Dapper Dan: Oklahoma wrestler following in father's footsteps
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Leo Bailey has good and bad memories from his appearance on the United States team in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic in 1981.
"I still have my gold duffle bag that reads Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic," said Bailey, who was a three-time state champion in Oklahoma from Bixby High School. "I really enjoyed my trip to Pittsburgh for the Wrestling Classic. It was first-class operation. They treated us great.
Bailey's only bad memory was of his performance in the 138-pound weight class.
"I faced one of the Nellis brothers and got my butt whopped," said Bailey, referring to his 11-2 loss to Shaler's Ken Nellis. "I hope my son [Dallas] does better than I did."
Dallas Bailey will follow in his fathers footsteps at this year's Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic March 15 at Pitt's Fitzgerald Field House.
"I'm honored and excited to be nominated to participate in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic," Dallas Bailey said. "It's been a dream of mine to wrestle in the Classic since hearing the story of my father's appearance in 1981."
Dallas Bailey realized another dream this past weekend. He won a fourth consecutive state title in Oklahoma, competing for Catoosa High School.
"For the last few weeks this is all I've been thinking about," said Bailey, after scoring a takedown 43 seconds into overtime to pull out a 5-3 victory in the Class AAAA final at 171 pounds.
Bailey (130-4) also will follow his father to Oklahoma State University.
"It came down to a choice between Oklahoma State and Penn State," Leo Bailey said. "I let him make the decision. I may be biased, but I feel he made the right choice."
Bailey will be joined on the U.S. All-Star team by Chris Perry, a senior from Stillwater, Okla., High School who also won a fourth consecutive title this weekend. Perry, a 189-pounder, also has accepted a scholarship to Oklahoma State.
"Chris' father Mark wrestled with me at Oklahoma State, so I've known him for a long time," Leo Bailey said. "Dallas and Chris work out together quite a bit. It will be great having both wrestling at Oklahoma State and in the Classic."
The U.S. All-Star team will face the Pennsylvania All-Stars at 4 p.m. in the feature match. A team of WPIAL All-Stars will face a West Virginia All-Star team at 2 p.m. in the preliminary match.
The Classic is produced and sponsored by the Post-Gazette Dapper Dan Charities and local volunteers. Proceeds from the Wrestling Classic support a youth wrestling program for inner-city youths through the Dapper Dan Youth Sports Leagues at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.
Tickets can be purchased at Wright Automotive Group on Route 19, Canon McMillan High School, or by calling the Dapper Dan Charities at 412-263-3850. For more information or to order tickets, visit www.wrestlingclassic.com.
First Published March 3, 2009 12:00 am