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Northwest Missouri Native and Pro Wrestler Harley Race has Died

King Handsome Harley Race of Quitman, Missouri has died.

Harley Race was born to sharecroppers in Nodaway County in April 1943 but would be billed as from Kansas City in professional wrestling.

Race began training in his teens to be a wrestler and started his career in the early 1960s. He married his sweetheart Vivian Jones at age 18, but just one month after the wedding, they were involved in a severe car accident where his wife pregnant died. Race nearly had his leg amputated as a result and was told he’d likely never walk again.

Harley Race, however, returned to the ring after months of physical therapy. He traveled the country with the Funk family in Texas and Verne Gagnes’ AWA where he’d wrestle greats like Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes.

In 1973, Harley Race won his first NWA title in Kansas City, Kansas.

In the 1980s, Race would join the World Wrestling Federation, now known as the WWE. He was known as the King of Wrestling.

Race retired to Eldon, Missouri where he founded the World Wrestling League in 1999.

Race was inducted into several halls of fame for his achievements: the WCW Hall of Fame (1994), the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (1996), the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (2004 as a singles wrestler and 2017 as a tag team with Larry Hennig), the WWE Hall of Fame (2004), the NWA Hall of Fame (2005), the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame (2007), and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame (2013).


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