Verne Gagne passed away on April 27 after spending a number of years in a Minnesota health care facility, but spending the last years of his life with his daughter and her husband. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease that may have been brought about by many head injuries incurred in the many years of professional wrestling. But Mr. Gagne was not just another professional wrestler. To baby boomers he was much more. In the early days of TV, networks found that both professional wrestling and boxing were made for television. Just point the camera at the ring and you had a show.
Jeff Strickler of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on April 14 wrote in an article about two children in Silver Spring, Md., who were picked up by the police after a man walking his dog called to report that the 10- and 6-year-old were walking alone without parental supervision. The two were picked up and turned over to Children's Protective Services. The parents believe in the "free-range" parents' style and had sent their children to the park at 4 and told them to be home by 6. The social workers did not contact the parents until 8 p.m.
For Christmas I always receive a number of books. I will pick out the one that looks the most interesting and put down the others to read when I have extra time. I came upon a book that I had put aside many years ago, but found it interesting and started reading "Minnesota in the 70s" by Dave Kenney and Thomas Saylor, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Before I started reading, I thought I knew most everything about the '70s, especially in Minnesota.
Senior Nick Gravdahl was chosen most valuable wrestler at the Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew awards banquet on Thursday, March 26. Gravdahl, a state individual qualifier who placed sixth at 160 pounds this season, finished with the most pins (20) and takedowns (52) while compiling a 39-6 record and 121 career victories. Gravdahl was also an All-Section 8AA All-Academic award recipient. Gravdahl helped the Road Crew finish 4-1 in the Mid-State Conference and 19-7 overall. It was the fourth straight season the team has won more than 15 matches.
Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestler Nick Gravdahl won his first two matches at 160 points, but then lost his next three to place sixth at the Class AA state tournament on Feb. 27-28, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Nate Adkins, Dillon Nichols and Joe Harrison lost their first matches, and because their opponents lost their second contests, all three Road Crew wrestlers were eliminated. In his opening match against Aaron Moscho of Milaca/Faith Christian, Gravdahl was aggressive and the match was tied 2-2 after six minutes. No one scored in the first overtime.
Champion Nick Gravdahl (160 pounds) and true-second winners Nate Adkins (145), Dillon Nichols (152) and Joe Harrison (182) all advanced from the Section 8AA wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 21, in Perham, to represent the Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew at the Class AA state tournament on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. All four wrestlers were first-time state individual qualifiers, although they were members of last year's Road Crew team that tied for the state consolation title. Individual state competition starts at 1 p.m.
I grew up in suburbia - Hastings, Minn. Back then we dressed up for school - no blue jeans - and had hair that took the average young suburban male 10 minutes to get ready for school. That is, if you don't count the time I grabbed the toothpaste instead of the Brylcreem, or was it Wildroot Cream Oil? Everyone seemed to be middle class. When helping my friends with their paper routes I noticed rows and rows of houses called ramblers with a single-car garage. Everyone dressed for church, with my mother wearing white gloves and a hat.
The second-seeded Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestlers were defeated by the top-seeded Perham Yellowjackets 48-17 in the Section 8AA team final on Saturday, Feb. 14, in Thief River Falls. Perham, an annual contender for the section title with seven ranked wrestles, recaptured the crown which they had lost to the Road Crew last year when they earned the first trip to state in program history. The Road Crew opened the section meet with a 46-25 quarterfinal win over Albany, the school which Road Crew head coach Travis Hoffarth attended.
The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestlers won all three matches in defeating Roseau 48-30, Fergus Falls 56-20 and Sauk Centre-Melrose 39-31 in front of their home fans on Friday, Feb. 6. Nick Gravdahl, who is 30-2 overall, and Chris Foster each won three matches for the Road Crew, who improve to 17-6 in dual meets. The Road Crew is scheduled to wrestle at the Sections 8AA team competition at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Thief River Falls. "It was an all-out effort by everyone on the team," said Road Crew coach Travis Hoffarth said of the three wins on Feb. 6.
The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestling team finished fourth at the Mid-State and Heart 'O Lakes Conference meet on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 23-24, at Lake Park. Frazee finished first among the 13 teams with 230 points, followed by Perham with 220, Barnesville 157.5 and the Road Crew 144. The Road Crew were second after the first day of competition. "Our strong showing on Friday really made the difference," said Road Crew coach Travis Hoffarth.