Ralph Parcaut

Ralph Parcaut was a professional wrestler who also served as a marine during the First World War. He was born in Iowa in the small town of Sutherland. At a young age, Ralph impressed a local wrestling fan with his potential and skill-set. This fan in turn offered Ralph money to seek training from a famous wrestler named Martin Burns. After various one on one sessions, Burns taught Parcaut how to wrestle properly and how to live a healthy lifestyle. Once Ralph turned 22, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After his basic training was complete, Ralph was deployed overseas to England. After being active in the Marines for two years, Parcaut entered in a preliminary match for wrestling.  Using the techniques and teachings gained from his mentor Martin Burns, Parcaut won first place in the preliminary matches. During the Inter-Allied Games, Parcaut completely overwhelmed all challengers from 14 nations in the light heavyweight division taking all but the final match with falls. After this was done, Parcaut become the “Champion Wrestler of the A.E.F.” Ralph was one out of twelve American soldiers to win gold medals at these games, including future boxing legend Gene Tunney. It’s important to note that there were doubts if wrestling could appeal to Americans and other nationalities. This is due to the fact that there were two different styles of wrestling practiced between the nations. America used a Catch-as-catch-can style while other nationalities used a style called Greco-Roman. This difference was evident throughout the tourney considering the United States Catch-as-catch-can bantamweight found no opponent and hence won undisputed championship title.

Bare chested man
Parcaut during his post-war wrestling career. Image: http://wrestlingdata.com

When returning to the states in July 1919, Parcaut gained one more distinguished title as he won the title of Heavyweight Champion. By August 1919, Pvt. Parcaut was back in the States and was assigned to the 203rd Casual Company. Shortly afterwards, Parcaut was honorably discharged from the Marines. For his extraordinary service, he was awarded the USMC Good Conduct Medal as well as the World War I Victory Medal. After he left the army, Parcaut started a career in professional wrestling and was very successful. Besides wrestling, Parcaut started performing “barnstorming” exhibitions. This is where someone walks on the wing of a biplane and does handstands and other acts while the plane is in the air. Parcaut was known for his daring stunts and even invented some of his own. Parcaut was unfortunately gravely injured when his plane engine suddenly lost power and crashed to the ground. Due to the severity of the injuries, “he lost much of his speed and was never prominent as a wrestler again”

 

Sources

Ralph Parcaut, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Parcaut

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