Duluth Herald – November 5, 1913
Fred Beell last evening demonstrated before 3,500 wildly cheering spectators that he is still the master matman of the world, for the little Wisconsin wood chopper defeated the peerless Mike Yokel in two straight falls, winning the first with a flying mare and roll in one hour and 11 minutes and the second and deciding fall with a half nelson and crotch hold in exactly 12:35.
Until the first fall, which came with a brilliant unexpectancy that thrilled those who had been given no warning of the lightning move, there was little to choose between the two men.
For over an hour the stocky and lion-hearted boy from the fastness of the Jackson Hole country met the old master of the mat at every move of the game, check-mated every trick, every hold of Beell, and appeared fully as strong if not as fast as the Marshfield wonder.
Then came the move that started into wild-eyed wonder, that drove every man yelling to his feet. Yokel made for the shifty and tricky Beell. Quick as a particularly agile cat Beell half turned his back to Yokel and then clamped on the flying mare and with the weight of his body in the heave threw the Salt Lake City man over his head and heavily to the mat.
Yokel alighted half on his side and with full force on the back of the head. It seemed as if the Jackson Hole boy was somewhat dazed, but the instinct for self preservation was still dominant. He attempted to roll and wriggle out of the hold, but Beell, hot on the scent of victory, and master of the wiles of the game, with a reverse move slowly but nevertheless surely pinned the broad back of the Utah boy to the mat.
There was an intensely dramatic moment as the broad hand of the champion heavyweight of the world, Frank A. Gotch, was poised in the air. The big hand held motionless. Then suddenly it descended and a great cheer rent the air and seemed to split the roof in the intensity of his volume. For the first time the spectators realized what had occurred, so quickly had it all happened. For the second time in more than 300 mat battles the back of Mike Yokel had been pinned to the mat.
Maybe Yokel realized he was beaten and maybe he did not. Men with hearts like the great boy from the Western desert sometimes never know when they are beaten. Certain it is that when time was called for the second bout the Yokel boy came out and fought Beell around the ring for the first few minutes of the bout.
The wrestling was the fastest ever seen in a Duluth ring. Followers of Yokel yelled advice and encouragement above the din of thunderous volume, advice that fought its way to the two struggling gladiators above the fanfare of mingled sound.
But through it all the master remained the master; the wrestling art of Beell was never more fully borne out, for great as Yokel is, the greatest middleweight that ever stepped on the canvas, the light heavyweight marvel, Beell, with his added
poundage, was greater.
With the great burst of Yokel’s speed somewhat subsided, Beell again took the aggressive and went behind his man shortly after the ten-minute mark. Then Fred began working for the most effective holds known to the wrestling game.
With a sudden move he upset Mike enough to get the proper leverage for the hold and then he applied the power of leverage properly executed, the power of every pound of weight behind it. Slowly Yokel was turned. Then suddenly the
huge-necked, and deep-chested desert demon went into the bridge. The veins on his huge neck stood out, the corded muscles about the neck and bulky shoulders showed the fight the man was making. The huge brown arms, bent back on
the canvas, bulged with the effort of throwing off the weight of Beell. But resistance was futile; slowly the form of Yokel was pressed nearer the mat. Again the huge hand of the champion of all champions was held in the air. On all fours, the huge form of Gotch almost obscured the two struggling wrestlers. With his head almost on the mat, with one last look, Gotch’s hand descended on the back of the man who was at one time the greatest rival of the heavyweight king, and the contest that has been speculated upon for months was over.
Beell was seated on the bench in his dressing room. The expression of that funny little German countenance was hardly changed. The man showed only to the trained eye of the follower of athletics the intense efforts of the struggle. Slowly he pulled off his clothes.
“Yokel is the greatest middleweight in the world,” said Beell. “There is no man of the middleweight poundage who can defeat him. That boy is the best little man I have ever met. If I had not been in the best shape that I have been in the past six years, the result might have been different. Yokel is wonderfully strong and he is willing to mix at all times. When a man mixes he is easier to beat — if he doesn’t know how to wrestle. Yokel does, and he kept coming to me all the time. He’s a real wrestler and a real man.”
Over on the other side of the huge arena was the dressing room of the loser. The deep and hairy chest was heaving with the intensity of the struggle. The old Yokel smile, even in the moment of defeat, was not lost. It is often that the defeated are without followers, utterly without consolation. Such was not the case with Yokel. People clamored to get into the dressing room of the Mormon youth to shake his hand.
“The best man won,” said Yokel. It was highly characteristic of Yokel that he would give his opponent credit. “Beell has everything,” said Mike. “I tackled too much and lost to a better man. He was heavier than I am and no man can beat so wonderful a wrestler as Fred unless he is far heavier. I learned something from Beell, and believe me I will use it on some of the others.”
As has been said there was little to choose betwen the two men for the first hour. It was one test of strength, a constant battle of trickery and subtlety. Always it seemed that Beell was waiting for something. Always it seemed that Yokel was watching for this something. The speed of Beell was greater, his science more complete. In the matter of strength there seemed little to choose.
Yokel carried the battle to Beell always and ever the little Badger was ready to meet his opponent. Beel was behind the greater part of the time. Yokel could do little with Beell, for Fred rested when on the mat. On the other hand Beell could not fasten an effective hold on the marvelously strong Yokel.
But in the end the canny ability of Beell to seize upon the smallest opening counted, and when this opening came the catlike agility of the Wisconsin man counted tremendously.
It was the old Beell that last evening beat the heretofore invincible and it required all Beell had to win.