Honorary Lifetime Membership
Click on name to get bio
Serafin "Pino" Bachicha, who has been active in wrestling for 37 years and still going strong, was one of the state's greatest high school wrestlers at Fort Lupton. He was a three-time district champion, a state runner-up in 1957 then won back-to-back titles in 1958-1959 for the Blue Devils.
Despite not wrestling in college, he has never let his love of the sport waiver, becominga top Colorado club coach, administrator and official. Bachicha founded the Fort Lupton Metro Wrestling Club in 1970 and it has become one of the premier clubs for youth in the state, introducing thousands of the state's youth to the sport of wrestling. It is interesting to note that in 1980, eight of his wrestlers who came up through his club became high school state champions. He considers that year one of his biggest thrills of 1958-1959 for the Blue Devils coaching.
Through the years, Bachicha, who has also coached Little League baseball and softball and was the head coach for the state's Freestyle Program (1974-1982).
He has been accorded many honors for his work in the Fort Lupton community and state. Among those honors, he has been named Fort Lupton's Outstanding Citizen and was presented with the Channel 9 TV 'Those Who Care Award' in 1989.
A well respected wrestling referee for 23 years, Walter Ballinger passed in Loveland in 2014. Born near Johnstown, his family moved to a farm near Highway 402 and Highway 287 in Loveland.
He graduated from Loveland High School and was an All-State football tackle. He had a football scholarship to the University of Colorado. He also attended Colorado State University in 1954-1955.
Walt started a postal career in 1955 and served the postal service for 31 years. He was also a very active volunteer fireman for 21 years. He was an Elks member for 50 years.
Dr. Rick Bettger was born and raised in Steamboat Springs and has spent a lifetime in education and has long supported high school athletes in a number of different roles.
After graduating from Steamboat Springs High School in 1970, he went on to earn a scholarship to Western State College in Gunnison for athletic trainers. In fact, he went on to more than one degree. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1974, Master of Arts in 1975 and master of business administration in 1977. He returned to school in 1988 and got a doctorate in school administration, curriculum and instruction from the University of Denver.
He also spent 30 years in the Aurora public schools at Gateway and at Aurora Central High School as a teacher, trainer, athletic director, league president, wrestling official, assistant principal and director of curriculum and instruction. He went on to spend another 11 years as director of student services at the Pitkins Technical College in Aurora, which was an area vocational school for adults and high school students.
This is not the first time that Bettger has been honored for his efforts with high school athletics. In 1988, he was named Colorado Athletic Director of the Year by the Colorado High School Activities Association and was a runner up for National Athletic Director of the Year. He was also regional Athletic Director of the Year, is a lifetime member of the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association and earned the CHSAA Distinguished Service Award. For 44 years he has been a member of the Colorado Athletics Directors Association. He worked as an athletic trainer at CHSAA State Championship events for the past 29 years.
Today he remains involved with Colorado High School Coaches Association, and as director of education, he provides college level programs, which allow coaches to keep their teaching certificates up-to-date at different camps and clinics across the state.
Since returning home, Bettger stays busy with several endeavors. He helped start nursing programs in Craig, and was employed by BOCES to study how to do an area vocational school that would serve Moffat and Routt counties. The Babson Carpenter Career & Technical Education Center opened in Hayden in 2008, and Bettger is proud that he played a role in bringing vocational education to our area.
Walter E. "Walt" Clay
High School- Went to Longmont H.S, in Colorado, graduating in 1941. Lettered all four years playing football (fullback - 1939-41), basketball and track (Hurdles, P.Vault, Discus, Shot - 1940-42). Was named all-state in football (1940) and basketball (1941-42).
College- Attended the University of Colorado for a year. Lettered and played one year as fullback on the Buffaloes football team (1942). Named All Big 7 Fullback (as a Freshman) in 1942. "CU coaches said that Walt was better than Byron "Whizzer" White at the same stage of development". Was a member of the CU baseball team, playing centerfield in 1943. Played basketball as a freshman and lettered one year. Team played in National AAU Tournament held in Denver. Beat the University of Wyoming (The NCAA Champions) in Semi-Final Game. Gotbeat in the Finals by Phillips 66. Named 2nd team - National AAU Basketball Team.
Military- Joined the U.S. Marine Corps in the Fall of 1943. Played football in the service as a fullback for the El Toro Marines (1944-45)... Team got beat in the ALL SERVICE Finals by the Navy Team.
Professionally-Played 4 years of pro football and was nickname "Hatchet" the way he would run through tacklers. Played fullback for the Chicago Rockets (1946-47) and Los Angeles Dons(1947-49). His highest Salary as a Pro was $7,500 per year (which was very good in those days). Has the honor of receiving a Pension from the NFL that is higher per month than the amount he made when he was playing (Probably nobody in Pueblo County, that qualifies for GPSA, has this honor).
Coaching Career- Spent his entire coaching career at Centennial High School. Worked four years (1951-54) as an assistant football then was promoted to the Bulldogs head football coach during the 1955 season and worked four years until 1958. Posted a career record of 18-19-3. Also was the head baseball and track coach for a year (1952 and 1956, respectively) and basketball coach for five seasons (1952-56). Clay coached the following outstanding players at Centennial: Norm Colglazier, Clyde Pearson, John Mulay, Bob Williams, Bill McDaniel, Gerald Salazar and Tom Suarez.
Official Career- Clay spent 25+ years officiating at the junior high, high school, college and recreational leagues. His 25+ years were spent officiating baseball, basketball, football and wrestling (all from 1960-85) and he spent 20+ years working softball game (1960-80).
Honors- The Officials Association awarded Walt an Honorary Life Time Membership in the following four sports: A plaque for football, baseball and basketball officiating and a clock for wrestling officiating. Walt was placed into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in Feb. 1994.
Ray Coca was a three-time state wrestling champion at Grand Junction High School, Coca posted a career 59-1-1 mark. Of his 12 state matches, he won seven by pin. His only loss came when he moved up in weight to take the place of an injured teammate.
He went on to Western State where he again starred on the wrestling mat, going undefeated as a freshman and earning all-American honors in 1964 when his team won the national title. He officiated 10 district and one state championship tournaments. He remains active in the community as noted in his awards from the city as a Hometown Hero on at least two occasions.
