National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Latino American Wrestling Experience

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30 | NATIONAL WRESTLING HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM LATINO WRESTLING EXPERIENCE The small town of Perry, Okla. is at the heart of the history of wrestling in the Sooner State. Beginning in 1931, with the arrival of legendary 30-year coach John Devine, Perry has been a dominant force in Oklahoma wrestling. In 1957, toward the tail end of Devine's tenure, a Latino youth named Tony Macias notched a state title for Perry at 123 pounds. He went on to wrestle at the University of Oklahoma in the late 1950s. The story of the Macias family and wrestling in Perry, however, continues to this day, and the clan's business, in many ways, is one of the hubs of the wrestling culture and tradition in this town. The most recent census of Perry indicates that Hispanics account for only around 2 percent of the community's populace. Still, it was a place that was dependent on agriculture in the years after World War II, and it is not surprising that at least a few Spanish-speaking families were drawn there. Tony started working at a local landmark, the Kumback Lunch diner at the age of 13. He worked for the original owner, Eddie Parker, throughout the time that he attended and wrestled for, Perry High School. Tony eventually won a state title for the Maroons, and earned a scholarship to OU. In Norman, Macias distinguished himself on the mat at both the conference and national levels, finishing second at the Big Eight Tournament (part of a conference title-winning squad), and then earning All-American status with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA tournament at the University of Maryland in 1960. While he did not earn an individual crown, Macias' 3-2 victory over Iowa State University's Don Webster in the wrestle-backs clinched the team title for the Sooners. After completing his degree, Tony married his high school sweetheart Marilee and began, not surprisingly, a coaching odyssey that took him to Southeast High School in Oklahoma City and to a post as a college coach at Coos Bay, Oregon. After more than a decade away from their hometown, the Macias family received a call from Eddie Parker's wife, Kate, who was looking to retire and sell the Kumback. She remembered the hardworking wrestler who had been a loyal employee during his teenage years in the 1950s. The Macias decided to take the plunge, leave the Pacific Northwest, and move back to their hometown to run the local landmark. That was almost 40 years ago. In the intervening decades, the Kumback has become a central hub for the coaches, athletes and fans of wrestling. A walk into the diner is a step back into time in which locals can revel in the glory that is Maroon mat history, 39 state tournament titles, and counting. Just like wrestling, the Kumback and the Macias family, are at the core of life in Perry. TONY MACIAS Wrestled 1959-1960 University of Oklahoma 123lbs

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