A lot has taken place since the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute & Museum was flooded on June 10th. I want to thank the hundreds of supporters of our great sport for their monetary donations and to everyone who has helped in the clean up efforts and working with various organizations to move the process along to have the museum up and rolling again by next month.
On October 6, Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin, along with Congressman Bruce Braley toured the museum (see photo) to lend their support to our cause. Fortunately, as a not-for-profit organization, we were able to secure a large grant from FEMA to help with the majority of the costs to rebuild the museum.
Magee Construction Company, out of Waterloo, has been busy since early October rebuilding the museum, which has been a large task. As most of your aware, our basement (5,000 square feet) was completely full of water and three feet of water covered the main floor of the museum. New walls, flooring, carpeting, painting have been installed and Magee looks to be completed with the remaining tasks in the next two weeks.
Executive Director, Mike Chapman, estimates we lost 20% of the memorabilia that was on the main floor of the museum. Our staff will be working diligently throughout December to get all the pictures back on the walls, display cases ready and everything else that needs to be accomplished to have the museum open to the public again by the first week of January.
Our grand re-opening will take place on Friday, January 9, 2009, and the museum will be open from 9:00AM until 10:00PM that day. The NWCA National Duals are at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, IA, just a ten minute drive from the museum, on January 10 and 11 with over 80 college teams competing. We will have an autograph show at the museum from 3:00 - 5:00PM on the 9th. The current list of attendees includes: Olympic champions Dan Gable, Ed Banach, Ben Peterson, Bill Smith, Randy Lewis, Doug Blubaugh and two-time NCAA champions and Olympians Chuck Yagla and Ben Askren. University of Iowa All-American tight end and two-time NFL pro bowler Marv Cook will also be participating. The National Duals are a tremendous showcase for the sport of wrestling and if you are able to attend, hopefully you will be able to visit the wrestling museum that weekend as well.
This fall we lost we lost two legends from the wrestling world, Gerry Leeman and Glen Brand. Leeman and Brand were both NCAA Champions and were teammates on the 1948 Olympic team where Brand won the gold and Leeman the silver. Both Gerry and Glen were generous and caring men in addition to their athletic accomplishments. Glen Brand was a substantial contributor to the museum and each April we induct six new members into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with both families.
The 2009 Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa inductions ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 18 at 1:00PM at the museum. This year's class includes Vic Marcucci, NCAA Champion at Iowa State University and national freestyle champion; Jim Craig, NCAA Champion at Iowa and successful coach, Mike Chapman, wrestling's leading historian, promoter and founder of the museum and author of 21 books; Eric Voelker, two-time NCAA Champion at Iowa State; Champ Martin, legendary coach at Algona (IA) High School and NCAA runner-up at Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI); and Franc Freeman, NCAA runner-up at Iowa State Teachers College and coached Bettendorf (IA) High School to two state titles.
Our gift shop has been available on-line since shortly after the flood at www.wrestlingmuseum.org. We have a wide variety of wrestling books, videos, posters, gear and unique memorabilia. We are conducting a holiday sale which will provide a 15% off discount on all merchandise ordered from today through December 15. Not only can you buy cool items, but you will also be helping the museum recover from the flood. See the ad at the bottom of this newsletter.
The museum also has a weekly radio show called "On the Mat "which airs each Wednesday from 5:00 - 6:00PM Central time. The show is hosted by Kent Sesker, Marketing Director at the museum and co-hosted by area wrestling enthusiast Doug Van Gelder. The show is on AM 1650 out of Cedar Falls, IA, and can also be heard on line at kcnzam.com. We have two guests on per show from throughout the wrestling world.
As you're probably aware, our former associate director at the wrestling museum for the last six years, Kyle Klingman, took a new job with Media Sports Productions in Minneapolis, MN, which he started in September. Media Sports Productions is a company founded by University of Minnesota head coach J Robinson and is dedicated to the promotion of amateur wrestling. Along with Jason Bryant, who recently left Intermat, Kyle is hosting a twice weekly radio show in addition to his other duties. Kyle did a fabulous job at the museum and he is still a columnist for WIN Magazine, where he was named their 2008 Journalist of the Year.
Thanks for your continued support of the wrestling museum. I hope to see many of you on January 9 and if you're not able to make it that day, plan on visiting the museum soon.
Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute & Museum