New book “A JOURNEY” offers absorbing look at life in the 1950s and heroes of movies and sports

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 | Books | No Comments

Mike’s newest book has just been published, and is entitled “A Journey: Reflections on 50 Years of Writing, Wrestling, Weightlifting, and Heroes.” The book is 286 pages long with over 130 photos, most of them involving famous figures.

In the book, the author talks about a wide range of celebrities he has met over his long journalism career – including Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Robert Redford, Lou Ferrigno Ed Asner, and various Olympic champions and many other stars of sports, entertainment and politics.

Growing up in Waterloo, Iowa, Mike describes what life was like in the 1950s, and explains how his love of comic book heroes shaped his attitude towards life. He also talks about his three years in the U.S. Navy, where he was involved in several nerve-wracking events, including time spent working on “ghost ships” from World War II.

Considered the nation’s leading historian on the sport of wrestling, he includes numerous behind-the-scenes stories of pro ring legends like Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne, and amateur stars like Dan Gable and Dan Hodge. Mike has attended 45 NCAA wrestling championships and has known many of the biggest names in wrestling, including a dozen Olympians and several of the top stars of mixed martial arts, like Dan Severn and Randy Couture.

During his 35-year newspaper career, Mike won numerous awards for his work and is a member of nine halls of fame. He is an acknowledged authority on such diverse topics as Achilles and Tarzan of the Apes. In the book, he tells about his incredible trip to the ancient battlefield of Troy in 2006, when he attempted to spend a night on the Plain of Troy, and of becoming friends with four movie Tarzans.

He also discusses his attempts to break into Hollywood with movie projects, three of which are still very much alive.

“A Journey: Reflections on 50 Years of Writing, Wrestling, Weightlifting and Heroes” is published by Culture House of Newton, Iowa. It is $19.95 plus $5 for S&H. Persons wishing to order the book can send a check for $24.95 to Culture House, 3830 Harbor Avenue, Newton, IA 50208, or call Culture House at 641-791-3072.

UNI’s only Olympic champion Bill Smith is the subject of a new documentary

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 | Wrestling | No Comments

A new documentary, entitled Bill Smith: A Wrestling Legend, tells the story of the life and career of the oldest living Olympic wrestling champion. Mike is the producer of the documentary, which was filmed by Mike Reese of Atlas Media.

Bill Smith grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and became a wrestling star at Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Iowa. He was NCAA champion in both 1949 and 1950, and closed out his college career undefeated, missing his senior year of competition due to a fluke in the eligibility system.

Bill also won three AAU national freestyle titles, but the crowning moment came when he captured a gold medal in the 160.5-pound class at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.

As a coach, Bill led the San Francisco Olympic Club to seven national team titles and also coached high schools in two separate states (California and Illinois) to team titles, one of just three coaches to ever do that.

Click here for ordering details…

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February and March 2017 Appearances

Thursday, February 9th, 2017 | Book Signing, Books, Speaking, WIN Magazine, Wrestling | No Comments

February 10, 2017 – The inaugural class for the Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducted prior to the Jefferson basketball game and Mike has been asked to represent Larry and Ted Lawrence, who are both deceased. There will be a social in the Jefferson Cafeteria at 4:30 p.m., with a hall of fame ceremony to follow at 5:15 p.m.

There will also be a brief presentation between the girls and boys varsity basketball games in the gymnasium and then a social and greeting time back in the cafeteria.

Larry Lawrence was an all-state football and basketball player at Jefferson and went on to become a star quarterback at Iowa for two seasons. He also played two seasons each in the Canadian Football League and the NFL. Larry died of heart problems in 2012 at the age of 63. Mike and Larry became good friends when Mike was sports editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette in the years 1978 to 1984 and they even co-hosted the Mr. Iowa contest in 1983, when Larry owned Ra Power Fitness Center. They remained in close contact until Larry’s death. His father, Ted, was a legendary high school coach at Jefferson for many years.
 
March 1, 2017 – Mike is producing a documentary on Bill Smith, one of the most important figures in American wrestling history. Bill was 1952 Olympic wrestling champion, an undefeated, 2-time NCAA champion in college and coach of the San Francisco Olympic Club team, leading it to 7 national team tiles in the 1960s. In this documentary, you will see many rare photos of Bill’s illustrious career, and be with Bill as the University of Northern Iowa dedicates its official mat in his honor in 2013. Then Bill reminisces about his 70 years in the Sport of Wrestling. Coming in March of 2017.

