on Thursday, December 17, 2015
Kyle Klingman, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, calls Waterloo a “wrestling mecca.” He has also referred to Waterloo as the center of the wrestling universe. And we agree. The most famous wrestler in history – someone who both wrestled and coached at the highest level – is from Waterloo. People recognize Dan Gable worldwide and his notoriety and success in the sport brings wrestlers and wrestling fans to Waterloo throughout the year.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum tells the story of mankind’s oldest sport (maybe in a tie with running) from Jacob wrestling against the Angel of the Lord to Abraham Lincoln as a wrestler to Dan Gable, Cael Sanderson, John Smith, Wartburg College and professional wrestlers. Whether you’re a wrestling zealot or casual fan, the museum showcases the stories of recognizable wrestling names and also shares accounts of actors and politicians who wrestled, and who have listed wrestlers like Gable as heroes of theirs.
The museum and Waterloo’s wrestling story are on display multiple times throughout the year when our community welcomes wrestlers from around the country for tournaments. This weekend is one of those opportunities to welcome wrestlers and wrestling fans, and to showcase our story. The Battle of Waterloo, a 32-team high school wrestling tournament will be held at Young Arena Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19. Dan Gable will also be at the Arena for a special autograph signing on Friday at 2pm. Copies of Gable's new book and posters of the wrestling legend will be available for purchase.
As Todd Coulter, Tournament Director, shared with us, the Battle of Waterloo is a cross-class tournament that pits the best teams against one another, regardless of school size and class. East, West and Columbus High Schools here in Waterloo host the annual event that brings together the top wrestling schools in the state. This year, there will be 108 ranked wrestlers, including the #1 wrestler in all three classes at 195 pounds.
Teams are divided into sessions on Friday and Saturday. The morning session begins at 9am each day, while the second session begins at 4pm on Friday and 3pm on Saturday. With eight mats in use throughout the pool portion of the tournament, there is great action and activity throughout the arena. Fans of the 32 teams enjoy the atmosphere and competition, and wrestling fans with no affiliation have a great opportunity to see excellent competition throughout the four sessions.
More information about the tournament, including schedule and participating teams, can be found at wrestlingbattleofwaterloo.org. If you’re even a casual fan, we would highly recommend checking the tournament out this weekend. Wrestling history is certainly something we dig about Waterloo, and tournaments like the Battle of Waterloo are history in the making.
Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.
- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors BureauPhoto Credit: National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, Battle of Waterloo.