been the NWA World Champion since July 31st when he won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for the fourth time by defeating Chance Prophet, Jimmy Rave and Shaun Tempers in a four-way match to win the vacant title.

It’s a shame that Pearce, a veteran of the sport for over 16 years has never received the just do that the man of his talents deserves. While the NWA title and the organization thrived for years under the management of the likes of Sam Muchnick, times have changed and the NWA has seen dark days for the type of wrestling that made me a fan of the sport.

With his years of experience in the ring and a desire to bring back the glory of the NWA World Title Adam Pearce has embarked on what he calls his “Last Ride tour”. 

His last trip to the Midwest was memorable to say the least as he made his way to Kansas City for Metro Pro Wrestling. The Challenger was Michael Strider, the setting a packed house at the Turner Rec Center on November 5th, 2011. 

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Steven J Girthy and NWA Central States Champion Jeremy Wyatt make their claim for the NWA World title. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

Earlier in the night at Metro Pro Wrestling, Jeremy Wyatt and his manager Steven J Girthy would let the fans know that it was he who deserved a match against Adam Pearce. Bringing to the ring  Wyatt read the hype surrounding him in the year 2011 including the KC Star where they ranked him the #1 wrestler in Kansas City and copies of the MWR article “Does Steven J Girthy have Jeremy Wyatt poised to become the NWA Champion of the World on Nov 5th at Metro Pro Wrestling ?”

Yet, it would be a classic matchup in the main event as  Strider looked to have earned his boyhood dream to become the NWA World Champion when he pinned Pearce as referee  Michael Crase Jr. counted 1-2-3.

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The fans were ecstatic to see Michael Strider go for the NWA title in November at Metro Pro Wrestling. (Photo Credit Bill Smith)

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Strider look to land the big move that would give the former NWA Central States champion his dream to become the NWA World Champion. (Photo Credit Bill Smith)

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Strider the NWA World Champion??? (Photo Credit Bill Smith)

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Matt Murphy, then the MPW comish goaded Strider to continue the match due to Pearce’s feet to be supposedly under the ropes. (Photo Credit Bill Smith)

While Strider went to celebrate with his fans and father, out to the ring came MPW commissioner Matt Murphy. Murphy claimed that Pearce’s feet were on the bottom of the ropes as Crase Jr. made the final third count to the mat.

 Murphy on the mic taunted Strider stating that “You don’t want to win the title like that; you want to be a man and win it like a Champion.”

Strider unwisely would make the decision to not take the title that way and agreed to have the match continue. It would be minutes later that Pearce would benefit a little assistance from Murphy when he tripped Strider, allowing Pearce to strike and use a roll up with his feet on the ropes to retain the title.

The next day I would travel to Collinsville, Illinois to cover Ring of Honor where fans came up to me, asking if in fact Michael Strider had become the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion as they had seen on the NWA website, then was deleted as the NWA webmaster caught word of what had occurred.  Unfortunately, I had to deliver the bad news that Pearce along with Murphy had stolen the Worlds Championship from the former NWA Central States Champion Strider.

Little did we know how someone’s missed opportunities would allow Wyatt to get his wish at the NWA world title.

Fast forward to the final show of the year at 3Xrestling on December 30th.  3XWrestling Champion Jeremy Wyatt loses a close match against Mark Sterling after the “Iron Man” used the ringside bell to help Sterling began his first 3XWrestling title reign.

In the locker room, 3XWrestling camera’s captured Todd Countryman offering Sterling the contract. Let’s watch this once more to see how Wyatt and not Sterling received this dream match against the World Champion Adam Pearce.

So mark your calendars, ask for the day off, and make your way to Des Moines, Iowa at ALL PLAY as the Champion of the World Adam Pearce comes to defend his title against the 2-time 3XW Champion Wyatt. Wyatt is currently the NWA Central States Champion and only the 3rd man in the history of the NWA to hold both the NWA Central States and the NWA Missouri title (He did this last year, Harley Race and Bob Orton being the other two men) Jeremy Wyatt.

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Only the third man to hold the NWA Central States and Missouri Championship at the same time, Jeremy Wyatt(Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

Though Adam Pearce used some underhand tactics to defeat Strider at Metro Pro Wrestling, make no doubt about it that he can defeat Wyatt in many many ways. Pearce in the past has successfully defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Bryan Danielson (WWE’S Daniel Bryan, the reigning World Heavyweight Champion) and Danielson is just one name on a list of victims.

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From the Apr '09 edition of Pro Wrestling Illustrated; Pearce bludgeons perhaps his greatest opponent, a bloody Brent Albright, in New York City.

Pearce brings the ring an old school high impact attack, standing 6’2, 245 pounds he will unleash a fury of moves including the Figure four leglock, Flying fist drop, and the Middle-rope elbow drop setting his opponents up for The Rack Bomb (Backbreaker rack dropped into a powerbomb) or the vicious Jumping piledriver to retain the title.

