By: Karen Ingram
Taber Irrigation Impact Museum
Boxing club news had disappeared from the pages of the Taber Times for 1959. However early in January of 1960 we started seeing photos of Taber boys practicing their boxing skills and in the Times of Feb. 11, 1960 the headline read, “Boxing Taking Spotlight in Taber; Four Cards Planned by Local Club”. The article told us that “some” of the boys would be boxing this year while others were honing their skills for the future. The first card mentioned was to be in Warner on Feb. 19, then in Stirling on Feb. 26. The first home card was advertised for March 18 to be held in the Community Centre. New comers to the Taber Fighters named were: Lawrence Merkl, Norman Conrad, Bruce Haynes, Dallace Jensen, John Jensen and Bobby Fettig. More familiar names fighting for the Taber club, Billy Conrad, Roy Pierson, Gerald Pierson, Howard Winberg, Verle Shockey and Cliff Clark. The Golden Gloves competition in Edmonton was to be held in early March just before the card in Taber. The club was expect- ing some of the “local lads” to do well for them- selves and Taber there. Provincial Championships were to be held in Jasper Place, April 22 and 23. While preparing for all these bouts the club was training at the high school gymnasium on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. This year the club was sending five members representing Taber to the Golden Gloves, put on by the Edmonton Optimist Club, Roy Pierson, Cliff Clark, Bruce Haynes, Bobby Fettig and Howard Winberg. Each club in the competition was allowed only one fighter per weight category.
The club did well in the earlier cards, Lawrence Merkle saw action in warner as a first timer, they said the fight was almost too close to call from the first to the last bell. Alvin Chomos and Howard Winberg were the other fighters from Taber, the “crowd showed their displeasure” as the judges announced their decisions and gave the wins to the Taber boy’s opponents. The club had a much better time at Sterling producing two winners and only one loss.
Cliff Clark lost his bout while Bobby Fettig was said to be a “cool fighter, enabling him to land the more telling blows” and winning his bout. First time fighter Bruce Haynes won his match by “making good use of his left hand and with a fine display of calmness, he used his punches to good advantage”, winning his bout.
At the Golden Gloves, Roy Pierson sustained a cut above his right eye but went on to win his Golden Trunks for being in the finals, even though he ultimately lost that bout. It was said that Bruce Haynes “gathered valuable experience but appeared a little too eager” losing after winning his first fight. Cliff Clark lost on a decision in his first fight, Bobby Fettig was declared the winner in his first bout against a Blood Reserve boxer in the 60 lb. class, Bobby won with a TKO in his second fight but lost by a decision that had the “crowd showing disapproval” in his final.
In Raymond, Bill Conrad, in his first fight in two years, showed that he had “enough speed and ability” to master his opponent. Bobby Fettig “drove his opponent around the ring” until the referee stopped the fight declaring Bobby winner. Cliff Clark and Bruce Haynes were unable to master their opponents, coming home without wins.
“Five fights – five victories” read the first line of the article after a card held in Barons. Bobby Fettig, Lawrence Merkl, Dallace Jensen, Billy Conrad and Howard Winberg shone and came home victorious.
The Taber Card was up next on Friday, April 8. “The crowd went away well pleased with the fights.” Four wins and three losses showed Taber what their club could do. Norman Conrad, Bobby Fettig, Bruce Haynes, Dallace Jensen, Howard Winberg and Alvin Chomos showed the Taber home crowd what they could do.
Over the next few cards around South Alberta Bill Conrad was declared Champ of the Welterweight Class in Lethbridge and Bobby Fettig won with a knock out in Cardston. The trip to Jasper Place for Provincial Championships saw Taber fighter Billy Conrad declared Champ.