By Brian Kelley
It’s hard to believe that Harley Race, one of the greatest wrestlers in the world much less Missouri is not a member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield, Missouri. Race an 8-time World Champion, a member of almost every wrestling Hall of Fame in the world is not even a member of the hall of fame of the state that he grew up in.
Race has supported the communities around the state of Missouri and the Midwest with fundraisers with his wrestling promotion for over 10 years. My concern became even more bothersome when I traveled to Iowa for a couple of wrestling shows. On the way to Council Bluffs, Iowa from Des Moines, Iowa was the small town of Van Meter, Iowa. It so happen to be the home of Baseball great Bob Feller. In a small town of 1,700 was this awesome museum that kept the memories alive of the hometown boy who went on to sign with the Cleveland Indians and became a first ballot MLB Hall of Famer.
The museum isn’t huge but is worthy of a man who worked hard to become one of the greatest ball players of all-time. As I continued my drive, it got me thinking about an article that my friend Matt Murphy had done called Missouri Sports Hall of Fame snubs pro wrestling. Murphy wrote a polite letter to the Missouri Hall of Fame asking why has wrestling greats like Race been ignored?
The more I thought about it the more I became concerned that when Race is gone (hopefully a long long long time from now) will the state just forget all that he has done for the state of Missouri, much less wrestling? Where will all the great photos of Race with the greats in wrestling and beyond end up?
Most likely some will end up in Waterloo, Iowa which has a great hall of fame for wrestlers and that would be appropriate for them to have some but I’d love for there to be a home to celebrate Race in Eldon, Missouri or St. Louis that would also be worthy of a man who has been a legend in the sport. While I envision the museum to be The Harley Race Wrestling Museum, the men he fought with and against would be remembered as well. It would be great to see men like Rufus R Jones , Trevor Murdock and Bob Geigel not forgotten or just a mention in someone’s autobiography. How great it would be to have two rooms with great wrestling action going on as Race would be battling Bulldog Bob Brown in Central States Wrestling as Bill Kersten calling the action and another room with Wrestling at the Chase’s Larry Matysik calling a Race and Flair matchup.
I have some great friends who are talented that I know would make the building have enough class and interaction for the fans young and old. This would be awesome
Oh but I am a dreamer, just a guy that can barely keep the MWR site going day to day but if I had the funds know darn well I would work to keep the history of wrestling from KC to STL alive for generations to come.
Sorry about getting away from the subject at hand, the truth is I love Cardinal baseball, football, college basketball and many more sports. Still Race deserves to be in the Sports Hall of Fame while he is alive. Without a doubt that Harley Race should be welcome along with the greats such as Lou Thesz, Sam Muchnick, Stan the Man, Lou Brock and Ken Boyer.