Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, "Be stromg and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." (ESV) (Deuteronomy 31: 7,8)

THE BIG CHEESE---I didn't  name this one. The BIG CHEESE of WRESTLING is a life-size sculpture of Iowa's beloved wrestling coach, Dan Gable. This very special work of art took place this weekend (November 15-17, 2019) at the Hy-Vee store at 410 N. Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa. Yes--I was there every day to watch this big yellow blob come to life. If you missed it, just follow me (below) and I will take you on a virtual tour.

My View for the month: THE BIG CHEESE OF WRESTLING. Sometimes I stretch my imagination--but here is my opinion. Why a sculpture of cheese recapping the illustrious career of Coach Dan Gable? I think a better question would be why not? Dan Gable was born (1948) in Waterloo, Iowa, and he is a midwesterner through and through. Cheese is such an important part of Iowa and midwestern agriculture. I think a big cheese block is the perfect medium to recreate the career of Coach Dan Gable.

Dan Gable is identified with two of our great Iowa learning institutions. He attended Iowa State University as a Cyclone wrestler and walked away with a 117-1 winning record. Dan is a two time NCAA Division National Champion. He is also a World Gold Medalist and an Olympic Gold Medalist. I love the Olympics so I consider that a really big deal.

Dan's contribution to the youth of Iowa continued way beyond his college years. He was a highly respected head wrestling coach for the University of Iowa, 1976-1997. He closed out his coaching career by posting a 355-21-5 winning record. Not bad!

Hey--I'm writing this story--I need to get in this act someway! I don't even have a picture to back this up so you will just have to take my word. Well, get this--Dan Gable gave me a medal, too! Not like it sounds, I never wrestled in my life--but I did run fast. Many years ago, I was an age group winner at a for-charity 10k race at Saylorville. I do not remember the details, but Dan Gable represented the charitible organization and he put the medal around my neck. I know--not quite like the Olympics--but a chance for me to toot my own horn-ha.

I hope you had the opportunity to see THE BIG CHEESE OF WRESTLING. If not, I hope you enjoy my picture story.

Of course, the ultimate goal for this sculpture art is to showcase Coach Dan Gable and pay tribute to his illustrious  career. I think we also need to thank The Cheese Lady, artist Sarah Kaufmann, for bringing these photos to life and Hy-Vee for sponsoring this event to support the Dan Gable National Wrestling Hall of Fame (Waterloo, Iowa). Now it all fits together--a talented artist carving the story of a great Iowa icon using a product of midwest agriculture and giving a portion back to the community.  That is the Iowa I know and love.



Here is how it looked when I arrived Friday--a big pillar of aged cheddar cheese wrapped in clear plastic. I don't see much hope here! Do you think they are just going to cut it in wedges and put it on the shelf?

Free samples are everywhere, so you can try before you buy. But there is a real incentive to make a purchase. For every pound you buy, Hy-Vee donates one dollar to the Dan Gable National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Just keep your paws off of the one above--it's mine!

The artist, Sarah Kaufmann (a.k.a. The Cheese Lady) has arrived. You could tell by that determined look on her face she already had a plan. She was armed with a cheese knife and a photo copy of Dan Gable as a guide. I don't think I am going to be much help here so I am going to take a break and come back tomorrow.

We returned Sunday and that was really the treat for the week. Left: Sarah Kaufmann stands by the finished cheese sculpture. Right: Coach Dan Gable was on hand 10AM-2PM to meet and greet.

I came back Saturday morning and --WOW--what a difference a day makes.