FDSH golf outing a success

Dan Gable and Dallas Clark may not look like they have much in common on the surface.

When it comes to encouraging high school athletic involvement, though, the two state legends will always join forces to help a good cause.

Gable and Clark were in town on Friday to headline the annual Fort Dodge Senior High golf outing, which raised funds to help support both the present and future of Dodger athletics.

While Gable served as the keynote speaker, Clark – a Livermore native and Twin River Valley graduate – actually grabbed his clubs and participated in the event at the Fort Dodge Country Club. Clark’s services were auctioned to the highest bidder – local businessman Casey Johnson and his Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota group.

“The only thing that was going to keep me from being here was to have a job, and I’m still unemployed,” laughed Clark, who is currently waiting to be offered a new contract in the NFL. “It worked out well for everyone. I’m excited to be here.

“There are so many great programs and great things going on – if I’m able to show up and help raise a few extra bucks, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Clark’s brother, Derrik, is married to current Fort Dodge Senior High girls golf coach and teacher Kristi Clark.

“This is a great event and I’m excited to play this course,” Clark said. “These events usually have a great group of people that are all out here for the same reason: to have fun and help Fort Dodge.”

Gable is on a whirlwind tour of the state and country in hopes of getting the sport of wrestling back into the Summer Olympics. There is a vote set for this September in which either wrestling, baseball and softball, or squash will be selected as part of the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.

Wrestling was recommended for removal by the International Olympic Committee executive board this past February, and the sport as a whole – from the pee-wee ranks through post-college levels – have been working to show why it deserves to be part of the scene.

Gable, a long-time Hawkeye wrestling coach and iconic wrestling figure himself, said that “when this part of the state calls, I always have a close place in my heart for them.”

“This area of the state means a lot to me,” he continued. “I lived in Humboldt, and did my student-teaching there in the fall of 1970.

“There is so much tradition and history in this area for the sport of amateur wrestling that I feel almost obligated, in a good way, to come and speak (here) when they ask.”

As head coach of the Hawks, Gable led the team to 16 NCAA titles. He claimed gold at the ’72 Summer Olympics in wrestling himself after posting a record of 181-1 while competing for Iowa State.

While the perception is that wrestling is losing interest, Gable wants to correct that misconception.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve added 100 college programs,” he boasted. “Most people, though, only know about the 50 that we lost. That’s why I need to get out and get information to the public to show that the sport is not going away.

“We are on the rise, and we need to turn this Olympic thing around to make sure people understand that.”

Some of the key auction items used to raise funds included a Masters flag signed by 2007 winner and Cedar Rapids native Zach Johnson, a Clark autographed jersey, tickets to Minnesota Twins and Iowa Cubs games and a lifetime Dodger pass. Raffle items were also handed out.

Nearly 200 golfers participated in the festivities.