When I say wrestling “returns” to Sturgeon Bay, there are a few important clarifications.
First, this isn’t the kind of wrestling you find in the Olympics, or the kind that Sevastopol’s Jeremy Jorns competed in at the high school state tournament this year, or the type of wrestling that earned Kewaunee’s Jack Severin the title of Packerland Wrestler of the Year.
Second, anyone who recalls wrestling at Wagner’s Hall in Maplewood or the Sturgeon Bay High School gym hasn’t seen the sport as they remember it in more than six decades.
That headline, from the November 11, 1953, issue of the Door County Advocate, previews a match in the Sturgeon Bay high school gym between Bob “Crusher” Massey and Mike, “a real live Siberian brown bear” clocking in at 400 pounds.
In what was an equally novel opener for the match against the animal kingdom, two women competed in the ring.
“A couple of biting, hair pulling and kicking females that try to add a touch of femininity to the wrestling game, but never do,” the Advocate wrote.
Earlier that same year, The Brown Panther took on Fuzzy Cupid in the high school gym and Wilbur Snyder battled The Bruiser in the U.S. Championship match.
At this year’s Door County Fair, wrestling returns to the midway.
Frankie DeFalco, owner and promoter of Brew City Wrestling (BCW), said it’s the first time he has brought his show to Door County, although it is popular with the fair circuit.
“It’s a family oriented show and it’s a unique entity for a fair or festival,” DeFalco said.
Tom Ash, chair of the Door County Fair board, talked with DeFalco at the Wisconsin Association of Fairs convention in the Wisconsin Dells.
“We always try to look for something different to add to our lineup and they (BCW) were available this year,” Ash said. “When we’re there and shopping we’re trying to hit the pulse of something the community may want to see or something they have never seen and bring that entertainment to them.”
Historically, novel entertainment at the Door County Fair has been the standard. Whether it’s showing off the sensational new Frazer, “this brilliantly engineered, smartly designed, honestly built car,” or the next great stunt from the Door Devils Motorcycle Club.
“When I talked to Tom [Ash], he thinks this would be a good entity and it’s unique for their fair,” DeFalco said. “We’re going to try it out and see what happens.”
DeFalco has spent the past 40 years in the world of professional wrestling, recalling his first match in May of 1979 with nostalgia. He started BCW in 2004 while he was still an active wrestler, before retiring in 2014 to focus on promoting the BCW stars and their growing number of performances.
“My thing is to provide employment for wrestlers and family entertainment for fans because it’s the kids that bring the parents to the shows,” DeFalco said.
Every fair attendee will have plenty of time to see the action free with admission to the fair. The BCW stars will compete in four 45-minute matches on Friday and Saturday beginning at noon, and three 45-minutes matches on Sunday beginning at 11:30.