Fairgrounds???

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David
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Fairgrounds???

Post by David » Wed March 12, 2014, 8:24 pm

I'm thinking this was the making of the Fairgrounds. 1936
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Fairgrounds Aug 1936OH.jpg
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Veep
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by Veep » Thu March 13, 2014, 9:04 am

My mother, Mildred Nettles, was one of the 10 Hartgrove children, most of whom were raised on 2nd Street near the fairground/athletic park. As a kid, I remember them reminiscing about the development of the City Lake and the recreation facilities there. The building on the north side (torn down last year) housed a boxing ring used by the local boxing team. Boxing was a big deal back then and Hamlet High had great teams especially in the late 30's and early 40's. I think I remember my uncles talking about Coach Cash who taught them the art. Uncle Paul and Uncle "Bub" Hartgrove both fought on those teams. Paul won a light-heavyweight golden gloves tournament one year. Others I remember hearing about were heavy-weight Ed McGee, who later attended Carolina on a boxing scholarship. I think he even fought professionally before becoming an executive with Southern Bell. Other names that come to mind were Tyree, Bobby and Paul Brown, Joe Blalock, John Williamson, the Boyd boys, Jimmy Case ....you know, even growing-up in one of these families, I have never seen any pictures of these men in action or team photos--does anyone out there have any to share...or know of any stories...

sigmore
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by sigmore » Thu March 13, 2014, 7:59 pm

Don't stop there Veep, yer doin fine. I also remember hearing about boxing way back when. Spent lots of time with Ben sr at the old Midget and at the Hub Grill where all them guys hung out. The pool room and Club V always had a few of them jawing at the bar.

lynnsteen
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by lynnsteen » Thu March 13, 2014, 9:47 pm

Don't know if he came through this facility, but Arthur McDuffie practiced the fine art back in the day.
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freddie hassler
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by freddie hassler » Fri March 14, 2014, 2:53 am

These same men that you have been talking about, had a Little League Boxing Club at the Old SAL Yard Office behind Mary Love[ Veep your Uncle Paul taught me how to make the Speed Bag Sing, :D They had me and little Eddie McGee paired up since we were the same size and ageWe were gong to Box at a Golden Groves at the BallPark, but it never worlked out for some reason
The Old Men like Tyree and Big Mac would get in the ring from time to time for a couple roungs
and give us pointers, what to do and what not to do/Walked home thur Mary Love many a day with a Fat Lipb]

Veep
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by Veep » Sat March 15, 2014, 10:54 am

Any of you who truly knew my father "Pop" knew of his ability to tell a story. One of my favorites involved the fairgrounds and a Hamlet fair during the 40's. Seemingly, back then fairs were somewhat different than they are now. One of the main attractions involved a boxing ring where a willing adult ("sucker") could match his ability to that of a trained chimpanzee. If you stayed in the ring for a full round with the chimp without quitting or getting knocked out--you won a cash prize. Now you must remember that at the time, Hamlet was known for its boxing prowess and bragging rights. Several of the local pugilists decided to invest their skills and money in that ring (then, as now side bets were common with more return than the advertised prize). No doubt alcohol also played some part in this. At the time, Ed McGee, considered the best boxer in Hamlet, was not with his foolish friends, but was safe at home in the loving arms of his newlywed wife. As fate would have it, the chimp made a mockery of the local boxers. I'm talking, fat lips, black eyes, hair pulled out and below the belt hitting. .One of them made a pretty good showing until he slipped and that was the end of him. After the last bout, they kept telling the chimp's manager that if they would have had Ed with them, it would have been a different story. Now the chimp's manager being the sporting type of fellow he was, told them to go get this phenom and he would hold their bets and double their winnings if Ed could withstand the chimp. Needless to say , Ed's house was their next stop. Can't you just picture a handful of Ed's "2/3ds drunk" friends knocking on his door around 9:30 on a chilly night. After seeing that ragtag bunch and hearing of their plight, Ed did what any honorable friend would--he agreed to help them in their distress. Besides, Hamlet's honor was at stake. I would have paid good money to see him tell his wife, as he was dressing for the occasion. It probably went something like this---"honey what is it?--was there a wreck, is someone hurt? No baby--but I must go--there's this badass monkey down at the fair that is embarrassing my friends and is calling my name--you don't worry though, I'll be back before I love Lucy comes on." Anyway, legend has it that indeed Ed entered the ring with the chimp and for the first part of the round it looked bad for the locals, but sure enough, Ed's heavyweight punches decked the chimp twice toward the end and the manager stopped the fight and gave the guys their money back---he said that was the first time his chimp had ever been in trouble and he was afraid Ed would kill him. Only in small town America folks...