March 16-18, 2017 – As a guest of the WIN Memorabilia Show between sessions of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mike will be signing many of his 28 published books and will have the new Bill Smith DVD documentary available. Dale Anderson, two-time NCAA champion for Michigan State in the 1960s, will be with Mike and selling copies of his new book, “A Spartan Journey: Michigan State’s 1967 Miracle on the Mat”. Mike wrote the introduction to the book and Dan Gable wrote the foreword. The WIN Memorabilia Show is free and open to the public.

March 29, 2017 – Mike will be the featured speaker at Flag Day held at the Knoxville Library. He will give a talk on “Iowans of Impact”, based on his book of the same name, and on his book “Triumph and Tragedy” which tells the stories of football heroes Fred Becker and Nile Kinnick, who lost heir lives while serving in World War I and World War II, respectively. The talk begins at I p.m. and is open to the public. Contact the Knoxville Library for further details.

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November 2016 through March 2017 Appearances

Sunday, October 30th, 2016 | Book Signing, Speaking, Wrestling | No Comments

November 12 – Mike will be one of the featured speakers at the Jack Van Bebber Lifetime Achievement Celebration held in conjunction with the Perry Memorial Wrestling Memorial event in Perry, Oklahoma. The event begins at 11:30 in downtown Perry and is open to the public. Van Bebber was Olympic champion in 1932 and was an undefeated, three-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma A&M. Other speakers will be John Smith, head coach at Oklahoma State and a 6-time World/Olympic champion, and Lee Roy Smith executive director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Stillwater. Van Bebber is one of 34 wrestlers profiled in Mike’s popular book “Legends of the Mat,” along with another Perry legend, Dan Hodge.

November 19 – Mike will be appearing at Governor Branstad’s Birthday Bash at the Place Theater at Adventureland Park, beginning at 5 p.m. . He will be signing copes of his book, “Iowa’s Record-Setting Governor: The Terry Branstad Story”. He will also have copies of his historical novel LOWELL PARK for sale. It is the story of an Iowa girl who travels back in time to meet both a young Abe Lincoln in 1832 and a young Ronald Reagan in 1932, in the same location now known as Lowell Park. The movie rights have been purchased by a movie company and it is currently in pre-production status with a noted Hollywood director, Charles Robert Carner, assigned. Matt Bevin, Kentucky Governor, and Tom Cotton, Arkansas Senator, will be special guests at the Birthday Bash. For more information on prices and seating, contact Jake Ketzner at Jake@BranstadReynolds.com

March 1, 2017 – Mike is producing a documentary on Bill Smith, one of the most important figures in American wrestling history. Bill was 1952 Olympic wrestling champion, an undefeated, 2-time NCAA champion in college and coach of the San Francisco Olympic Club team, leading it to 7 national team tiles in the 1960s. In this documentary, you will see many rare photos of Bill’s illustrious career, and be with Bill as the University of Northern Iowa dedicates its official mat in his honor in 2013. Then Bill reminisces about his 70 years in the Sport of Wrestling. Coming in March of 2017.

March 16-18 – As a guest of the WIN Memorabilia Show between sessions of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mike will be signing many of his 28 published books and will have the new Bill Smith DVD documentary available. Dale Anderson, two-time NCAA champion for Michigan State in the 1960s, will be with Mike and selling copies of his new book, “A Spartan Journey: Michigan State’s 1967 Miracle on the Mat”. Mike wrote the introduction to the book and Dan Gable wrote the foreword. The WIN Memorabilia Show is free and open to the public.

Thoughts on Muhammad Ali’s Passing

Saturday, June 4th, 2016 | Uncategorized | No Comments

mike-about-aliWith the passing of Muhammad Ali today, I find myself reflecting back on two occasions that I spent time with “The Greatest” They are among the most cherished moments of my 35-year journalism career and I would like to share them with all the Facebook friends of my three children, Jacquie, Jenny and Jason. The picture you see here is of me and Muhammad in Cedar Rapids on June 6, 1982.

