Dick Hutton, NWA Champ
The wrestling world has been hit again two more times this week. Moondog Spot and Joey Rossi, along with Dick Hutton, have gone on to that big ring in the sky. Please remember them in your prayers.--Percival
This past week, the wrestling world was shocked to hear of the passing of another great National Wrestling Alliance Champion. I was stunned when I received the phone call from Scott McLin in Iowa. Over the next few hours, I called people and told them about the loss. Many had sorrow in their voices because Dick had treated them as human beings and friends for so many years.
Richard "Cowboy Dick" Hutton was crowned in Toronto, Canada on November 14, 1957, beating the legendary Lou Thesz in front of 10,000 fans. The match lasted 35:15 as Thesz succumbed to the dreaded Abdominal Stretch that Hutton had perfected as his winning hold. His title reign lasted 421 days until he faced Pat O'Connor, a young man just in from Wellington, New Zealand.
Dick's life began on October 4, 1923 in Amarillo, Texas. His family moved shortly after to Tulsa, Oklahoma. In high school, he began to pursue an education in amateur wrestling. He finished second during the last two years he was in high school.
Oklahoma A & M put the finishing touches on his education, and, during the four years he was there, he finished three of four years as NCAA heavyweight champ in 1947, 1948 and 1950. Verne Gagne defeated him on a referee's decision in 1949. That classic string of titles held for 44 years until Pat Smith, also of Oklahoma, became the first four-time NCAA champion 1994.
In 1948, Dick went to the Olympic games in London and finished fifth. In 1952, he had his first professional match against Wild Bill Longson. One of the great things that Dick did to make believers out of fans was to allow them the opportunity to get into the ring with him prior to his matches. His standing offer was to give fans a dollar a minute to stay with him in the ring. He also made an offer that if anyone beat him, he would give that person $1000. No one made money against him.
Dick Hutton has been honored in various Halls of Fame, including the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma in the class of 1995. He is also in the NCAA Wrestling Hall of Fame as well as the Newton, Iowa International Wrestling Institute & Museum in the class of 2000. He is only one of two men to be honored in both the amateur and professional halls of fame.
Over the past three years, I would look forward to sitting down with Dick at the museum in Newton and talking about his career and the good old days. He would often talk very highly about the man he beat for the belt, Lou Thesz. He would speak well about Pat O'Connor, who beat him on January 5, 1959.
He would speak with reverence about other famous Oklahoma wrestlers like Danny Hodge, Jack and Jerry Brisco, and Leroy McGuirk. I never heard an unkind or disrespectful remark come from Dick about anyone ... nor have I heard anyone else disrespect Dick.
He was a great NWA Champion who brought a certain dignity to the gold belt he carried. He was a champion that made friends wherever he went. He will be greatly missed.
Dick leaves three sons, 11 grandchildren, nieces and nephews to mourn his loss. If you would care to send a card of condolence to the Hutton Family, the address is 11695 S. 193 W. Ave, Sapulpa, OK 74066.
This from the Sapulpa Daily Herald 11-25-2003
Richard Hutton, 80, died Monday, Nov. 24, 2003 at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.
He was born Oct. 4, 1923 in Amarillo, Texas.
He was a retired rancher and professional wrestler. He was an Army veteran of World War II and attended Oklahoma A & M, now Oklahoma State University. At OSU he was a three-time NCAA wrestling champion.
He was a member of the NCAA Wrestling Hall of Fame and the OSU Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bailey and Gladys Hutton, and a brother, Jerald Hutton.
Survivors are: his sons, Chane Hutton, of Lees Summitt, Mo., and Kin and Brett Hutton, both of Tulsa; 11 grandchildren; niece Janet Grey and her husband, Larry, of Sapulpa; and two great-nephews, Colin and Chris Grey.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2003 at South Heights Cemetery Chapel.
Interment will be in South Heights Cemetery under the direction of Smith Funeral Home
Rest in Peace, Champ....
Percival A. Friend, Retired
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