He was also the sports editor for the local newspaper for a number of years, promoting prep sports at a high level for the schools on the Western Slope.
For a man who never wrestled in his life, George Colbert represented the sport with grace and dignity. Colbert passed away Dec. 20, 1999, but the Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania's native's contributions as an official and high school athletic director will not be forgotten. Nor will those who knew him best forget the ever-present toothpick in his mouth. As an official there are few major tournaments in the state he did not work over his 25 years slapping the mats at all levels. This included 20 straight state tournaments. After he retired as an official, he served as a regional and district tournament director for several years. He was also hired by the Colorado High School Activities Association as the liaison for the state tournament. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Colorado Wrestling Association. He served as vice president for three years and one as president. His awards for his service to the sport are numerous. He was a lifetime honorary member of the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association and recognized by several of the state's high school leagues for his service to wrestling. He was inducted into the Jefferson County League Hall of Fame. The Green Mountain tournament is now named in his honor.
Carl Cox, a graduate of Grand Junction High School and Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) passed away April 11, 1969 of a heart attack. He earned his BS degree in only three years and went on to get his MA at Western State. He started the wrestling program at Palisade High School in 1946, but moved over to Grand Junction in 1948 as an assistant. He became the head coach for the Tigers from 1954-1969, was the head football coach from 1962-1967 and also coached track. While at Grand Junction his wrestling teams compiled a record of 177-29-2 in dual meets. His Tigers won five state team titles; (1958, '63, '65, '67 and '68), 24 of his wrestlers were state champions, three of which were voted the state tournament's Outstanding Wrestler and he also coached three, three-time champions. Dale Stryker was the state's second, four-time champion. His baseball team won the 1954 state title and his track team was the 1957 state champion. After he graduated from Grand Junction in 1940, he was in the Navy four years. While in the Navy, he was a national AAU champion in 1943-44. He was a varsity wrestler and football player at Colorado A&M earning his degrees in Social Science and Physical Education.
After ten years as a wrestler and ten years as a coach, Dan began his officiating career in Oregon, working from 1982-84, including the 1984 Oregon State Wrestling Tournament. He then moved to Colorado and spent 18 more years as an official in CWOA, retiring from active service in 2002. During his 20 years Dan worked eleven state tournaments and was selected to call the finals nine times. He also worked 14 regional tournaments and many prestigious regular season tourneys, including the Grand Junction Central Warrior Classic (9 years) and the Arvada West Invitational (8 years).
Dan served as CWOA Area I Director from 1997 to 2004 and on the CWOA Executive Committee from 2003 to the present. During these years he presented at numerous novice clinics and veteran officials workshops on the subjects of mechanics, effective communication, and professionalism. He presented to the state tournament officials crew in 2006 on the "Role of an Official." He has also served as a mentor to younger officials in the CWOA Mentor Program and has evaluated officials at the state tourney for many years since retiring from active officiating. Since his selection to Honorary Lifetime Membership in 2009, Dan been an officials evaluator under the CWOA Referee Enhancement Program (2014-2018) and, in 2018, became the CWOA Liaison to CHSAA for the Colorado State Wrestling Tournament.
Dan revised and updated the CWOA Constitution, By-Laws, and Operating Procedures in 2003, 2010, and again in 2016. He continues to serve the CWOA Executive Committee as a non-voting ex-officio member, helping guide the Association with personnel matters and organizational development.
Mike Daniels spent much of his early lifetime on the Resilite surfaces across the state of Colorado as a competitor, coach and C.W.O.A. referee. Mike provided 15 years of solid leadership for the CWOA on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains. He has officiated 14 regional tournaments and ten state championship tournaments.
Mike served twelve 12 years as the Area VI director for the CWOA and presented rules clinics throughout much of western Colorado. He recruited and trained several officials who are now appearing regularly in postseason tournaments. Mike spearheaded an evaluation process for Area VI referees and has served as a guest instructor at various clinics geared for novice referees after his retirement from the mat.
Now Mike is an established successful insurance executive in the Grand Junction area. He is married to his wife Kathy and they have two sons.
Doug Deyo lived in Craig, CO. He certified as a wrestling referee and also coached the sport for a short while. He worked multiple state tournaments at all divisions. He was appointed the first Area Director for Area 8. He also was a highly respected football official. He retired from the mats in 1994. He then served the next ten years as the CHSAA liaison of officials for the State tournament.
J.R. Dumler's career in wrestling started in the neighboring state of Kansas as a coach and then as a wrestling official, that was many moons ago. He joined the Colroado Wrestling Officials Association in the 1985-1986 season. He was a perennial post-season official in Kansas and Colorado during his career.
He continued his career as an official in Colorado for the next 31 years. During that stretch, he continued to travel to Kansas to perform as an official and mentor for their officials. J.R. was a mentor to many Colorado officials. J.R. gave back to CWOA in many ways, he served as an Area 2 Director for three years. J.R. always had the uncanny ability to score 100% on the wrestling rules test about every year he was a member of CWOA. He had an uncanny ability to provide a rule chapter and section, from memory, to a coach or official if the situation required.
J.R. worked for over 31 years to make sure that he and CWOA were the best they could be.
Alvis Fetter wrestled for Ed Whalley at Grand Junction High School and became a state champion. He joined the armed services right after graduation near the close of World War II and served for two years. He wrestled at both Northeastern Junior College and Western State College. Al also spent his whole career in public education teaching P.E. and biology. He also coached football, wrestling and track before making the move to administration. Al was an avid wrestling fan. He worked five state tournaments and several district events.
Dave Frisch has officiated at every level of wrestling in his 26 years on the mats. As a college wrestler and a team captain, he qualified for the National Junior College wrestling championships twice and the NCAA II wrestling championships twice. His high school and college officiating career began in 1976. He retired from high school officiating in 2002 after officiating at state tournaments in Colorado and Minnesota. His collegiate officiating career continues at all levels of competition; dual meets, local and national tournaments. His history of college officiating includes; 19 NCAA Division I National Championships, 9 NCAA Division II National Championships, 8 NCAA Division I National Team Dual Championships, 8 NJCAA Junior College National Championships and 1 NAIA National Championship. He has been voted the Number one NCAA official several times. In addition, he has officiated at 26 NCAA Division I conference tournaments including the Big 12, Big 10, Pac 10 and WAC (Western Athletic Conference). In NCAA Division II, Frisch has officiated in conference tournaments for the NCC, RMAC and the NIC. Frisch has been a member of the NWOA, CWOA, and PPWOA and served as officer and clinician for these associations. Dave lives in Colorado Springs. With his wife Rebecca and is active in his church youth program.