In my opinion, Muhammad Ali (aka Cassius Clay) is the greatest heavyweight boxing champion ever, and maybe even the greatest sports figure of all time. It has been stated that during his peak years as champion, in the 1970s, his was the best known name on the planet. You could travel to the far corners of the civilized world, or to tiny huts in small African villages, and more people would recognize the name Muhammad Ali than that of any other person alive, including presidents, kings, queens and movie stars.

The first time I was around Ali was in the winter of 1978 when I was managing editor of the Daily Sentinel newspaper in Woodstock, Illinois, about sixty miles northwest of Chicago. One morning at my desk, I read in a Chicago newspaper that Ali was going to hold a sparring session in the Windy City Boxing Club. I turned to my sports editor, Don Doxsie, and said, “Grab your camera …. and let’s go see Muhammad Ali.”

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Upcoming Events for 2016

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 | Uncategorized | No Comments

April 9-10, 2106 – During the Olympic wrestling trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Bev and Mike will have a booth with various books, posters and memorabilia for sale. The booth will be part of the WIN Fan Festival in downtown Iowa City, from 2-6 p.m. both days.

April 11, 2016 – At the 47th annual inductions into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame held in Cresco, Mike will introduce his longtime friend Jim Duschen, who is being inducted. Mike and Jim have been friends for over 55 years and are graduates of East Waterloo High School. They wrestled on the same team at the Mare Island Naval Station in 1963 and Jim went on to become an All-American at Iowa State, a Greco-Roman national champion twice, 1973 World team member and a coaching legend in the state of Nevada.

April 30, 2016 — Mike will be the guest speaker at the Charles City Excellence in Education Foundation’s fundraising and awards banquet at the Charles City Elks Lodge on April 30. The event is not open to the public.

May 13-14, 2016 – Mike will be a featured guest at the ceremonies in Perry, Oklahoma, honoring Dan Hodge and Jack VanBebber, both undefeated three-time NCAA champions in college and Olympic medal winners. The city of Perry has created a large area across from the county courthouse to honor Dan and Jack with statues, and all other great wrestlers from the city, one of the top wrestling towns in America. Many dignitaries are attending, including Dan and Dolores Hodge and their family.

July 3, 2016 – The first ever Frank Gotch Catch World Championships will be held in Humboldt, Iowa – the hometown of the legendary Frank Gotch — and Mike is one of the event organizers. He will have a booth of wrestling memorabilia on display at the event at Humboldt High School, and also many of his books and posters for sale. Catch wrestling is the type of wrestling that Gotch participated in during the start of the 20th Century and involves joint-lock submission holds not allowed in amateur wrestling.

Book Signings with Governor Branstad

Monday, February 1st, 2016 | Book Signing, Books, Radio | No Comments

Mike will be travelling the state to do some book signings with Governor Terry Branstad for the recently released biography about Branstad ““Iowa’s Record-Setting Governor: The Terry Branstad Story.” Here are some dates:

  • Feb. 2 – Newton YMCA from 11:20 am-12:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 9 – Sullivan Brothers Museum, Waterloo, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Additonally:

On Feb. 4, 8:30 am. — Mike will be on the Van and Bonnie radio talk show on WHO (1040) in Des Moines, talking about the book.
On Feb. 9, 10:30 a.m. — Governor Branstad and Mike will be on KXEL radio (1540) in Waterloo taking about the book.

You can listen live to both radio stations on their sites.

Mike’s Latest Book on Gov. Terry Branstad Now Available

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 | Books | No Comments

mike_and_governor

Holding his latest book, “Iowa’s Record-Setting Governor: The Terry Branstad Story”, Mike Chapman (left) poses with the governor on Dec. 14 at a banquet celebrating Branstad becoming the longest serving governor in American history. Some 1,300 persons attended the event and each was given a copy of the book with their ticket. Mike worked on the book for 18 months and conducted interviews with 33 different people, and had 10 private meetings with the governor. The book can be purchased on Amazon and will soon be available at various book stores around the state. Book signings with the governor and Mike are being scheduled at various locations. It is Mike’s 28th published book.

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Oklahoma Shooter – Back by Popular Demand

Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story is $75 plus $5 for shipping and handling. All copies are signed by Dan Hodge and Mike Chapman. You can order by sending a check or money order for $80.00 to Culture House, P.O.. Box 293, Newton, IA 50208, or by calling 641-791-3072.

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