Name: Harley Race
Year Inducted: 2004
Induction Category: Modern Era
To write a short bio on Harley Race is like condensing the dictionary into a chapter. He is still a young man at 60 but
he has logged over 45 years in the wrestling business, started as a farm boy for the famous Zbyszko Brothers. He trained
in the evening with them and he learned from the best of the day. As a teenager he drove the wrestlers to and from the
airport, as he listened and learned. Buddy "Killer Austin took a liking to the young Race and helped in his training.
Harley started in Tennessee with the alias of Jack Long, but that name was short lived after his father asked him what
was wrong with his own name. From that day on, it's been Harley Race. And thus the legend began.
It's easier to name the few titles that he has NOT held than the ones he has held. He held the NWA world championship eight
times when that title was THE title and there was only one world champion. There are hardly any places he has not been.
There are really no major stars he has not wrestled during his working years. To have a match with Harley Race meant
that you have come to Carnegie Hall and are now main event caliber. You can go down the list of great stars including
Thesz, Flair, Kiniski, Brisco, Funks, Rhodes, Backlund, Gagne,on and on, and they all will say Harley's the man most
respected by the boys.
The other side that not too many have seen is the gentle side. His word is his bond and his caring for
the business of wrestling is imbedded in his being. He teaches the younger wrestlers what it takes not
only to make it in the mat game but also more importantly he instructs them on how to have longevity
in the business. His promotion, World League Wrestling, in his home state of Missouri, is old style f
amily wrestling that draws good crowds and has become a major fundraiser for schools and fraternities.
There are no two ways with Harley - if he likes you, he will give the shirt off his back if you need it.
If he does not like you, then he will simply tell you to "take a hike." Believe me, he has given away a lot of
shirts. Today, one of wrestling's true living legends, a man who has given 110% of his life to the wrestling business,
will be inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He has always appreciated the fans so before you leave give him a hand shake and say thanks for the 45 years.
- KARL LAUER