Quite honestly, after hours of studying tape of Pearce in action, you can see many of his opponents in fear of those finishers from the start of the match. 

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Pearce will have to beware of the crossface finisher from Wyatt. Many matches and titles have been won via this feared move in the Midwest for “The Belt Collector” Jeremy Wyatt(Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

One man who will not have fear in his eyes is the “The Belt Collector” Jeremy Wyatt.  Wyatt considered by many to be the best wrestler in the Midwest, has been dying for this opportunity to make a name for himself. He knows that opportunities likes these are very rare for wrestlers in the area. Quite possibly the most hated man in the Midwest, 3XWrestling fans have come to love him for his multiple matches of the year and giving a 110% during every match.

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Wyatt can strike from anywhere!!!(Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

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Wyatt has many of the fans scattering for safety as he stalks Gage Octane. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

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Opponents have to be concerned about going to the mat as Wyatt is a student of the game and is scary to defend against. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

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Devin Carter goes flying from a right hook from Wyatt….Where Wyatt lacks in size he makes up with the knowledge of when and where to deliver the blow.(Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

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Wyatt has successfully defended his NWA Central States championship against arch rival and NWA Kansas champ Tyler Cook. In less than two weeks he goes for the NWA WORLD TITLE!!!(Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

Wyatt most likely will be the first to tell you he is not doing this for the fans, yet he is the fans best chance to bring back the NWA Worlds title back home to the Midwest. 

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Adam Pearce has been the heart of the NWA since his first NWA World title reign September 1st, 2007 when he defeated Brent Albright in the finals of the vacated NWA tournament. Here Pearce is on set of NWA Wrestling Showcase talking 'rasslin' with David Marquez. (Photo credit Shane Kidder.)

Is Pearce making a mistake as he makes good on his promise to “GIVE BACK to a deserving industry that has given me 16+ years of experiences that I’ll cherish forever.”

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Onlu the kids are brave (naive)enough to talk back to the champ. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

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Pearce has been wise in the past to align himself with men who can assist him in keeping his beloved gold, here he celebrates with the then MPW Champion Derek Stone and Matt Murphy. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

Pearce, a fighting champion will be around the world in  Oberhausen, Germany defending the title a week prior to his return to the Midwest. Fans in Iowa can prepare for a double shot starting off with match against Wyatt at 3XW then heading to Council Bluffs, Iowa for Magnum Pro Wrestling to take on “ Babyface” Tony Cortez the very next night.

With one Lighting Spiral from Wyatt on January 27th at 3XWrestling, the NWA president Robert Trobich   and Magnum Pro may be scrambling late Friday night to come up with a plan to resign a rematch against the NEW NWA World Champion Jeremy Wyatt and Adam Pearce immediately. 

When it is all said and done, I want the NWA and Adam Pearce don’t say that Missouri Wrestling Revival didn’t try to warn you of “The Belt Collector”.

Great NWA world title moments in the Midwest.

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April 3, 1908-Frank Gotch defeats George Hackenschmidt to become the world champion in Chicago, Illinois.

April 19, 1917 Earl Caddock defeated Joe Stecher to become the world champion in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Earl Caddock was not only a world champion but also enlisted in the Army to serve our country. Fans be sure to pick up the new book from Mike Chapman called Caddock “Walnut’s Wrestling Wonder” on one of the best wrestlers to ever come from the Midwest. For more info on how to purchase the book click here.

 March 3,  1922  Ed “Strangler” Lewis defeated  Stanislaus Zbyszko to become the world champion in Wichita, Kansas.

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Here is a great photo of two of the most powerful, respected and important men in the history of wrestling, Sam Muchnick and Lou Thesz.

December 29, 1937 Lou Thesz defeats Everett Marshall in the first of his six NWA world titles in ST Louis, Missouri.

June 30, 1961 Buddy Rogers defeats Pat O’Connor to win his first NWA world title in Chicago Illinois.

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I love this photo of Harley Race. Arguably the greatest NWA World champion of all time.

May 24, 1973 Harley Race defeats Dory Funk Jr. to win first of 8 NWA world titles in Kansas City, Missouri.  Match named Pro Wrestling Illustrated match of the year.

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Ric Flair would capture his first NWA World title right here in the Midwest in what many called an upset at the time.

September 17, 1981 Ric Flair defeats Dusty Rhodes to win first of 9 NWA world titles in Kansas City, Missouri.

June 10, 1983 Harley Race defeats Ric Flair for the NWA world title to set up Starcade.  Match named Pro Wrestling Illustrated match of the year.

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February 20, 1989 Ricky Steamboat defeat Ric Flair to capture the NWA world title in Chicago, Illinois

January 27th 2012 Jeremy Wyatt ???? Adam Pearce Des Moines, Iowa

Information of the NWA world title courtesy of the 16th edition of the PWI Wrestling Almanac.

