CENTER — Skip McClure spends most of his time at his Gunbarrel Station service center at Highways 285 and 112, changing tires and keeping up on local events with area farmers and business owners who frequent the popular convenience store.
Many picture McClure managing the pancake station for the Center Kiwanis Club at the club’s annual pancake breakfast at the Center Schools cafeteria. (This year the event will be held at the school Feb. 18 at 4 p.m.)
But on Saturday, McClure was honored at the Valley Classic Wrestling event held each year at Center Schools for 50 years of service as a wrestling official across the state of Colorado. McClure will be inducted into the national Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla.
According to the Stillwater, Okla. Hall of Fame website, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame was dedicated in 1976. It was with the idea that what is recognized as the oldest sport in the world should have a permanent home for its culture and memorabilia.
One of the Hall of Fame’s main attractions, the Paul K. Scott Museum of Wrestling History, houses a diverse collection of wrestling memorabilia covering the entire history of the oldest sport. From the green marble statue, The Wrestlers, that graces the main entrance to historical trophies and prizes from all levels of competition, the museum provides a unique perspective on the history of this uplifting sport.
Six Coloradans will be named to the Hall of Fame this year, McClure said. He and Rocky Wiederman of Alamosa are the only two officials from the Valley recognized at the National Hall of Fame.
McClure received a meritorious award from the Hall of Fame two years ago for his contributions to the sport. He says he has officiated at all the wrestling events in the Valley and has also officiated at tournaments and meets in La Junta, Trinidad, Walsenburg, La Veta and Pagosa Springs for 45 years. McClure also has refereed regional wrestling events for 45 years.
The most memorable event in McClure’s wrestling career, he said, was a 5A regional tournament held at Rampart in Colorado Springs.
“I’d never done a 5A class tournament before,” McClure recalled. “I could go out there and do my job because no one knew me, so no one yelled at me.” He went on to explain that while referees are yelled at during the almost every meet, “You learn to shut everyone out.”
Center High School Principal Kevin Jones noted that wrestling official Steve DeLeon informed him of McClure’s appointment not long ago.
“Skip continues to work as a regional evaluator and local assigner for the Southern Peaks League,” Jones said in an email Tuesday. “He will be inducted into the hall of fame this summer.” Jones commended McClure for his service to high school youth and congratulated him on his appointment.