Ray Thorkildson and Chuck Koegh were integral pieces to the Waubun wrestling program and are getting inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Two Waubun wrestling program coaches are being recognized by the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association as members of the 2024 class of the David Bartlema Wrestling Hall of Fame

Ray Thorkilson (coach) is one of 10 inductees. Chuck Keogh, who started the Waubun wrestling program, is one of three Pioneer Recipients. The Induction Dinner is on May 4 at McKinney’s on Southside in Benson, Minnesota.

Thorkildson attended Stephen-Argyle High School, graduating in 1976. He attended Mayville State University and graduated in 1967 with a degree in physical education. Thorkildson never wrestled in high school.

He began teaching and coaching in Waubun in the fall of 1967 when the program was only two years old. Slowly but surely he worked incredibly hard to make it a very well-respected program in the 70s and 80s. He coached several state participants, three of whom went on to become state champions.

Waubun was and still is a very small community, and Thorkildson drew many kids into the program by never turning anyone away. He put on camps annually and found a way for a kid to raise money for the basic necessities to participate.

Thorkildson’s record stands at 133-109-2. The record pales in comparison to the positive memories Thorkildson made for kids. He taught them hard work, discipline, self-respect, and sportsmanship, and was highly thought of by area coaches and officials. Thorkildson’s involvement with coaching spanned three decades.

Upon completing his coaching career, Thorkilson picked up a whistle and began officiating, inspiring others around him to follow his lead. Thorkilson and his late wife, Carolyn, have two children: Jill and Blaine.

Keogh attended Waubun High School, graduating in 1945. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army serving until his discharge in 1948. Upon his military completion, he enrolled at North Dakota State University where he majored in math and science.

After graduating from NDSU, Keogh moved back to Waubun, bought a farm, and started a family. In 1959 Keogh went to Moorhead State University to further his education with a teaching degree. While at MSU, he took a class in wrestling taught by head coach Bill Garland.

Garland told Keogh that he was tough and said he would be good at wrestling. That sparked his interest in the sport. Upon completing his education at MSU, Keogh began his teaching career at Waubun High School.

In 1962, Keogh started the wrestling program. There was interest in the sport and 19 students participated. Keogh had a good rapport with the kids and never turned anyone away. He constantly took wrestlers home after practices and meets. He helped to develop not only good wrestlers but good kids.

Bob Gross from Jamestown, North Dakota, took the program over after a couple of years, and the program continued to grow in numbers. Thorkildson took the program over in 1967. Keogh continued to serve as the assistant wrestling coach until 1970 – a season in which the Waubun wrestling team went undefeated.

Keogh married Carol (Susan) Johnson in 1951. They raised a family of three girls (Peggy, Lisa, and Kathy) and two boys (Steve and Dan). Steve placed second in Region 8 at 138 lbs. In 1970, Dan won the Region 8 title at 132 lbs. In 1973, both of the boys’ sons wrestled in high school. Keogh followed the Waubun-Mahnomen wrestlers closely until he died in May 2018 at the age of 89.