Clipped From The Bakersfield Californian
Wrestling champ Race started young Harley Race, who'll defend defend his National Wrestling Alliance world heavyweight title against Keith Pranks at Strongbow Stadium Saturday night, is an interesting study in contradictions. Outside of the ring he is a quiet, unassuming man with almost a courtly air. Inside the ring, however, he can move in the finest scientific style of wrestling or convert to a knockdown pier six brawl if the situation demands. demands. The new champion holds the record as the youngest man ever to break wrestling under the sanction of the WVA. Race was noted by the iate Gus Karras at the age of 16 as an aggressive athlete with tremendous natual talent. talent. Under the tutoring of Karras, Race began a slow put steady progress in the sport but suddenly his budding budding career stopped short when he was critically injured injured in an auto wreck. Race still bears the scars of the many surgical procedures procedures that kept him hospitalized hospitalized for a year. The doctors doubted that he would ever walk again and stated that he would never be able to wrestle wrestle again. While recuperating from the accident. Race spent his time gaining his high schooi diploma that he had foregone to enter pro wrestling. Race did recover and resumed wrestling, but as he admits, it was nearly two years before he won a iijatch. The 6-2 Race, hwo usually weighs in at 245 to 24*8 pounds, says as far as he can remember "I was always a big kid in those days." Race has spent nearly half his life as a pro wrestler and this experience experience had made him a truly dangerous adversary in the ring. .His knowledge of holds is that of a masters degree. His style of attack may vary from a side soltau to a knee to the head with the speed of a much smaller man. He has great quickness, endurance, knowledge, and a burning desire desire to be a winner at all costs. Harley Race may be loved by some, hated by some, but unquestionably respected by all. He is wrestlers wrestler. Race, from Kansas City, defeated Terry Funk for the world heavyweight championship championship last Feb. 6, in the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Race defeated Funk in just 14 minutes and 10 seconds seconds of the title tilt using an Indian death lock to score the victory and the $10,000 gold and diamond-studded belt. This marks the second time that Race has held the world title. It was on May 24, 1973 that Race defeated then- world champion Dory Funk Jr. for the coveted belt in Kansas City. He held the title until July 20. of the same year when he lost to Jack Brisco in Houston. Brisco held the title until he was pinned with an inside cradle in a match against Funk in Miami, on Dec. 10. 1975. Race now becomes one of the few individuals ever to" gain the world belt for a second second time. American League tabs new umps NEW YORK (AP) - The American League announced the appointment today of four new umpires to its staff for the 1977 baseball season. Added to the AL staff were Ken Kaiser, Durwood Merrill, Merrill, Steve Palermo and Vic Voltaggio. Expansion of the league to Toronto and Seattle created the need for the four new umpires and increased the AL total to 28. '