Favorite Sons

A new 10-minute video created by Tom Kroeschell of Iowa State University traces the roots of wrestling’s popularity to Humboldt.
Kroeschell, who is Director of Programming for Cyclones.tv, entitled the video, “Favorite Sons.” Starting out with Iowa State’s hire of Humboldt native Kevin Dresser as head wrestling coach, the video progresses to talk about Humboldt’s Frank Gotch. There is also a segment on Humboldt’s Bruce Reimers, star offensive lineman for the Cyclones who played 10 years in the NFL and also wrestled with Dresser in high school.
“I don’t work for the Humboldt-Dakota City Chamber of Commerce but I can easily affirm the positive small town qualities of Humboldt, and the advantages people gain from growing up in a small town environment,” Kroeschell said. “Small town fabric is what makes Iowa such a great place to raise a family.”
The Favorite Sons video came about when Kroeschell started tracing back the history of wrestling at Iowa State. The year 2016 was the 100th anniversary of the Iowa State wrestling program and so Kroeschell started researching the start of wrestling at ISU. He interviewed Mike Chapman, a well-known wrestling historian.
“How did wrestling become so popular in Iowa? And when Iowa State started wrestling in 1916, they were almost immediately one of the best programs in the nation. How did that happen with guys that were already in school that joined the team? The reason was because of Frank Gotch of Humboldt, Iowa. At that time in 1916, Frank Gotch was the World Champion in wrestling and made wrestling a popular sport in Iowa,” Kroeschell said.
When Iowa State hired Kevin Dresser to be the new wrestling coach last year, a social was held here in Humboldt at Rustix. Kroeschell came along and brought his video camera.
“While I’m at the social, there’s Bruce Reimers, one of the best football players in ISU history. Not only was he a great player for Iowa State, but he knew Kevin. As you look deeper, Frank Gotch had opportunities to go to bigger cities to live where he probably could have made more money. But he came back to Humboldt. Bruce Reimers chose to come back to Humboldt after he retired from football. And now Kevin Dresser came back to Iowa State,” Kroeschell said.
He conducted some interviews with Dresser, Reimers, their middle school wrestling coach Larry Leibold and pieced it together with interviews he did with Mike Chapman to produce the Favorite Sons video.
Kroeschell said Humboldt is “quintessential Iowa.”
“Frank Gotch, Bruce Reimers and Kevin Dresser all have had many, many accomplishments. They are all about hard work. Something drew Frank Gotch back. He was a huge celebrity. He went to a Chicago Cubs game and all of the Cubs players wanted his autograph. There was a Broadway play about him. He could’ve gone anywhere. But he wanted to come back to Humboldt. Coach Dresser loves Humboldt that way, too,” Kroeschell said.
The current ISU wrestling team members probably didn’t know anything about Frank Gotch, but watching the video they are starting to learn more.
“It’s a fascinating story,” Kroeschell said.
Reaction to the Favorite Sons video has been very positive. It can viewed online at Cyclones.com on the wrestling page, or on Facebook on the Iowa State Wrestling page, or at this link: http://cyclones.com/watch/?Archive=11707&type=Live

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