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


8 Responses to “Rock ‘n rolling in Hamburg”

  1. Bernie Says:

    I watched wresting as a girl. I don’t know why. It was amusing I guess.
    The hall picture is fun. The wrestling thing kind of kills thoughts of big dances and so on.*lol*

  2. Oh, but you bring back old memories!! As a kid growing up on a small farm my dad was a great fan of Vern Gagne, Farmer Marlin with his famous mule kick, Killer Kowalski, The Baron, Haystack Calhoun and so many others. Remember Marty O’Neil announcing? My dad didn’t get animated about much but when it was time for Saturday Night Wrestling it was just like he was in the ring with those guys. And he would get so mad when one of “his” guys would screw up and lose the march! We even made a trip to St. Paul to watch some matches live one Saturday night in the summer. Dad rarely ventured from the area around Belle Plaine-Blakeley so this was a big trip for us. There is some form of entertainment for everyone.
    I have been to the Hamburg Hall many times for wedding dances and even to auctions there. It is truly a multipurpose hall. I am glad you stumbled upon this little town.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I had forgotten some of those names you mentioned, Harriet. Sounds like you had many fond memories of watching pro-wrestling. Randy and I once attended a match in St. Paul also.

      You’re right. A form of entertainment exists for everyone.

      Readers, Harriet sent me a link to a vintage image of Vern Gagne. Check it out here if you wish:

  3. Amber Says:

    I went to a wedding reception there two summers ago.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      So what does the hall look like inside? Wooden floors? Old time, as I picture it.

  4. L.D. Will Says:

    My father grew up in Hamburg with Buck and they remain friends today. I have many great memories from the Hamburg Hall from my childhood. Every weekend in the summer they would have weddings/family reunions/polka bands etc. There is even a 2 lane bowling alley down in the basement. We would travel from TX every summer to visit all of my dad’s family that still resides in Hamburg and I always looked forward to events at the hall. Neat picture, I wish you could have seen the interior! On another note, Buck actually used to operate a bar in Hamburg back in the 80’s, “Ringside Bar” that had a wrestling ring inside. It is long gone now but I have some great memories going there to see Buck with my dad when I was a kid.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. That’s interesting about the bowling alley in the basement. My husband attended a Catholic parish in Buckman that also had bowling alley, in the basement of the social hall. Yes, I would love to get inside the Hamburg hall someday. That bar sounds like one interesting venue.

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