Sunday Night: Wrestling – a family affair

By MaryHelen Swanson, editor

The State Wrestling tournament this weekend will be a little more exciting for the Oehlers family of North Branch.

Ed Oehlers III, a 1976 graduate of NBHS will be there as the assistant wrestling coach in North Branch, along with coach Tony Aho and the NB boys who advanced to the state this past weekend.

His son, Ed Oehlers IV, a 2001 graduate of NBHS will be there as head wrestling coach at Willmar, along with 8 wrestlers and their entire team. They will face off with Apple Valley and what joy there will be in Willmar  … and I presume in North Branch, if they overtake that team. Ed the fourth is also a teacher at Willmar.

Wrestling is a wonderful Oehlers family tradition.

Good luck to all the wrestlers from North Branch, Rush City… oh and Willmar too. Have fun this weekend and do your best!

Look at me, writing about sports.

Now let me tell you about that Daytona race Monday night. Yes, I stayed up to the end and I’m sure glad all those crashes didn’t turn out to be tragedies.

I’ll bet you all never knew that I was a racing fan. It goes back to 1963, when a young man from Maple Ridge Township in Isanti County asked me to go to the Minnesota State Fair.

It was there I learned the word offenhauser, how to turn my head round and round without getting dizzy, and how to chuck down salted-in-the-shell peanuts creating a pile of empty shells at my feet a foot high.

It’s where the thrill of the race got into my blood and the love of my life into my heart.

Watching those cars whizz around the small state fair track was one thing, but it soon blossomed into a real passion and each year we faithfully listened (and later watched) the Indy 500 on Memorial Day. It became a tradition.

Many a garden was planted to the whine of the cars speeding around Indy’s track.

In the 70s, while wearing my “hippy” clothes, including an off-white fringed poncho, we attended the races in Princeton. We, well at least I was cool. But there you had to watch out for flying mud balls. Oh, yea, off white was the wrong color.

There was always a dream to travel to Indianapolis to view the Indy 500 first hand. At first it almost seemed like it could became a reality, and then, five daughters later, it just remained a pleasant thought.

But after watching the event-filled Daytona this week, I got an idea.

This should be the year my hubby and I make that trip. Surely they have handicapped parking and seating for two old decrepit folks? I fear if we wait any longer, we’ll always have to settle for sitting by the radio with visions of race cars dancing in our heads.

Could be the year, who knows.

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