Bernard Goss, who lives in Grand Junction, has been a high school and college wrestling official for 37 years. He graduated from Fruita High School, and then attained his Bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado and Masters from Western State. Goss, who has officiated at all levels of wrestling, has worked 35 state high school tournaments - 25 consecutive - and has been the crew chief for the Colorado High School Activities Association championships since 1995. Goss has held all offices within the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association and has been the group's president twice. He has worked five Colorado All-state Dual meets, two Japan-US duals and seven Rocky Mountain Athletic Association tournaments and has served as a member of the National Federation of High Schools rules interpreters committee. He has been the CHSAA rules interpreter since 1990. Goss, a retired Western Slope educator, received the National Distinguished Officials award from the National Federation in 1995.
John W. Hancock produced a wrestling legacy that spanned 4 decades and continues to be felt within and beyond Colorado. He will be forever known as the "father of Colorado high school wrestling" for establishing the Colorado State high school tournament in 1936. After graduating from Iowa University where he excelled as a scholar-athlete, Hancock joined the Colorado State Teaching College staff, teaching and coaching football, track and establishing the wrestling program. After coaching stints at Mississippi State and Marquette, he returned to Greeley in 1932 to remain until his retirement in 1966. He coached football at the University of Northern Colorado for 21 years and track for 30 years, while serving as athletic director for 34 years. In addition to being inducted into numerous state and national Halls of Fame, the Butler-Hancock gymnasium at the University of Northern Colorado was named in honor of John W. Hancock and Pete Butler, former UNC baseball coach.
Steve Hoemann joined CWOA in 1973 while still serving as the Head Coach at Bear Creek High School. After a one year coaching/teaching stint in Iowa, Steve returned to Colorado and the CWOA.
He served as Executive Secretary/Treasurer for two years, returned to coach Chatfield High School for four years, and in 1989 became a full time official. He served as Vice President and then President of CWOA in the early 90's.
Steve officiated 10 straight state championship finals and was selected as the NFIOA Official of the Year in 1997. He retired from active officiating in 1998, served as an evaluator for State Officials, and eventually became the Liasion between CWOA state officials and CHSAA until his retirement from active participation in 2018.
Daryn G. Klassen, 43, of Brighton and formerly of Loveland died March 22, 2003, in Brighton. He was born Sept. 17, 1959, in Great Falls, Montana. He graduated from Thompson Valley High School in 1977. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Colorado State University in 1988.
His greatest love as a child was the Boy Scouts. He achieved Eagle Scout in 1976 and earned the Order of the Arrow and its Brotherhood. He was a Scoutmaster for many years while his son was in Scouts in Greeley. He also wrestled in high school, and this led to a membership in the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association. He was a former president and received an honorary lifetime membership award, awarded to only 30 people in Colorado.
At the age of 15, he received his Federal Communications Commission license and worked for his parents at KLOV Radio. He was responsible for broadcasting the events of the Big Thompson flood in 1976.
He was a past president of Delta Epsilon, collegiate DECA, and supported the Brighton DECA. He was instrumental in starting a Better Business Group for Radio Shack franchise ownership in Colorado and New Mexico. He was a member of Zion Congregational Church.
Joe Klune Is recognized for his years of dedication to the development of leadership and citizenship in young people through the sport of wrestling. Coached High School Wrestling 29 Years - Officiated College and High School Wrestling 33 Years - Overall Coaching Record is 259-60-2. Joseph R. Klune began his coaching career in 1947, while a student at College High Training School in Greeley. As a Marine Corps Reserve Officer he was recalled to service in 1948, and coached the Marine Wrestling and Boxing teams. But, it was in 1952 when he returned to the Denver Public School system, that he began a 29 year high school coaching career. His wrestling teams won nine City Wrestling Championships. In 1964, his team placed 2nd in the state tournament. Many of his wrestlers went on to become NCAA All Americans. Six of his former wrestlers are presently coaching high school wrestling and three are now college coaches, Klune also officiated high school and college wrestling for 33 years. He hosted four Japan versus Colorado exchange matches, and in 1968, took a Colorado High School All-Star Wrestling Team to Japan. He was previously inducted into the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado Football Officials Association, the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association, the CHSCA Coaches, and the Denver Public Schools coaches Hall of Fame. In 1982, he was selected as the District 6 Coach of the Year. Coach Klune has served as a role model to young people throughout his career and he has given a lifetime of service to the youth of America through the sport of wrestling.
Here is a gentleman with a long involvement in wrestling. Ben certainly was successful on both sides of the mat in coaching and officiating. Ben graduated from Greeley High School in 1944. He was a two time State placer at the Colorado State Wrestling Tournament. He wrestled for Colorado Teachers College, (University of Northern Colorado) 1947-50. Ben Knaub wrestled in the NCAA tournament in 1949 (as a quarter finalist) and in 1950 (semi-finalist). He began coaching at Sterling High School in 1951 and through 1954 his teams won two conference titles. Ben became a wrestling official in 1955, after moving to the Denver Public School system, where he completed his teaching career. He officiated for eleven years at the high school and college levels. Ben officiated several Colorado State Tournaments. Mr. Knaub was selected to officiate in three NCAA Wrestling National Tournaments. There he was able to show his incredible officiating skills between 1954-1966. Those officiating skills were sought at the highest levels of the sport. "I remember watching my dad referee the college match when UNC upset Oklahoma State. I even recall watching him on Wide World of Sports, refereeing Individual NCAA finals Matches." said son Rob. The real impact Coach Knaub had on wrestling was at John F. Kennedy (JFK) High School from 1966 to 1986, where he was hired as JFK's first wrestling coach. Starting from scratch, he built the wrestling program into a conference power house. In just four years, JFK won their first conference championship in 1970. Ben's teams went on to win 14 championships in 15 years and recorded a conference dual meet streak of 155 wins. In 20 years of coaching he strongly impacted hundreds of young men with his positive coaching style along with his high moral and ethical standards.
