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Teaching Iowa History, Results in Special Song Teaching Iowa history, results in special song

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 | Columns, Iowa History Journal | No Comments

Publisher’s Perspective – Volume 4, Issue 2 of Iowa History Journal

Not long ago, I received a letter from Mrs. Carol Alvis, who teaches social studies at Van Buren Middle School in Keosauqua. For those not familiar with Keosauqua, it is a city of 1,100 located in very southeastern Iowa, on the Missouri border. It is home to the oldest courthouse in continuous use in the state, dating back to 1840.

Mrs. Alvis began her letter thusly: “I am writing in response to the article you wrote in the May/June issue of the Iowa History Journal magazine entitled ‘Iowa schools are flunking in history’. In that article you stated that a few years ago the Des Moines Register reported that Iowa history was being ignored in Iowa schools.

“I just want to let you know that in the Van Buren Middle School 7th grade classes, Iowa history is alive and well.”

Continue reading…

Johnny Bright: Drake’s Greatest Legend

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 | Columns, Iowa History Journal | No Comments

by Mike Chapman (excerpt from Iowa History Journal, Volume 2, Issue 5)

When Johnny Bright strolled onto the cozy Drake University campus in the fall of 1948, no one could have realized what was in store for the Des Moines college in particular, and the game of football in general. After his three-year varsity career wound up in 1951, Bright left a legacy of achievement that may never be matched at any college.

The dynamic, athletic young man from Indiana had it all, including a name that lent itself to visions of grandeur. And it is sad that today very few Iowa football fans even know who Johnny Bright was and what he once meant to Drake University and to the state as a whole.

Continue reading…

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National Dairy Cattle Congress

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 | Columns, Iowa History Journal | No Comments

Publisher’s Perspective – Volume 2, Issue 5 of Iowa History Journal

When I was a kid growing up in Waterloo in the 1950s, I was a city slicker that didn’t know a darn thing about farm animals and implements. Still, other than Christmas, the most exciting time of the year for me, and most kids I knew, was opening day of the National Dairy Cattle Congress. It was a huge, weeklong show that took place on the western edge of the city, and offered attractions galore, for a very wide variety of people.

It was so much more extravagant than any local fair I had ever seen that it couldn’t even be compared. It was such a big event in the 1950s that the Waterloo schools gave all students a day off to attend it. All the previous week, it was the subject of talk among all the kids in the school I attended. We laid plans for the big day off, and how much fun we were going to have.

Read on…

Bill’s and Bob’s Field of Dreams

Saturday, July 10th, 2010 | Columns, Iowa History Journal | No Comments

Publisher’s Perspective – Volume 2, Issue 4 of Iowa History Journal

Iowa is well known in some circles as the home of “Field of Dreams” because the hit movie of that name was filmed on a picturesque farm near Dyersville. The 1989 film starred Kevin Costner as an Iowa farmer who saw ghost players come out of a cornfield to play on a baseball diamond he carved out of a pasture.

But in reality, there are two fields of dream in our great state. The first one was developed in the mid 1930s near Van Meter, on a farm owned by Bill Feller.

Through the years, I’ve been to both fields of dreams several times. Shoeless Joe Jackson was the star player of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox team that the Costner film focused on, and I created a Shoeless Joe Jackson poster in 1992 that has sold very well at the gift shop at the Dyersville movie site.

On May 26, I once again visited the “original” field of dreams, the one near Van Meter. I drove there with Scott Havick, the energetic and passionate director of the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter.

Continue reading…

History of the W.I.N. Memorabilia Show

Sunday, March 7th, 2010 | Columns, WIN Magazine, Wrestling | No Comments

Mike’s column from the latest issue of WIN Magazine talks about the history of the Memorabilia Show. This show will mark Mike’s 20th and last show.

He writes:

The 1991 NCAA championships in Iowa City stand out in my mind as one of the most memorable ever, for many reasons.

…It was the scene for an experiment I tried with two friends – Mike DeAnna, former Hawkeye star, and Bob Steenlage, Iowa’s first four-time state champion and an All-American at West Point.

We wanted to develop an event that would offer fans a gathering spot between sessions of the tournament. We were tired of trying to meet friends in smoke-filled bars or crowded restaurants, or jammed into motel lobbies. We felt other fans would embrace the concept of a general gathering spot between sessions, as well.

That tournament marks the debut of what has become known as the “WIN Memorabilia Show.”

We hope to see you there this year!

To read the full article, click here…

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Jack Brisco Passes Away at Age 68

Friday, March 5th, 2010 | Columns, WIN Magazine, Wrestling | No Comments

Two WIN Magazine issues ago, I wrote about the passing of Steve “Dr. Death” Williams, who attended the WIN show two years ago in St. Louis. This issue, I am sad to report on the death of Jack Brisco, who was a guest at our WIN show in 2004.

Brisco died February 1 at age 68, from complications of heart surgery two weeks previous. He had been in ill health for the past several months. He was a star of the great Oklahoma State teams of the mid-1960s, winning the NCAA title at 191 pounds in 1965 after finishing second the year before. Jack only lost one match his entire college career and was a three-time state champion at Blackwell High School in Oklahoma.

Jack turned professional in 1965 and eventually became world heavyweight champion. He was a huge star for two decades. He was long retired and living in Tampa, Florida, when he died. Jack loved amateur wrestling and was extremely proud of his career in Oklahoma. He was the subject of a terrific biography written by Bill Murdock, called BRISCO, published in 2003.

Jack Brisco was an engaging, friendly man and a true champion of sport. He will be missed by all who knew him.

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The Day Tarzan Came Home to Iowa

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 | Columns, Iowa History Journal, Wrestling | No Comments

This is the Publisher’s Perspective column from Volume 2, Issue 1 of Iowa History Journal:

During my long career in journalism I’ve had the opportunity to meet many interesting personalities … from President Ronald Reagan to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, from actors like Robert Redford and Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk” of TV fame) to super athletes like Dick Butkus and Bob Mathias.

But one of the most memorable moments came when Tarzan visited Iowa City.

I was editor of the Voice of the Hawkeyes newspaper in 1985 when Dan Gable, Iowa’s wrestling coach at the time, called me and asked if I had any ideas on who he could get to be an “honorary coach” at the upcoming wrestling match between the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones. The meet was already a very big deal back then, but he was trying to put a little extra excitement into the event and thought it would be fun to have someone special with his team on the bench.

I said, “How about a former movie Tarzan?”

“That sounds interesting,” he replied, “but what’s the connection with Iowa?”

Continue reading…

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The Day Gable Wrestled ‘Goober’

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | Columns, WIN Magazine, Wrestling | No Comments

There have been many great wrestling showdowns through the decades, such as Caruso-Fehrs, Behm- Sanders, Lewis-Smith, Fraser-Houck, Perry-Hendricks. They were all classic matches, to be sure.

But one match that never makes the list is Gable-Goober.

And for good reason. It was a pure mismatch from the outset, and there was nothing important about the match at all.

But it surely was the funniest wrestling match of all time!

Continue reading to see who won…

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