50 YEARS: Radio Couple Celebrates Half Century At Tournament

The names and faces…they change every year. But the voice…it’s been going strong for fifty years, now.

“I plan to do it as long as I’m able,” he says.

Fritz Nielsen and KLGA Radio in Algona have had the state tournament longer than Des Moines has.

He can still remember the first year.

“We went down at the Waterloo Hippodrome on the ice where we broadcast the state tournament,” Nielsen says.

A few years in, Nielsen added a partner…

“I was always there and I was sitting beside him,” said Sandy, his wife of 62 years, “and I started picking out matches and it just kind of evolved, it grew.”

Fritz is the voice, but Sandy is the eyes and ears.

“You see those eight mats down there?” Fritz says, smiling. “She knows what the score is on every one of those mats.”

“I’ve been watching wrestling since I was in college,” Sandy adds. “I love it.”

She’s 85…he’s 87.  But the thrill never ages.

“We hope that we can get at least one state champion out of this,” Fritz says, telling the listeners over the air.

The sound of Iowa’s classic…on the mats below…and the air above.

6 comments

  • Helena Dodds

    Congratulations to Fritz and Sandy in their dedication to the wrestlers and all areas of their where they are always ready to help.

  • Jim martin

    Fritz and Sandy have been close family friends of the Martins, I’ve known them my whole life. True Iowa wrestling fans. Thanks for your dedication and contributions to the sport.

  • Gordie Schenck

    Congratulation Fritz and Sandy. Fritz was my first wrestling coach and Sandy taught me everything about running a wrestling tournament scoreboard, which I did under her direction for 3 years of various invitational, sectional and district tournaments.

  • Mike Koob

    Wow.. what memories of Iowa HS State Wrestling tourneys!! I’m blessed to have been there for some of them. The Gray Fox (Fritz) was there for all of them! Congrats to Fritz and Sandy! See you next summer.

    • Dave Ullom

      I greatly enjoyed my 12 years with the Silver Fox and Sandy. I especially enjoyed the times when at the end of a tournament Sandy would correct an error in the team scoring, even after tournament hosts started using computer programs. I tried to live up to the standard of announcing they have when I videotaped Algona matches at the State tournaments and did voice-over announcing to air on local cable. Of course, I didn’t stand a chance compared to that outstanding team! I pray they will enjoy many State tournaments to come.

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