Stan Lampe spent one year at Paonia High School before moving to Ft. Morgan High School to begin a 27-year career as head wrestling coach (1959-1986). His teams produced dual meet record of 275-59-5, which included 7 undefeated seasons and 91 consecutive dual meet wins. His teams also accounted for 25 tournament wins, 15 District/Regional championships, 16 Norther n Conference championships and 7 state championship titles including 5 consecutive titles (1969-73). He coached 16 individual state champions. In addition to the accomplishments of his teams, Lampe started the first youth wrestling program in Ft. Morgan and was involved with summer and exchange programs. He was voted Coach of the Year at state, regional and national levels and has served on various wrestling associations and committees. Stan was involved in refereeing for 26 years and was President of the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association. He served as athletic director of Ft. Morgan High School for 19 years.
Tim Leon began his wrestling experience at the age of eight years old, which continued through his high school years. Tim wanted to give back to the sport of wrestling and he made the decision to become a wrestling official. He officiated in Area 6 for 30 years.
During these years, he served as an Assistant Area Director, officiated 20 Regional tournaments, and 15 State tournaments. For three years, he officiated at Colorado Mesa University when it was a state college with a new wrestling program.
Tim is still involved with wrestling. He helps coach a youth club wrestling team program in Grand Junction. His son is wrestling for this team.
Tim works for the District 51 School system. He is married with four children and he is loving life!
I started officiating wrestling in 1977, primarily as a "scab" referee for local Northern Colorado junior high schools and sub-varsity school meets. After a year or two, I officially joined the CWOA/NFIOA and registered as a certified wrestling referee in the state of Colorado. I was employed as a science teacher and coach in the Poudre School District, so it did not take long for me to obtain lots of wrestling refereeing experience locally, in the Thompson School District, and throughout the Northern PlainsLeague, the Longs Peak League, and the Northern League.
I was fortunate to make may friendships with many outstanding referee colleagues,such gentlemen as Bill Ernest, Ken Taylor, Grant Kusuno, Gary Sandau, Steve Gabel, Art Martinez, John Thompson, Steve Hoemann, Bill Isernhagen, Scott Tarbox, Ben Miller, and many others. I was fortunate to have refereed wrestling for such reputable high school wrestling coaches as Stan Lampe, Jim Sanford, Ken Taylor, Arnold Torgerson, Dan Jurgensen, Charlie White, Mike Pallotto, Tom Cortese, Jim Martinez, Rich Urano, and so many others that I cannot recall all their names.
In 1977, I was very active in officiating both Freestyle and Greco-roman wrestling within the United States Wrestling Federation, as well as with the Amateur Athletic Union. I was able to become both bronze and silver referee certified in international wrestling. These experiences accelerated the quality of my professional refereeing because I was exposed to many of the most accomplished wrestling referees in the United States and internationally, specifically one referee Spike Israel, who had been selected to referee the Iowa University Hawkeyes versus Oklahoma State University Cowboys wrestling match annually for many years. He was instrumental in my understanding of officiating high pressure matches and specifically the appropriate calling of "stalling" by the rulebook.
With these experiences, I was fortunate to referee many great tournaments in Colorado and elsewhere. For many years, I refereed the Rough Rider Classic Tournament at Roosevelt High School, Northern Plains League Tournament, the Longs Peak League Tournament, the Northern League Tournament and the Colorado State Wrestling Tournament Championships at the following venues: the Denver Auditorium Arena, the Denver Coliseum, and the McNichols Sports Arena. In addition, I refereed the USWF National Juniors Championships at Iowa City, Iowa in 1977. I was the mat referee (whistle) for the Kenny Monday versus Nate Carr junior freestyle wrestling championship match between those two young titans from Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. That was an unbelievable thrill, in front of a packed Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the University of Iowa campus.
I am forever grateful to the CWOA and all the wrestling coaches, athletic directors, CHSAA officials, and wrestlers, that I was able to meet throughout my time as a proud Colorado Wrestling referee. I have so many great memories of the matches I refereed at State and otherwise. Selected as an Honorary Lifetime Member in 2005.
Art Martinez is being inducted into the Hall of Fame as a wrestling official. He has been a long time high school and college wrestling official, working in the sport since he graduated from Pueblo County High School. He has officiated in 45 Colorado High School Wrestling Championship tournaments as well as the Division II National Finals on several occasions and has a total of 25 years in the college ranks. He has served as the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association Area 3 Director for over 30 years and is now a lifetime member of the organization. Besides being involved in wrestling and as a Special Olympics volunteer, he has been a baseball umpire for 20 years. Art was also a football official for 30 years, which has included three, state championship games. He was inducted into the Pueblo Greater Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and inducted into the Mexican/American Sports Hall of Fame at the ninth annual Southern Colorado Sports Banquet in 1990. It's also interesting to note that he is a top notch softball player in Colorado having won many awards. One was the prestigious International Softball Congress State Tournament MVP in 1983. Due to an injury, Art had to end his officiating career. He is a retired CF & I Steelworker and is a presently a security guard at Corwin Middle School. Art, also a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles since 1999, currently works as a home care provider for developmentally disabled individuals. He also was commended by the Pueblo Police Department for helping to rescue two drowning boys from Runyon Lake, April 20, 1985.
When it comes to his philosophy on helping the sport of wrestling, John "Skip" McClure's approach is a simple one:
"Whatever needs to be done."
That dedication to the sport over an officiating career that has spanned nearly 50 years is one very big reason McClure is being honored with a Lifetime Service to Wrestling award.
"I've always been in it for the sport and trying to help in any way I could," McClure said. "My goal was always to just do whatever needs to be done. When we get a new (Colorado Wrestling Officials Association) president, I always tell them, 'I'll help do whatever I can to help.' I kind of like to do stuff and not get attention for what I do."
McClure has been very good at doing those things that have helped the sport: officiating, serving with the CWOA, and helping young officials get their start. He first began calling matches in Colorado in 1970 and has been on the business end of a whistle ever since.
"The thing that always attracted me to wrestling was the friendship around the sport," he said. "Back when I started, when we'd finish a tournament, we'd go have some dinner and talk about it. We could always sit down and talk about the situations we'd had, get better and be with friends at the same time."
