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Veterinary Faculty Achieves
Wrestling Officiating Milestone

Dr. Chuck Wiedmeyer

Dr. Wiedmeyer officiating at the Missouri State Championships. Photo by Parker Eshelman, courtesy Columbia Daily Tribune.

 


After helping his students mentally wrestle with the concepts of clinical pathology at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Chuck Wiedmeyer replaces his coat and tie with a stripped shirt and whistle, and heads to the mat to help with a more physical form of the action.

Recently, he achieved a milestone in his avocation.

Dr. Wiedmeyer, assistant professor of veterinary clinical pathology, was recently selected, from nearly 300 registered officials, to officiate at the Superbowl of state wrestling, the state tournament. Of the 32 officials chosen, he was the only one from Columbia.

It was the highlight of his wrestling career. The event is sponsored by the Missouri State High School Athletics Association (MSHSAA), and was held in February.

Dr. Wiedmeyer earned his DVM and PhD from the University of Illinois-Champaign and has been teaching clinical pathology at MU for more than five years.

He earned his wrestling experience starting in his freshman year in high school. "I was way behind my teammates because most of them started much younger," he said. "Because I started late, I was a mediocre wrestler at best. Still, I had a good time and enjoyed the competition."

To stay involved with the sport, Dr. Wiedmeyer obtained his license to officiate in Illinois in 1985 shortly after leaving high school. "I have officiated ever since, 21 years, in fact," he said.

Typically, he officiates six to eight tournaments a year and several dual meets. That equals hundreds of matches per year.

To be selected to the officiate at the state tournament, the official must have experience, good ratings by coaches, recommendations by other officials, and good evaluations by state evaluators. Another plus is experience in officiating in other parts of the state. "If you stay in your area, you’re not noticed enough," Dr. Wiedmeyer said. "I've traveled to St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, Springfield, Hannibal, and many points in between."

Dr. Wiedmeyer said that while it is easy to get become an official; it is difficult to be an official.

"To become an official all one needs is knowledge of wrestling, pass an open book MSHSAA exam, and attend a rules meeting," he said. "If you are in your first three years of officiating, you must attend a mechanics meeting to work on your signaling mechanics, mat positioning, and how to conduct a match."

You also need a little savvy. "As one novice official commented to me recently, there are many unwritten rules," Dr. Wiedmeyer said. "A new rule book is published every year, but to be an official you have to use judgment, anticipate situations, have a great command of the rules, use good mechanics, and most of all have thick skin. I have been called every name in the book and even physically threatened. All in a day's work, I guess."

Is it rewarding? "Yes, it's very fun, even though sometimes I have to take a lot of verbal abuse from fans, it still has its rewards," he said. "It does pay, but not a great deal. Call it a hobby."

It is also physically demanding--a great way to maintain fitness.

"Also, I have learned things from officiating that apply to my academic life," he said. "Things like fairness, following rules, patience, being able to accept criticism, confidence, authority, and persistence."

Future plans? "I'll keep doing this until I can't," he said. "I have officiated wrestling for kid's clubs, junior high schools, high schools, and, recently, college. As long as there is wrestling, I'll be officiating."

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Last Update: February 24, 2012