Officials Hall of Fame: Duane Choutka

Hall of Fame – 1994

Even though the hair has a reddish glow you could say Duane was a “green recruit” to the wrestling world back in 1970. Having never wrestled or even seen a wrestling match, he was grabbed and told he was the assistant coach for Nebraska City’s team “because we need someone big to work out with the heavier weights.” He was escorted to to the practice room (the stage in the gym behind the curtains) and told “sic ‘em”. Twenty years later he is still connected with this great sport but from a different angle. Because he got overly excited at each match, a little yelling and screaming, hoarseness that wouldn’t clear up, he was told by the doctor that he had better get out of it or he would end up with cancer of the throat. That is something you don’t need to be told twice, but not wanting to forget wrestling completely he entered the world of officials (20 years, 9 at State) and we all know they don’t yell and scream!! He has had the privilege of officiating many outstanding matches at state. He recalls one young man who was behind but was able to reverse and put his opponent on his back in the last few seconds, winning the match. When he took the young man’ s hand to signify he was thewinner, he quietly told him to take the other arm. It seems his shoulder had been separated at some point in the contest. As Duane comments “this is the greatest sport of any today . It is one on one, you can’t blame others for your failures, and you can take all the credit for your success. It is more humbling and instills more pride than any other.” Besides officiating he found time to co-chair organizing Little Kids Wrestling in NE City and helped organize and coach the Battle Creek Junior Wrestling Program. He has been named Nebraska Jaycee’s Outstanding Young Educator, received the Battle Creek Wrestling Club Appreciation Award and been featured on the cover of Referee Magazine. He is introduced by John Torczon, referee, Wakefield.

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