A 1965 graduate of Center High School, McClure served five years in the Air Force. He first began officiating wrestling in Puerto Rico, then after a stint in Vietnam, he returned to the San Luis Valley and began officiating. He and his wife, Susan, still live in Center.
He soon became involved in the CWOA, serving as vice president and president. He also worked as an area director for 20 years, was an assistant assignor of officials, and also served on the committee to help rewrite the CWOA bylaws.
On the mat, he worked all levels of district and regional tournaments, and also worked 13 state tournaments.
At one point in his career, he considered retiring, and stepped away - only to return a year later. That was 24 years ago, and he's still calling matches near his home.
"The area doesn't always have enough officials," he said. "You help wherever they need you."
McClure's officiating style has always been to make sure the match is determined by the wrestlers.
"You have to let the wrestlers decide it," McClure said. "That's the most important thing. You can't make a call where the wrong person wins the match. You never want that to happen."
Now, he takes pride in watching younger officials mature and knowing he's had a hand in the process.
"I stay involved because when I first started officiating, everything we learned, we had to learn on our own," he said. "As we moved along, then there were officials to help other officials and help them learn. It's been good to see how much we've changed and how everybody works together to make better officials."
Herschiel "Hersch" McGraw
Herschiel "Hersch" McGraw began his athletic career in Paonia, lettering in football, baseball and boxing. Hersch then attended Colorado A&M and played varsity football for one season in 1942. He then joined the US Army to serve during World War II.
On June 6, 1944, Hersch landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. Later he joined Patton's Third Army and was awarded the Bronze Star for gallantry. Unfortunately, Hersch had to be discharged from the Army after having his right leg amputated after stepping on a landmine. He then returned to Colorado A&M.
Hersch was the football the team manager and later became president of the "A" club for lettermen in 1947. Hersch was named in "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities". Hersch graduated in 1948 and began a career that would see him in the field of athletics for many years to come.
Hersch coached athletics at Fort Morgan High School soon after earning his degree from Colorado A&M and later coached wrestling and managed athletics at the Colorado School of Mines. In 1954 he returned to Colorado A&M as the business manager of athletics and in 1956 was an assistant coach of freshman football for the Rams. He later worked as the coordinator of the building program on the growing Colorado State University campus and was instrumental in the construction of both Moby Arena and Hughes Stadium.
After leaving CSU, Hersh went on to found McGraw and Company, a land-planning and development firm that later consulted for the construction on the Auraria Campus and several other colleges in Colorado. Hersh McGraw died on Oct. 24, 1996 at the age of 71 in Fort Collins.
Ray McGuire's career in officiating spanned 36 years and consisted of kid's tournaments, junior high school, high school, and college events. He was a state champion for school, and college events. He was a state champion for Denver North High School and later he was crowned "Mr. Colorado" as a physique competitor. He officiated over 10 Colorado State High School championship tournaments as well as Big 8 (now Big 12) tournaments in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma and Ames, Iowa. McGuire was the first person in Colorado to officiate at 70 years of age and officiated until one month before his death. He refused to read the newspapers and know who was "supposed to win" in order to maintain his objectivity. He constantly encouraged young wrestlers to continue to strive to improve and challenge themselves. McGuire often officiated for private schools that were struggling financially and donated his pay to help the wrestling program. He believed in wrestling's ability to teach personal responsibility, good sportsmanship and giving "one last effort after you've given all you've got."
Richard (Dick) McPeek attended Grand Junction High School and wrestled at 95, 105, and 112 lbs. He also wrestled in college. He was a "lifer" in public education - teaching P.E. while serving as an assistant coach in football and wrestling. He later became the head coach for the Tigers. Dick worked nine state tournaments. He recruited several good referees on the Western Slope. He passed along his experiences by running clinics for referees.
Darrell Meisenheimer was born and reared in southern Kansas. He then attended Oklahoma State University on a football scholarship. Having never competed in wrestling, he learned to officiate on the fly. He was one of the original organizers of the CWOA and served as the Area 6 Director from 1955 to 1973. He retired from the mat in 1975. Darrell worked several district and regional tournaments on the Western Slope. He also was a mainstay at the state tournament for over 20 years. He worked in education all of his life starting as a traveling P.E. teacher for elementary kids and progressed into administration. He never served as an officer with the CWOA.
Even after Ben Miller's competitive wrestling career ended, his urge to be on the mat didn't go away. He found officiating to be the perfect way to continue his association with the sport, leading to a career that made him one of Colorado's most-recognized officials. Before Miller finally hung up his whistle, he had officiated 16 Colorado high school state championships, 11 NCAA Division II national championships and 9 NCAA Division I championships, as well as a long list of NCAA regionals and conference tournaments, national duals and other national tournaments. "I just fell in love with it," Miller said. "I enjoyed being a successful official. You are still involved with the sport and in a way you have to compete with other officials as you move up the ladder. I liked the adrenaline; I liked making the tough call and selling the call. It was even more fun at the college level. I didn't mind the stress or conflict - that was part of the battle." Miller grew up in Colorado and wrestled at Valley High School before walking on at the University of Wyoming for a year. Thanks to some guidance from Gary Sandau (a 2011 Colorado Chapter HOF honoree), he became involved with officiating and made his Colorado state tournament debut in 1988, the first of 16 straight. He was named the state's official of the year in 2003 and 2006, and served as president of the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association from 2003-2006. Ben also branched out to calling college matches, calling NCAA Division I and Division II championships, as well as regional and conference championships. No matter the level, however, Miller's philosophy was always the same. "I understood the passion of coaches and what their job was," Miller said. "I didn't react to coaches being upset. I knew what they were trying to do. I tried to let them talk and let them have their say. They're doing their job and we're doing our job. They're doing everything they can do for their wrestler and we're trying to be as fair as possible. We have to make the call and you have to have the confidence that you made the right call." The vast majority of Miller's calls were obviously right, as he was chosen to return to major tournaments year after year. He never thought his career would lead to Hall of Fame recognition. "When I got the call I was completely blown away," he said. "It's nice to be recognized for the work that we put in. You think about traveling all the miles, late nights... Our great sport doesn't get enough recognition and it's humbling and an honor to be included with all the people who have been honored."