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Could Jeremy Wyatt be defending the NWA WORLD TITLE at these MWR Promotions after January 27th?

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MWR fans for a great source of the NWA check out the Alliance-Wrestling.com here.

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Frank Gotch statue ceremony is July 4!!! – Add your name to the brick walkway around the statue via donations.

Posted by flairwhoooooo on January 7, 2012

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Frank Gotch was world heavyweight wrestling champion from 1908 to 1915, the best known athlete of his era.

HUMBOLDT, Iowa – The hometown of world wrestling champion Frank Gotch, one of the nation’s best-known athletes in the early part of the 20th Century, is honoring its most famous citizen with a bronze statue to be placed in Bicknell Park. The unveiling ceremony is set for this summer.

All wrestling fans are invited to be a part of wrestling history by making a donation in exchange for their name on a brick or a bench. The project is being run by a not-for-profit organization called the Frank Gotch Statue Committee.

Frank Gotch was arguably the top athlete in America in the 1908 to 1915 era,” said co-chair Steve Reimers, a lifelong resident of the city located in the northwestern part of the state. “Frank brought great recognition to this town and to all of Iowa. Many of us feel it is time to pay a special tribute to Frank Gotch and the great legacy he left behind.”

Jeff Adams, an artist from Mount Morris, Illinois, was selected from several sculptors bidding on the project and began work in October. The statue will be unveiled in special ceremonies on July 4. In addition, the Humboldt City Council recently voted to name the street in front of the park Frank Gotch Boulevard and the signs are already up.

Bicknell Park was the site of Gotch’s training camp prior to his epic match with George Hackenschmidt, known as The Russian Lion, on September 3, 1911, in Chicago. Gotch set up camp by the small bluff on the Des Moines River and spectators flocked to watch the world champion in training. Sports reporters from around the nation converged on Humboldt the month prior to the match. One reporter estimated that one day there were nearly 2,000 fans down by the park watching Gotch train.

The camp consisted of a large ring, handball courts and an area for wall pulleys and punching bags. Several of the top wrestlers in the world came to the camp at various times to serve as workout partners for Gotch. His training was supervised by Farmer Burns, considered the greatest professional wrestling instructor of all time.

Bicknell Park was donated to the city in 1920. The project will include a brick walkway around the pedestal on which the statue stands. Bricks are still available for a donation at the following levels:

•             $125 for a state champion brick (your name on a 4 inch by 8 inch brick in the 6 outside rows of the landscape design);

•             $250 for a national champion brick (your name on a 6 inch by 8 inch brick in the next 4 rows in the landscape design);

•             $500 for a world champion brick (your name on a 8 inch by 8 inch brick in the first 3 rows next to the statue).

 The statue will be made of bronze and stand eight-foot tall, depicting Gotch in a familiar pose with hands on hips while attired in a wrestling uniform. It will be placed on a two-foot high pedestal, with accompanying information on his career and life in Humboldt.   A spotlight will illuminate the statue at night.

Gotch was undefeated during his seven-year rein (1908-1915) as world champion and won his last 88 matches in a row. He owned a considerable amount of land in Iowa and Minnesota and was active in the community in a variety of ways. He was part owner of an automobile dealership in Humboldt and served on several civic boards. He was even being considered to star in a movie in Hollywood and the Republican Party of Iowa was looking at him as a possible candidate for governor in 1920.

But Gotch fell ill in early 1917 and died on December 16, 1917, at the age of 39, of kidney failure. His death was front-page news all around the nation and an estimated 2,000 people attended his funeral. He is buried in a large mausoleum in Union Cemetery, two miles west of town.

According to the author Mac Davis, in the book 100 Greatest Sports Heroes, Gotch was a bigger star than any boxer or baseball player. “As the idol of millions in the United States, Canada and Mexico, Gotch made wrestling a big-time sport in his day. Babies had been named in his honor, as had buildings, toys, farm implements and a hundred other things. The word ‘Gotch’ was a synonym for quality and strength.”

The statue committee is comprised of various members of the Humboldt community, as well as two noteworthy “outsiders.” Frank Gotch III is the grandson of the legendary wrestler and currently lives near Austin, Texas. He is an honorary member. Mike Chapman is one of the nation’s leading wrestling historians and the author of 22 books, including three on Gotch. One of them, Gotch: An American Hero, is under development as a major motion picture.

“We are delighted that the grandson of Frank Gotch and a well-known historian are helping us with the project,” said Reimers.

Anyone wishing more information should contact the Frank Gotch Project, c/o Friends of the Park, PO Box 247, Humboldt, Iowa, 50548, or call Tonya Harklau at 515-332-3285 (or harklauj@goldfieldaccess.net) for further details. Donations are tax deductible to the extent offered by the law.

