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.