Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Rock ‘n rolling in Hamburg June 18, 2011

LAST SUNDAY MY HUSBAND and I drove into Hamburg, just because we’d never been there. It was along the meandering path we chose for our trip back to Faribault from west central Minnesota.

We didn’t hang around in Hamburg, simply went into town, turned around and drove back out. As we passed the community hall in this town of around 500, I snapped this photo. I appreciated the vintage look of the building and wondered how many times locals have gathered here to celebrate.

I imagined dance feet scuffing oak floors, brides launching bouquets, crepe paper streamers sagging from the ceiling, gray-haired ladies sipping coffee, accordions weaving in and out.

I did not imagine Rock ‘N Roll Wrestling. Who would?

But when I later did an online search of Hamburg, I discovered wrestling at the community hall. Surprise. Tonight wrestlers will rock the walls of the community hall as pro-wrestler Rock ‘N Roll Buck ZumHofe brings his wrestling show back to his hometown beginning at 7:30 p.m.

So much for my contemplative visions of a wedding reception and dance or a 50th wedding anniversary party, although I expect those are also part of this building’s history.

Tonight it’s all about wrestling, which I may have watched when I was a kid (and even as recently as 30 years ago.) Vern Gagne, Dr. X, The Crusher, and, yes, even Rock ‘N Roll Buck ZumHofe, are names I remember.

No, I won’t be in Hamburg tonight to relive my days of pro-wrestling devotion at this town’s annual Zummerfest celebration. My interest has vanished and is now limited to the occasional glimpse I catch of wrestlers when the guys in my house are flicking television channels.

However, I expect plenty of faithful fans to fill the old hall. If you wish you could be there but can’t make tonight’s gig, Rock ‘N Roll Wrestling will be in nearby Glencoe on June 25 and in Wabasha on June 26.

According to ZumHofe’s website, you’ll be treated to “old fashion fun wrestling in a format that is nostalgic as well as new and highly entertaining.”

DO YOU HAVE MEMORIES of watching pro-wrestling on television or in person? Do you still watch/attend these wrestling bouts?

AND IF YOU HAVE memories of the Hamburg Community Hall or know anything about its history, please submit a comment. I’d like to hear your stories.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


My visit with Otto the otter

BECAUSE WE MISSED the turn, we missed the kids—the kids perched like birds on a telephone wire atop Otto the Otter.

They would have added so much to these photos of the otter statue along Grotto Lake in Adams Park in Fergus Falls. Oh, well. They were flying past their dad back to the playground when we pulled into the parking lot.

So this would be just me and the husband, whom I couldn’t convince to pose with Otto. I did. But since I don’t look nearly as cute as those kids, you won’t see me leaning lamely against the otter in an image published here. That’s reserved for the family photo album.

I chose to ignore the spouse’s suggestion that I clamber atop an overturned picnic table and scramble onto Otto’s back. Like, do you think I’m 10 or something? I have an artificial hip, remember. Do you want me tumbling off this weaselly animal onto a pile of goose poop, tending me while waiting for the ambulance to haul me to Lake Region Healthcare?

Surely not.

Except for the goose-pooped lawn, our visit with Otto rated as fairly enjoyable. I mean, I really do appreciate viewing kitschy outdoor art like this gigantic otter statue under a beautiful summer sky in ideal temperatures (meaning 70ish and no humidity) that rank as nothing short of Minnesota weather perfect.

It’s just that I should have scraped the goose crap from my shoes before removing them, slipping my feet into flip flops and placing the poop-slimed shoes into the trunk of our car.

For purposes of this story, I have staged this shoe photo, without the goose poop, as a visual reminder to always, always wipe the goose poo from your shoes before placing them inside a vehicle.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling