Mellmer a deserving Hall of Fame inducteeTo the people who know Rick Mellmer and what he’s offered to the Dickinson Wrestling Club, it was only a matter of time before he was inducted into the North Dakota Wrestling Hall of Fame.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
To the people who know Rick Mellmer and what he’s offered to the Dickinson Wrestling Club, it was only a matter of time before he was inducted into the North Dakota Wrestling Hall of Fame.
After being nominated by Dave Michaelson, who was the Dickinson High’s coach for several years, Mellmer will enter into the Hall of Fame today during the final day of the state wrestling tournament at the Bismarck Civic Center.
“I’ve always wondered when it was going to happen,” said Luke Mellmer, who is Rick’s youngest son and a Midgets assistant coach. “All the stats kind of tell the story. He’s been around wrestling all his life and he brought me and my brothers up through wrestling.”
Rick Mellmer and Mike Armstrong started the Dickinson Wrestling Club more than 25 years ago and the program has grown by leaps and bounds over the years.
Rick would travel around the state with his oldest son, Eric, to different tournaments.
“When we started the club, we probably had 20 to 25 kids in the club,” Rick said. “Last year we had about 110 and this year I’m expecting 130 to 140 kids. … It’s a lot of work, but it’s been a lot of fun.”
Michaelson will be giving the commencement address for Rick’s induction. The former Dickinson High wrestling coach, who was a Hall of Fame inductee last year, said it’s a great honor.
“It means a lot to me,” Michaelson said. “Rick and I are great friends and have been over the years. He helped my own son a great deal. I think the one thing that was probably more special was when Marc Mellmer and my son, Matt (Michaelson), were co-Mr. Wrestlers of the year.”
Rick’s been important to allow kids the opportunity to be better prepared for the high school wrestling.
His four sons, Erik, Marc, Jake and Luke, combined for 11 state championships and have been a benchmark for the wrestling community in Dickinson.
Though Rick will be the first to admit if it wasn’t for the wrestling club, his sons wouldn’t have been as successful as they turned out to be.
“I’m convinced without the club, my boys wouldn’t have won all the state championships that they did,” Rick said.
Rick said he was shocked to learn he would be joining the Hall of Fame.
“It was completely out of the blue,” Rick said. “I did not expect it at all. I was kind of humbled by it because the guys that are in the Hall of Fame are a pretty special group.”
However, people have told Luke that it’s about time that his dad received the recognition.
“In my opinion on it, I’m super excited,” Luke said. “I told people and people are coming up and telling me ‘Geez, it’s about time.’ Words getting out there that he’s getting inducted and it’s a good feeling.”
Michaelson said the success that the Dickinson High wrestling program had wouldn’t have come about if not for Rick.
“He was extremely important,” Michaelson said. “Rick Mellmer and Mike Armstrong basically formed a club many years ago. I make no bones about it. We were successful because of the wrestling club.”
Despite being humbled with the opportunity to join the Hall of Fame, Rick said it has always been about the kids.
“People always ask me ‘Gosh, how come you put so much time into wrestling? You’ve done your work, it’s time to put it up,’” he said. “I don’t look at it that way. What I have gotten out of wrestling means more to me.”
There’s a saying that wrestling is a family affair. Luke, in his first year as a Dickinson High assistant and won state titles in 2006 and 2007, said it’s all about giving back now.
“My dad always said when I got older it’s time to give back,” Luke said. “It’s like you can’t give enough back. You can never as much time and effort that he’s put into the club.”