A pioneer in the early years of Colorado wrestling, Burwell Oscar Moles passed away in 1968 at the age of 71, leaving an impressive legacy. Known as "B.O.", he is one only a handful of coaches who not only won state titles while coaching wrestling, but basketball as well. A native of Clarksburg, Missouri, he began his coaching career in 1917 at Norbonne High School in Missouri. He moved to Denver in 1924 and coached wrestling, baseball and basketball within the Denver Prep League until he retired in 1954. He began at South High School and moved to North in 1933. His teams at North won 15 league titles as well as nine state championships, including six in a row from 1944-1949. He coached 39 individual champions, tied for No. 1 on the state's coaching list with one of his former wrestlers, and Hall of Fame member, Bob Smith of Wray. He had 103 of his wrestlers place in the state tournament. Six of his wrestlers won titles in 1946 as well as having a state record 11 place winners from his 1945 state champions. His teams placed among the top 10 at state, 15 times.
Jerry is the first person to tell you that he never wrestled a match in his life. But, the man has probably been on the mat more than a majority of inductees into the Hall. Jerry graduated from Godwin Heights High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1955. During this time he was a state champion Golden Gloves boxer. As an official, he has always been ranked among the nation's finest and just completed his 37th year slapping the mats in 2012. His awards and honors through his years as an official have been numerous. He has given much of his life to the sport of wrestling and currently serves as the Treasurer of the NWHOF C/C. He has served as the V/P and President of the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association. He also served five years with the CWOA as their Executive Secretary. He has officiated State Tournaments in four different states at least twice in each. He was privileged to officiate the National High School Senior Championship for 15 years as well as being a Colorado State Tournament official for 20 years. He has officiated numerous College, and International Style tournaments, both at a National or World Championship levels. These included the Olympic Trials, Greco Roman World Championships, the World Cup Championships, and the Junior World Championships. Jerry is extremely proud of the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association. He and others have had the opportunity to officiate all over the country, at the top venues and our officials have ranked as the very best in all tournaments in which they have used an evaluation process.
Frank John Morelli II was born in 1920 and passed away March 21, 2008. Morelli was chairman of Nona Morelli, a NASDAQ traded public company, one of the owners of Morellis award-winning Restaurant, and guidance director, teacher and coach at Florence High School and President of Southern Colorado Wrestling Officials and one of the pioneers of Little League Baseball in Florence.
Frank coached football, wrestling, baseball and basketball. He was the head coach of two state runner-up baseball teams at Florence High School, coached the first two state champions in wrestling and was coach on the first state championship in football in 1957. Morelli coached several league champions in baseball, wrestling, and football and 90 percent of his teams competed in state playoffs.
Morelli was an active referee for over 40 years. He officiated football, baseball, and wrestling at the college level for a number of years. Frank officiated football, baseball, wrestling, and basketball at the high school and junior high level for most of his career.
Frank was a two time first-team all-state running back for Florence High School, once scoring seven touchdowns in a game. He was all-state in baseball and played at the college level for Colorado State University at Fort Collins and later played Triple A baseball.
Morelli served for the United States Navy in World War II and was an honorably discharged veteran.
Stan Nelson officiated in Area 4. He officiated 19 Regional and 12 State tournaments. He served as the Area Director for Area 4. Additionally, he served on the CWOA Executive Committee and is a former President of the Association.
Paolucci, a retired educator of 47 years, has devoted countless hours to the community through his involvement with the school district and other organizations.
Paolucci, originally from Trinidad, came to La Junta in 1962 when he accepted a teaching position.
From 1962 to 1997 he worked in different capacities with the school district - teacher, assistant principal and principal at La Junta Middle School and athletic director at La Junta High School.
He has officiated football and wrestling and has served as the Colorado Wrestling Officials area director since 1967.
He has served as one of three tournament directors for the State Wrestling Tournament since 1976 and he was the chairman of the state wrestling committee.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Colorado High School Activities Association in 2000.
He has been a member of the La Junta Catholic parish for 46 years and has volunteered in many capacities including serving with the St. Patrick's dinner auction the past nine years.
Paolucci also has been a member of the local Elks chapter for 48 years and has served on and chaired the feed committee, as well as leading countless benefit spaghetti dinners.
Most recently, Paolucci spearheaded a bond issue, which passed last November, that will allow for the construction of a multipurpose field, track and physical education complex to replace the 70-year-old Tiger Field.
Paolucci also has served as president of the local Babe Ruth Baseball organization and on the La Junta Recreation Board.
He has worked on the town's annual track meet, the Tiger Relays, since 1962. He has continued as meet director for that event as well as for events he has originated, including the Lady Tiger Track meet and the La Junta Invitational Wrestling Tournament.
Albert L. "Bo" Place passed away in 1969 from kidney disease at 57, but he will always be remembered as one of the state's pioneers in wrestling. A graduate of Denver South and the University of Denver, he coached, taught and was an administrator in the Denver Public School system for 33 years. There was not a state high school tournament when Place wrestled, but he became a three-time Rocky Mountain Conference Champion at Denver. The sport then, was still considered minor and received little attention. He became Denver West's coach in 1933 and won the school's first state title in 1943. That same year, he enlisted in the Navy. While in the service, he coached the 10- man naval base team at Corpus Christi to second place in the National AAU Tournament. He returned to DPS in 1946 as an administrator and wrestling official. Through his career, Place officiated many high school and college tournaments as well as the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1948 and held official's clinics throughout the state. In 1966 he received the National American Educator Award from the National Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and in 2000 was inducted in the University of Denver's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Dan Pohja has dedicated 31 years of his life as a top level wrestling official. Dan has not only spent time on the mat as an official but has also served as the Area IV Regional Director for more than a decade and has also served as the State of Colorado's Wrestling Association President. Thank you for your years of commitment, service and leadership to the Pikes Peak Wrestling Officials' Association and the Colorado Wrestling Officials' Association. Dan's officiating summary: 31 years as a wrestling official, 28 years on the mat, 27 high school regional tournaments, 20 high school state tournaments, 10 years as a NCAA official, 1 NCAA DII national tournament, and 1 NJCAA national tournament.
A 1962 graduate of Adams State, Powell initiated the Grizzlies (then Indians) wrestling program in the early 1960s. He coached nine years, highlighted by back-to-back NAIA national titles in 1968 and 1969. Both of those teams are in the RMAC Hall of Fame.
