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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Funk's Corner - Bob Geigel, Verne Gagne And Dory Funk Sr. Shoot Out At The Flying Mare Ranch

Courtesy of Dory Funk Jr.:

Bob Geigel looked me in the eye and said, "Dory," I am telling you ahead of time, I am going to get your right leg."

We were on the wrestling mat in the garage of my father's home on the Flying Mare Ranch in Umbarger, Texas. (20 miles southwest of Amarillo) Dory Funk Sr. , Verne Gagne and Terry Funk were Standing to the side.

I was 16 years old, in high school athletics playing football and amateur wrestling. I knew Geigel was good, He was a Big Ten Amateur wrestling champion but he was going to tell me which leg he was going to get and then do it?

Geigel was big, strong and rawboned with big strong hands. He had lost the tip of one finger but I think it only made his grip stronger.

As we hooked up, Geigel grabbed my right arm by the wrist and would not let go. He pulled down hard! To keep my balance, I planted my right foot resisting his strength.

All of a sudden there was nothing to resist as Bob Geigel had released my wrist and dropped to my right leg which was firmly planted right in front of him. Bob stepped forward driving his shoulder into by knee while holding tightly to my ankle and in a second, I was on my butt with Geigel on top.

Bob released and let me up then showed me the technique.

Verne Gagne, a former NCAA Champion from Minnesota stepped in and said, "Geigel, you can't do that to me. Geigel turned and faced Vern Gagne. Geigel made a move for Verne's leg but Verne blocked with his weight and a cross face and in a second was behind Geigel in a riding position.

My father, Dory Funk Sr., an Indiana University amateur wrestler and state high school champion, walked on to the padded surface and challenged Verne for a go on the mat. Dad forced Verne back to the edge of the garage where the hot water tank stood. Verne pushed back and Dad released his push, pulling hard on Verne's right arm dragging him face forward and slipping behind for a two point take down.

Geigel was back out on the mat challenging Dory Funk Sr. for a go wanting to even the score. In a scramble, Geigel was fighting for the upper position. Dad's "Wizzer" maneuver fell victim to a half nelson and Bob Geigel was on top. (Wizzer is an amateur wrestling move named for and popularized by Cheif Justice of the Supreme Court, Wizzer White who was also an amateur wrestler).

All three of these great amateur and professional wrestlers had won one and lost one, save my never redeemed victim of Bob Geigel's single leg pick-up.

We all retreated to the kitchen where Mother, Dorothy Funk and Bob's wife Vera Geigel had prepared wild ducks roasted in their own gravy from the morning hunt on the southeast corner of the Flying Mare Ranch.

Talk at the dinner table was about how everyone in the business would have liked to have seen these three top shooters in the wrestling business go at each other.

Congratulations to Bob and Vera Geigel who will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this August 21 in Kansas City.

The first match from Support the Troops 18, "Fight For Freedom" is now up on !BANG! TV at www.dory-funk.com. For information on training schedules at the Funking Conservatory, call 352-895-4658.