Bill Dennis
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by Bill Dennis » Sat March 15, 2014, 11:56 am

Great Story, where is the like button!
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David
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by David » Sat March 15, 2014, 6:13 pm

Sorry Bill but we don't have a like button. You can share a link to Facebook, the button is in the upper right corner of the main post.

lynnsteen
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by lynnsteen » Wed March 19, 2014, 9:50 pm

Can't speak to the specifics of Veep's story, but I remember seeing this act myself back in the mid 50s. The cage was in open view, so you didn't have to pay to enter a tent to witness the event. What I most remember about the event though was that the chimp at times would resort to being 'nasty'. If his human counterpart seemed to be gaining the upper hand, the chimp would come up with a palm full of 'fresh' chimp manure, and sling it at his counterpart. Very effective at getting the opponent to back off.
Never saw a human get the best of the chimp though. He was too nimble and kept hopping and swinging all around the cage.
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Wayne Terry
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by Wayne Terry » Fri March 21, 2014, 12:06 am

Lynn,didn' t Mike Stogner get in there with him one night???


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sigmore
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by sigmore » Fri March 21, 2014, 8:48 am

OOH, OOH, monkey POOH. Sorry, couldn't help myself!

lynnsteen
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by lynnsteen » Fri March 21, 2014, 11:16 am

@ Wayne
Don't remember that about Mike Stogner, but that wouldn't come as any great surprise!!
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dcrooke
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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by dcrooke » Fri March 21, 2014, 1:08 pm

Steve Meacham (SM), Ricky Carnes (RC), Ellis Atkinson (EA), and Johnny Robbins (JR) from the class of '66 were watching the chimp box at the Fairgrounds probably fall 1964 or spring 1965. SM said the chimp was as big as a man which some called a gorilla. Not sure which creature it was but according to SM, it had huge muscles on the legs and arms. Anyone who knocked the chimp out and declared a winner would receive cash $150. They all watched carefully for several nights as the chimp fought football players, weight lifters, or other brave souls. The iron cage was huge and welded to an 18 wheeler (short bed). These 4 guys were studying the chimp's movement and patterns. It would hang and swing from the top bars swiftly from one end to the other. The chimp would always corner his opponent. While still hanging from the bars and feet boxing, the chimp holding with one hand would reach around and collect "you know what" and throw it usually in the face of the opponent. This enabled the chimp to knock out the challenger. The four had a plan. So the next day, they went to HHS and approached Eugene Ross, class of 1965. They told Eugene how to win and beat the chimp. That night Eugene and group headed to the fairgrounds. Eugene entered the cage and started boxing. The chimp started his same routine. When Eugene got corned, the chimp hanging with one hand reached and started his routine. When he did, Eugene landed a lightning punch right into the chimp's jaw. The chimp landed on the floor and was knocked out COLD. The chimp's manager ran into the cage to tend to the chimp and declared Eugene the winner. The prize of $150 was given to Eugene. Eugene kept $50 and gave $25 each to SM, RC, EA, and JR for informing him how to win. In the early 60's, I always heard Joe Pete Robinson and Mike Stogner were beat by the chimp.
Credit goes to SM for sharing this story.

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Re: Fairgrounds???

Post by TerriD » Thu March 5, 2015, 8:48 am

I was told by my father that his brother, Ernest Billingsley, boxed back then. My brother, Ernie, has his boxing gloves.

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