September 30, 2015 | Marcie Klomp, Cresco Times Plain Dealer
CRESCO – Wrestling is a big deal in Howard County, not to mention the state of Iowa. That’s why it is so special that Cresco is home to the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. Now it is even more special as a mural has just been painted on the wall of The Exchange Cresco with four individuals who have been great representatives of the sport.
Over the past month, Robin Macomber has been working diligently to finish the mural. She was commissioned by the IWHOF board, who gave her some ideas and then allowed her imagination to run wild. It is hard to say what catches a person’s eye first—the colors, the men on display or the red, white and blue ribbon that weaves its way through the three sections.
The four wrestling greats represented include Dan Gable, Dr. Harold Nichols, Gary Kurdelmeier and Dr. Norman Borlaug. Member of the board Jim Turvold explained, “The board decided who would be on the mural. We simply said we would use who was the most recognizable. Dan Gable was unanimous. He is the most notable.” There are two pictures of Gable, one as an Olympian and the other as University of Iowa wrestling coach. The three in the middle are Nichols, Kurdelmeier and Borlaug. On the left is Cresco bragging about its winners, including three Olympic champions, nine NCAA champions, seven state team titles and 65 state champions. “We fell in love immediately,” Turvold said of seeing the rough draft.
Macomber, who has done murals all over the United States, was happy to do this one. Although most of her work is private commission for individuals, she enjoys doing the large murals as well. She has been painting full-time since 1996. It took her about four rainy and hot weeks to finish the mural and says the paint used was a regular outdoor name-brand. It should last 20-25years. Macomber also plans to do touch-ups as time necessitates. The mural is being funded by grants—$3,000 from Howard County Community Foundation and $1,000 from the City of Cresco through a tourism grant (motel/hotel tax). It is also supported by The Exchange Cresco. Owner Christine Minear noted, “I hope people like the artwork because that’s what we’re all about.” The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame was organized in 1970 to promote amateur wrestling in Iowa. Since 1970, the local Board of Directors has hosted an annual awards banquet to honor individuals nominated for induction by the Selection Committee.
To learn more about these amazing individuals, check out Iowa’s Wrestling Hall of Fame inside the Welcome Center or find it online at the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame website. A dedication of the mural is planned for a future date, when Gable will be able to attend and sign his name by his picture. Look for more information on this in the Times Plain Dealer.