Rick the Ripper Returns to State Wrestling


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by (Beth) Dodd:

In a Cinderella story not unlike the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team in this year’s NCAA basketball finals, Rick Langenbird is dominating the Colorado Senior’s Wrestling tour in a surprise comeback.

Langenbird, known to his high school wrestling teammates as “Rick The Ripper,” never lived down his narrow defeat back in 1966 by Bucky “Bonecrusher” Buchannon in Atlantic City at the New Jersey state wrestling finals. Langenbird was heard to shout, “Mommy, help!” when Buchannon took him to the mat with a double leg sweep to win the 110 pound division.

In an effort to recreate his glory days, Langenbird began competing in the Senior’s Colorado Wrestling League, or S.C.WR.L., in late 2011. To train for his comeback, Langenbird ate raw eggs and ran the steps to the top floor of the Woodland Park Public Library every day while listening to the theme song from “Rocky” on his MP3 player.

Langenbird is now undefeated in his last 13 matches, stunning his opponents with his signature move, “The Rubber Duck”, a variation of an upper body attack called a “duck under.” This traditional technique involves a level change when an opponent presses in, allowing the attacking wrestler to “duck under” his opponent’s arms. In the Langenbird version of this move he utters a loud cry like a dying goose as he closes in, which so startles his foes that they often fall to the mat before he touches them.

S.C.WR.L. fans across the state are now eagerly anticipating Langenbird’s next match. Early in 2012, he was pinned by Gage “The Russian Concussion” Binkley, who was the last wrestler to defeat Langenbird before his winning streak began. In what is being called a grudge match, the two will meet in Cripple Creek on Saturday, May 4.

When asked about the upcoming contest with Binkley, Langenbird quoted golf legend, Jack Nicklaus. “There is no room in your mind for negative thoughts. The busier you keep yourself with the particulars of execution, the less chance your mind has to dwell on the emotional. This is sheer intensity.”