Powell was named National Coach of the Year and posted a 72-36-1 (.665) dual meet record while coaching six national champion wrestlers and 35 All-Americans. His teams won four consecutive regional championships from 1965-1968 and RMAC titles in 1967 and 1968.
In 1967, led by national champions Mike Stanley and Dominick Carollo the Indians finished tied for 15th as a team at the Division I tournament and tied for 17th in 1968.
Adams State hosted the 1968 NAIA national championships at Plachy Hall in Alamosa, thanks in large part to Coach Powell.
Frank was inducted into the RMAC Hall of Fame in 2013. He is also in the NAIA Wrestling Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Adams State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001.
Powell went on to become head wrestling coach and Athletic Director at Metro State from 1972-1977.
Brett Purdom was born and raised in Selah, Washington, attended Washington State, after graduation he relocated to Colorado where he enrolled at the University of Colorado. He earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy; he also spent time as a professor at the University of Denver.
Brett is married to Kelly, has two children, Caroline and Cole Joseph, they are 7 and 4 years old. He and his family reside in the Washington Park Area.
Brett has been a member of CWOA since 1990, during which he was also an Area One Director for several years. He officiated at a very high level, working high school and college matches in Colorado and many states throughout the USA. When he walked away from an event he was always perceived as one of the best officials at that particular competition. He also helped CWOA produce a short instructional video on the art of "Two Man Mechanics".
His people skills are second to none; he would attend a competition unknown and leave the mats being able to run for mayor of that community. Brett has the traits as an friend, official, co-worker that always had your back. If you had to go to war you would want Brett with you, he would never leave you at the front. He was an official and a friend for all of the right reasons.
William Reader was the seventh CHSAA Commissioner starting in 2002. Mr. Reader served with CHSAA from1988 as an Assistant Commissioner, Associate Commissioner and then Commissioner over his career.
Reader received a bachelor's degree from Fort Lewis College where he also played football. He earned his master's degree in educational administration from Colorado State University in 1977 and completed his doctorate in education at the University of Colorado in 1987.
Prior to joining the CHSAA, Reader served two years as athletic director and assistantprincipal at Englewood High School. He also served eight years as an administrator at Glenwood Springs High School, including five years as principal. Following graduation from college, Reader taught and coached at Delta High School where he served as an assistant coach in the Panthers' football and basketball programs and served as the school's head track coach.
Gary Sandau, who is currently the Fire Chief at the Platteville Gilcrest Fire Protection District, began his career in wrestling in 1961, wrestled at Valley High School and at Colorado State College (now UNC). His activity as a wrestler came to end in 1967 due to a severely damaged knee. He became an official in 1968 and his career has been quite rewarding as a member of the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association. He has officiated in 25 state tournaments within each of the states classifications, including selection as a state championship night official 19 of those years. He has also been selected to evaluate officials in several NCAA tournaments. Since retiring as an active official, he has worked as a timer and scorer for several tournaments including league, region and the Colorado state wrestling tournament. He has not missed a state wrestling tournament in Colorado since 1972. He has served as the Wrestling Officials Commissioner for three leagues, was the President of the CWOA, has been a member of the CWOA Executive Committee for six years and has been presented with several awards by the state's league and coaching associations.
C.A. "Barney" Sanders
C.A. Sanders, one of the state's finest officials, is being inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. He passed away December 9, 2008 in Fort Morgan, where he resided for several years. He had been notified he was an inductee prior to his passing. He graduated from Casper (Wyo.) High School in 1939 and started college at the University of Colorado. World War II interrupted his term in school and he served in the U.S. Navy as a Medical Corpsman from 1941-1945. He continued at the University of Colorado, graduating in 1948. Sanders was a wrestling official for 25 years and officiated in 18-consecutive state tournaments. He also officiated in the Division II National Tournaments and was an official for three Oklahoma-Oklahoma State dual meets. He coached at Del Norte and Fort Morgan High Schools, coaching two state champions, and also helping to start wrestling programs at five schools. He was an announcer for Fort Morgan matches for 20 years and in the summer served as a Forest Ranger at Yellowstone National Park for 16 years. He was a member of the Elks Lodge and attained all positions and degrees in the Masonic Lodge.
Robert C. "Bob" Smith began his coaching career in 1958 at Wray High School. During his 33-year tenure, Smith established a wrestling dynasty in the small Colorado town. His teams compiled a 337-73-9 dual meet record and captured 10 Colorado State Team Championships and 7 runner-up finishes. Smith coached a total of 139 place winners in the state wrestling tournament in his career at Wray High School. In 1983 he became the Director of Athletics at Wray High School. Bob also started a youth wrestling program in Wray in 1959. He was a referee for 35 years and officiated in two NAIA National Tournaments. After his retirement in 1991, Smith pursued a career as a collegiate wrestling coach at Ft. Hays State University in Hays, Kansas and produced 13 All-Americans. Smith's activities and honors beyond coaching include national a n d state honors as Coach of the Year, induction into several Hall of Fame and work with CHSAA.
Don Sondgeroth, recognized for several years as one of the country's top wrestling officials, slapped the mats for 38 years. He was an outstanding referee-judge at all levels from youth to international and all styles and one of the best educators in the international styles. Among his many honors, he was named the Official of the Year by USA Wrestling in 1980, USA Man of the Year in 1983 and received the 1994 Lifetime Achievement Award from USA Wrestling. The Aurora resident, now retired, made a monumental contribution to wrestling during his tenure as the US WO A president in the early 1980s when he successfully merged rival factions into on national organization after the legal settlement of the long AAU-USWF struggle. He was an official in 36 national tournaments, 16 as the head official. He was the head official at the 1984 Olympic Trials and participated in three Olympic Festivals. He also was the state director of Freestyle Officials. He and his wife, LaDella, live in Aurora, Colorado.
