More Hall of Fame

This article and its accompanying photos were submitted to the Cauliflower Alley Club website by Bob Leonard.
Dan Gable Wrestling Museum Pro HOF 2007

The 2007 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremonies went off with a bang on July 13 and 14, at the spanking-new Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

Red Bastien poses with his Hall of Fame plaque

The great turnout of current and previous Hall of Fame members was supplemented by many faces familiar to CAC members. Bishop Jason Sanderson, Tom Andrews, John “Nord the Barbarian” Nord, Dr. Ken Ramey, Fritz von Goering, authors Greg Oliver and Steven Johnson, mat historian extraordinaire J. Michael Kenyon, George Schire and Ted Gordienko, nephew of the world-renowned George Gordienko. The ladies, though not the wrestling variety, were well represented by Lou Thesz’s widow Charlie, Bobby Managoff’s widow Eve, and Mary Lee Pesek, daughter of “Tigerman” John Pesek and sister of the late Jack Pesek.
Friday’s annual golf tournament went off smoothly in perfect weather, and the day wound up with Harley Race’s World League Wrestling promotion mounting an excellent card at Young Arena. Curt Hennig’s son Joe made his pro debut at the event, tagging with Ted DiBiase, Jr. in an exciting match with grandpa Larry “The Axe” and dad The Million Dollar Man looking on.
Museum executive director Mike Chapman and assistant exec Kyle Klingman ably marshalled the Hall of Fame inductions on Saturday morning before a packed house in the Professiona wing of the museum. Emotions ran high at the event, particularly with Larry and Curt’s widow Leonice fondly recalling Curt Hennig, Steve Williams speaking about his battle with cancer, and Red Bastien tearing up before offering a simple but heartfelt “thank you”.

Mike Chapman, Bill Murdock, Red Bastien, Ted Dibiase, Leonice Hennig, Larry Hennig, Steve Williams, Danny Hodge

The Saturday evening wind-up banquet re-introduced all of the inductees, and allowed them to make some expanded comments on the occasion. And with that, the attendees — including the huge Hennig busload, and the extended Bastien clan — headed home after another great Hall of Fame event.
Back Row: Harley Race, Larry Hennig, Verne Gagne, Jim Raschke, Ted DiBiase, Tom Drake, Danny Hodge, Nikita Koloff, Bill Murdock
Front Row: Red Bastien, Leonice Henning, Mad Dog Vachon, Steve Williams, Brad Rheingans, Gene LeBell, Dick Beyer

CAC members would be well advised to keep next July’s annual induction in mind for a wonderful wrestling weekend. The museum and its sparkling collection of mat memorabilia is well worth a visit, and the relaxed atmosphere makes for some wonderful time spent with some of our sport’s truly great personalities.