Y.M.C.A. a mecca for popular winter sports


Winter sports were always popular in Miles City, with skating and tobogganing most popular in the early days. By 1914, however, some more modern sports had arrived, including basketball and wrestling.

The sports were not carefully organized, and only a few games were played through the schools. The center of sports activity in Miles City in 1914 was the Y.M.C.A., now the Eagles building.

To announce the arrival of a new mat for wrestling, the Miles City Daily Star of January 28, 1914 said: 

“To properly inaugurate the new wrestling mat at the Y.M.C.A., a series of bouts were held last night in which the high school classes figured by each class having contestants who wrestled for home and country, the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods, and for the lives, fortunes, and sacred honor of their respective class, and other incidentals too numerous to mention.”

Sports writing was a bit florid in those days.

The story went on to describe some matches involving names we still recognize. “Bailey of the high school and Badgett of the Montana Institute (Editor’s note: a downtown business school located above what is now the Miles City Saddlery building) went at each other.

Then things got exciting! “John Gordon, the champion police wrestler who has appeared professionally in Miles City, then took the mat in fulfillment of his offer to throw any five men in the city in thirty minutes.”

The writing rose to new heights to describe the subsequent matches.

“The first valiant youth to have his feelings upset and pinned all over the mat was 

‘Fatty’ Woodward, who gave his presentation of the “Death Scene” in the “Dying Gladiator” in 3 minutes and 35 seconds.

Then, “a young man named Pauley lasted about as long as New Year’s Resolution.”


See “Y.M.C.A.,” page 5

John Philip Auld, Tommy “Cyclone” Kelly, sometimes also known as the “Baby Mastadon” and “a young fellow named Foster” filled out the remaining five, although  Gordon had 15 minutes of his 30 left after he had pinned them all.

In between wrestling mats, the Y.M.C.A. hosted uplifting talks on subjects like “Love, Courtship and Marriage,” which was a topic noted to be “of perennial and permanent interest” by the newspaper and another lecture entitled “Danger Signals for Girlish Feet.”

For some reason, these lectures were not as extensively covered as the wrestling matches.

Basketball was also popular, and the Y.M.C.A. team consisted of George Snell, John Rodgers, H. Yokley, E. C. Schmidt, Fritz Zook and Leslie Cole. The Star declared “It is worth your time and money to see the ‘Y’ quint in action.”

And, of course, the ‘Y’ had the swimming pool where gents and ladies swam in separate sessions for decorum’s sake. Those wet wool suits could be mighty revealing.