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City of Humboldt to honor Frank Gotch with a statue in park

Posted by flairwhoooooo on January 6, 2011

HUMBOLDT, Iowa – The hometown of world wrestling champion Frank Gotch, one of the nation’s best-known athletes in the early part of the 20th Century, is making plans to honor its most famous citizen with a statue to be placed in Bicknell Park. The park occupies the site where Gotch trained for his most important match.

The project is being run by a not-for-profit organization called the Frank Gotch Statue Committee.

“Frank Gotch was arguably the top athlete in America in the 1908 to 1915 era,” said co-chair Steve Reimers, a lifelong resident of the city located in the northwestern part of the state. “Frank brought great recognition to this town and to all of Iowa. Many of us feel it is time to pay a special tribute to Gotch and the great legacy he left behind.”

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Bicknell Park was the site of Gotch’s training camp prior to his epic match with George Hackenschmidt, known as The Russian Lion, on September 3, 1911, in Chicago. Gotch set up camp by the small bluff on the Des Moines River and spectators flocked to watch the world champion in training. Sports reporters from around the nation converged on Humboldt the month prior to the match. One reporter estimated that one day there were nearly 2,000 fans down by the park watching Gotch train.

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The camp consisted of a large ring, handball courts and an area for wall pulleys and punching bags. Several of the top wrestler in the world came to the camp at various times to serve as workout partners for Gotch. His training was supervised by Farmer Burns, considered the greatest professional wrestling instructor of all time.

Bicknell Park was donated to the city in 1920. The project will include a brick walkway around the pedestal the statue stands on. The statue will be made of bronze and stand eight-foot tall, depicting Gotch in a familiar pose with hands on hips while attired in a wrestling uniform. It will be placed on a two-foot high pedestal, with accompanying information on his career and life in Humboldt.

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Gotch was undefeated during his seven-year rein as world champion and won his last 88 matches in a row. He owned a considerable amount of land in Iowa and Minnesota and was active in the community in a variety of ways. He was part owner of an automobile dealership in Humboldt and served on several civic boards. He was even being considered to star in a movie in Hollywood and the Republican Party of Iowa was looking at him as a possible candidate for governor in 1920.

But Gotch fell ill in early 1917 and died on December 16, 1917, at the age of 39, of kidney failure. His death was front-page news all around the nation and an estimated 2,000 people attended his funeral. He is buried in a large mausoleum in Union Cemetery, two miles west of town.

According to the author Mac Davis, in the book 100 Greatest Sports Heroes, Gotch was a bigger star than any boxer or baseball player. “As the idol of millions in the United States, Canada and Mexico, Gotch made wrestling a big-time sport in his day. Babies had been named in his honor, as had buildings, toys, farm implements and a hundred other things. The word ‘Gotch’ was a synonym for quality and strength.”

The statue committee is comprised of various members of the Humboldt community, as well as two noteworthy “outsiders.” Frank Gotch III is the grandson of the legendary wrestler and currently lives near Austin, Texas. He has agreed to serve as an honorary member. Mike Chapman is one of the nation’s leading wrestling historians and the author of 22 books, including three on Gotch. One of them, Gotch: An American Hero, has been purchased by Empire Film Group in Los Angeles and is under development as a major motion picture.

“We are delighted that the grandson of Frank Gotch and a well-known historian are helping us with the project,” said Reimers.

Other members of the committee are Ron Wasoba, former Humboldt High School wrestling coach, who is co-chair; Tonya Harklau, former executive director of the Humboldt Area Chamber of Commerce; Maurey Abens, Chad Beaman, Jana Bratland, Ken Bratland, Kent Clendenen, Todd Lee, Phil Monson and Bruce Reimers, a former NFL football player from Humboldt who played in a Super Bowl as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

“In an effort to make this project all inclusive, we are reaching out to the citizens of Humboldt, and also to wrestling fans across the state and the entire nation,” said Wasoba. “Frank Gotch helped created a strong interest in wrestling in America in the early 1900s. We believe many fans across the nation will want to be a part of this effort to honor his memory and his impact on the sport, both amateur and professional.”

“I think part of the reason this is such a wonderful project is because Frank Gotch had a very powerful love of this community,” said Chapman. “After he became world champion, many promoters and managers tried to get him to leave Iowa and move to the big city. But he never was tempted. He told them he was born an Iowa farmer, was raised an Iowa farmer and would die an Iowa farmer. And he was true to his word.”

There are various levels of support offered to donors, beginning at $125 and going up to $3,000, and beyond. Anyone wishing more information should contact the Frank Gotch Project, c/o Friends of the Park, PO Box 247, Humboldt, Iowa, 50548, or call Tonya Harklau at 515-332-3285 (or harklauj@goldfieldaccess.net) for further details. Donations are tax deductible to the extent offered by the law

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