Jon graduated from Sherman County Community High School in Kansas in 1960 after having begun his wrestling career in the fourth grade. He graduated from the University of Kansas in in 1964 then would later obtain his Master's Degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1970. Jon was a Big 8 Champion at Kansas in 1963 and an honorable mention All-American in 1964. He also participated in the 1964 Olympic Trials in Freestyle. Then it was on to coaching at Mapleton High School in Colorado (1964-1969), the University of Northern Colorado (1969-1970), Montrose High School (1970-1978) and Boulder High (2000). As a coach, Jon led Montrose to state titles in 1975 and 1978 as well as three state runner-up finishes. He coached 12 state champions and several others who went on to have outstanding careers in wrestling as officials or coaches. Jon went on to become a noted wrestling official beginning in 1977 even while coaching at Montrose, and continuing through 2009. He has officiated Colorado State Tournaments in all age groups for 25 years. Jon continues to assist and work with several Colorado wrestling tournaments and clinics. He was named the state wrestling Official of the Year in 2009, the AAU Man of the Year in 1977, named the Colorado Coach of the Year four times, coached one of the Colorado teams which toured Japan in 1977 and has served as the vice-President and President of the Colorado Wrestling Coaches Association. Jon has also been involved in numerous camps, clinics and tournaments within all classifications of wrestling.
Mike Van Dahm
Mike Van Dahm graduated from Grand Junction High School in 1965 and was a state champion at 126 pounds that year. In college he wrestled for Western State College. Received his teaching credentials and returned to the Grand Junction area. He was hired as an assistant wrestling coach at Palisade High School and taught P. E. for three years; transferred to Grand Junction High School in the same capacity. He was the Grand Junction High School head coach for three seasons. At that time he certified with the CWOA and was on the mat as an active official for about 19 years while teaching P.E. at one of the local middle schools. Mike worked 14 state tournaments and 20+ regionals /districts events at the 4A and 5A levels. He also worked several invitational high school tournaments in Wyoming and some college events for the RMAC. He elected to retire in 1989 or 1990 from officiating.
He now lives in Fruita, CO and piddles with restoring turn of the century houses, 'honey dos', fishes and downs a few brews as time allows!
Julius "Hans" Wagner excelled not only as an outstanding wrestler at Westcliffe, but as an outstanding football and track athlete. He went on to excel in wrestling and track at Colorado A&M, now Colorado State University, earning all-conference honors in each sport. He was a two-time league champion in wrestling with the Rams. While competing in track at A&M, he set the conference record in the shot put. He also earned all-league honors in his football days playing at tackle. Yet, his versatility allowed him to play just about every position on the team including quarterback. Hans was the head wrestling coach with the Colorado Aggies and led his team to 23 league championships during his tenure from 1927 to 1955. The Rams were 100-43-3 in duals under his tenure. They finished fourth in the NCAA tournament in 1940, the highest finish for a CSU wrestling team. His teams also tied for two league titles and he also served as an assistant football and track coach for the Rams. Hans is a charter member of the CSU Hall of Fame, honored in the Helms Amateur Hall of Fame for Wrestling, served as President of the American Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association in 1950 and was a member of the NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee. Hans became the Director of Construction at CSU upon his retirement in wrestling. His life ended August 30, 1960 when he was killed in an automobile accident in Pinedale, Wyoming.
Ed Whalley was the Grand Junction High School's boxing and wrestling coach in 1935. He was instrumental in getting CHSAA to sponsor and sanction wrestling as a competitive sport. He taught chemistry and physics for many years at the high school level. Although he was never certified as a wrestling official, CWOA inducted as a Honorary Lifetime Member for the many things he did to promote wrestling on the Western Slope and the state behind the scenes. He helped set up and finance the exchange program with Japan. He designed the first state tournament in Colorado. The only matches he ever worked was team wrestle-offs!
Rocky Wiedeman said he had one goal as an official: "I always said if I did one match where I didn't make a mistake I was going to quit," Wiedeman said with a laugh. "But I never fulfilled that. You could have always been a little better, always done a little better job somewhere in the match. I always wanted to keep improving because I knew the wrestlers always deserved the best officiating possible."
That simple goal kept Wiedeman on the business end of the whistle for 33 years, a career that saw him officiate at nearly every level of the sport. His career included 30 Colorado state high school championships, 15 collegiate national qualifying tournaments, four college national tournaments, 10 national freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments (three of which he served as the head official), the Junior World freestyle team trials and countless youth tournaments throughout the years. And those are just the highlights. "If there was wrestling going on somewhere, my wife (Carole) and I were usually there," he said. "She'd drive for me when I did college matches. We'd do five days in a row and I would sleep in the back of the van while she drove. She loved wrestling as much as I did."
Wiedeman, who still lives in Monte Vista, was also instrumental in helping build youth programs throughout the San Luis Valley. Those programs helped spawn some of the state's most successful high school programs. "After I got out of the service I wanted to stay involved because I always enjoyed the people who were around wrestling," he said. "When we started those programs, I was just trying to help the kids get a head start."
Wiedeman was never technically a coach and was not a teacher, but he was drawn to the sport at a young age and his love for wrestling never diminished. "I always loved wrestling because it's basically an individual thing," Wiedeman said. "You can't blame it on a guy not passing you the ball, a guy not blocking for you. You either do it or you don't - there's no excuse. The harder you work, the better you will be. There's an amount of personal sacrifice involved and I think that's what makes it special"
When he started officiating, Wiedeman was not familiar with freestyle or Greco-Roman. But, "Once I got involved, I loved it. I did national opens, Olympic Trials matches, all those things, and it was exciting. The more matches I did, the more I improved."
Still, despite his long and successful career, Wiedeman never imagined a Hall of Fame induction. "It's a big honor," he said. "When I started that little program in Monte Vista 48 years ago, I never thought something like this would come of it."
Byron Willems has indeed put in his time for the betterment of the CWOA. The fall of 1976 saw him take that fatal step of his first season on the mats. Over his tenure many wrestlers interacted with Byron in 24 regional tournaments. Additionally, Byron officiated 18 state tournaments, refereed in the Warrior Classic ten times and was honored to work the All-State Dual in 1996.
Byron also provided leadership to the organization as the Area 8 Director for a long 18 years. During that time Byron recruited, trained and otherwise assisted many novice officials. The members selected him as a state vice president in the spring of 1997 and he continues to serve out that long term obligation to date. He will remain an active member of the CWOA executive committee until his term expires in June of 2005. Mr. Willems lives with his family in Craig where he owns and operates his private business - Craig Fire and Safety. Byron has been a corporate sponsor of the CWOA for the past six years. Grand kids and attending firemen's conventions seem to occupy much of his spare time.