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Dan Gable wrestling museum set to open Jan. 12 in Waterloo, Iowa



The International Wrestling Institute and Museum, founded in 1997, has officially changed locations. The facility opened its doors on Sept. 18, 1998, in Newton, Iowa, and on Jan. 12, 2007, will re-open its doors in Waterloo, Iowa. The new facility will be renamed the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in honor of the state's greatest sporting legend.

On Jan. 13-14, the University of Northern Iowa will be hosting the National Duals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The event brings over 70 collegiate teams an estimated 15,000 fans to the event. The Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum will open on Friday, Jan. 12, in conjunction with the Duals. A Grand Opening is slated for some time in February, the exact date yet to be determined.

"We're excited about having the wrestling museum in Waterloo," said Jeff Boyer of the National Wrestling Coaches Association. "Part of our marketing plan is to work closely with the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum for this event. We anticipate over 15,000 fans for the weekend and we hope that the majority of them will visit the new museum."

The facility in Waterloo features 21,000 square feet, nearly tripling the size of the Newton museum. The added space has allowed the wrestling museum to grow and add exhibits that had been in the works for several years.

Two of the areas that received significant improvements were the pro and amateur wings of the wrestling museum. The amateur area has an entirely new design and is much larger, while the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional wing received some considerable upgrades to their section in the museum.

"The new facility is tremendous," said Mike Chapman, executive director and founder of the wrestling museum. "When we came up here to unload I was blown away with all the work that had been done. This museum has exceeded all of my expectations. This is a place is something the entire nation can take pride in."

In addition to the amateur and pro wrestling exhibits, the new wrestling museum will house the Dan Gable Training Center, the Alan & Gloria Rice Greco-Roman Hall of Fame, the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa, as well as a new and improved gift shop, library, and video room. Fans will also be treated to a magnificent glass etching of Gable upon entering into the lobby area.

"The etched glass with Dan Gable is one of the key features in the museum," said Kevin McConnell of Kirk Gross Company, the architect for the wrestling museum. "It's a unique etched piece of glass that represents what Dan Gable and the museum is all about. The guy who completed the project has etched glass for 30 years and he said it's the best piece he's ever done."

There are already several new projects and events scheduled with the move to Waterloo. The latest development is a new radio program that will be broadcast live from the wrestling museum on Wednesday nights from 6 to 7 p.m. on 1650 AM.

Kyle Klingman, associate director of the wrestling museum, will host the program. The broadcast area for the show includes most of northeast Iowa and can be heard nationwide on the Internet at www.kcnzam.com. The first show will air live on Jan. 3, 2007.

Kirk Gross Company, owned and operated by Bob Buckley, a former West Waterloo High School wrestler, donated over $50,000 in services to the project. MaGee Construction Company of Waterloo is the general contractor and also donated considerable time and effort.

Maher Transfer Company of Cedar Rapids and Takin Brothers of Waterloo donated trucks and labor for the entire move. Twenty members of the West Waterloo wrestling team helped unload the truck.

Buckley headed up the fundraising effort. The goal was $1.3 million and it was reached in November, said Buckley. Over $700,000 was allocated for the renovation of the building, which is state of the art.

"This is great opportunity for the sport of wrestling to get behind this project and show their support," said Jed Brown, president of the board of directors for the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum. "This museum is something that the entire wrestling community can be proud of."

Other board members are Jay Roberts of Waterloo; Frank Santana of Des Moines; Chris McGowan of Sioux City, IA; Brad Rheingans of Appleton, MN; Tom Drake of Cullman, AL; Ken Leuer of Midland, GA, Bill Murdock of Asheville, NC, Bev Chapman of Newton, IA, and Dan Gable of Iowa City, as well as Chapman and Buckley.

The new museum is located at 303 Jefferson Street in downtown Waterloo. Anyone interested in updates on the museum may call (319) 233-0745 or visit www.wrestlingmuseum.org.
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