WATERLOO, Iowa — The flood of the century has severely damaged the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum but the staff has decided to go ahead with “Super Weekend” scheduled for June 27-28, with a few modifications.
“Even though the museum suffered unimaginable damage, the staff and board of directors felt it was imperative that we go ahead with ‘Super Weekend,'” said Mike Chapman, executive director of the museum. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and we hope the wrestling community from around the nation will rally to support us. The museum needs all the help it can get.”
A combination of flooding and sewer back up into the museum has destroyed thousands of dollars of artifacts and memorabilia, and left the physical plant ravaged. A professional clean up crew has been working in the museum for five days, tearing out carpet, polluted walls, battered furniture and office equipment, and some displays.
The museum board of directors is resolved to get the museum up and running again, but it is going to take considerable time, effort, patience, and money,” said Chapman. “The staff has been working virtually around the clock to clean up the mess and still prepare for “Super Weekend.”
The weekend begins with a celebrity golf tournament Friday at Irv Warren Golf Course at noon. A World League Wrestling show, produced by Harley Race, will go on as scheduled. Called “Night of the Legends 2” it will be held at Young Arena, starting at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.).
Saturday’s schedule includes the only major change. The official inductions into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame will still go on at 11 a.m., but will be held in Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center two blocks away from the museum. The event had been set for the museum, but the severe flooding has virtually ruined the museum.
The fourth and final event is the inductions banquet at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center at 7 p.m. (social hour at 6 p.m.).
The six inductees this year are Roddy Piper, Abe Jacobs, Masa Saito, Leo Nomellini, Ray Gunkel, and Stu Hart. Piper, Jacobs, and Saito are attending and Bret Hart, Class of 2006, is accepting his father’s award. The daughter of Ray Gunkel is also planning to attend.
In addition, Wendi Weaver, the daughter of Penny Banner, will accept the Frank Gotch Award on behalf of her mother who passed away last month. Also being honored are Father Jason Sanderson, with the Lou Thesz Award and writers Greg Oliver and Steven Johnson with the Jim Melby Award.
Fans will be able to get autographs of many former hall of famers at the Friday night matches, and also at the Fan Festival following the inductions at 11 a.m. Saturday. Price of admission for the 11 a.m. inductions is $10 per person. Banquet tickets are $60 a person and seating is limited. Banquet tickets must be purchased at 5 p.m. June 24.
Tickets to the “Night of Legends II” show are $15 for ringside and $10 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased at Young Arena.
The museum lobby will be open Friday, June 27 from noon to 6 p.m. for the pick up of tickets that have already been purchased or for information on the weekend’s events. The museum is located at 303 Jefferson St. The phone service for the museum is expected to be up and running soon. The number to call is 319-233-0745.
Schedule of Events
Friday, June 27
Noon — Celebrity Golf tournament at Irv Warren Golf Course, Byrnes Park
6 p.m. — Doors open for the World League Wrestling Show at Young Arena
Saturday, June 28
10 a.m. — Doors open to Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center for 2008 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction ceremony
11 a.m. — Official induction ceremony begins
Noon — 2 p.m. — Fan Fest following inductions
6 p.m. — Social hour for official induction banquet
7 p.m. — Banquet begins
TRAGOS/THESZ CLASS OF 2008 STORIES
- July 3, 2008: Melby Award winners deserving of honor
- June 28, 2008: Bret Hart’s speech from 2008 Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame induction ceremony
- June 28, 2008: Piper, Saito, Jacobs enter Tragos/Thesz HOF
- June 27, 2008: Flood damage at Iowa HOF makes an impression
- June 27, 2008: How Ray Gunkel’s death changed wrestling
- June 20, 2008: Flood won’t stop Tragos/Thesz HOF ‘Super Weekend’
- June 14, 2008: Iowa wrestling museum flooded
- Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame section in the Dan Gable Museum National Wrestling Hall of Fame