Opening night of the Steele County Fair featured some smack-talking, showboating, and tag team shenanigans. The Midwest All-Star Wrestling (MAW) event crushed the attendance expectations of fair officials. Possibly 1,000 fans jammed the area in and around the Steele Saloon. An Owatonna competitor came out of retirement to the delight of the hometown audience and fair manager Scott Kozelka, who otherwise might have found himself in the ring.

Doug Meier, manager of the Steele Saloon, said it was an early arriving crowd, "I was shocked. An hour before the event with how many people walked up with MAW shirts on. I really didn't know they such a following like that...They were all really super nice people."

The locals enjoyed the show too, "There were a lot of people down in the saloon that asked, 'What is going on over there?' And I was like, 'It's all-star wrestling.' And they went and checked it out and they never came back to their table. They stayed over there."

One of the main features pitted Owatonna's Kenny Dreyling, wrestling as Cody O'Neill, "Kenny, the local guy, put on a heck of a show and the people were really hooting and hollering when he won his match...I think he did a couple of back flips off the top rope and everything."

Kozelka entered the ring with Dreyling as his manager.

Meier indicated that a return of the MAW could happen in 2023, but that would still have to be finalized. He said more seating would be a good addition. Many people stood and plenty of parents had their kids propped up on their shoulders to get a better view.

I saw a couple of elementary-age kids, presumedly a brother and sister, attempting one of the moves they had just seen in the ring that might lead to some lamps toppling over when they repeat it in their living room.

Fair board member Glen Meger said it was an exciting event, "It was kind of a fan favorite...It was an entertaining show...If you were to see the acrobatics that go on and all of that, those guys are pretty fit athletes. There's no question about it."

"Of course, Kenny from Hy-Vee was a crowd favorite that everybody just loved. He had a little fan group going with signs...This is a fun event for the community."

Dreyling wrestled previously in Midwest All-Star Wrestling but reportedly had been out of the ring for a number of years before Tuesday.

A famous face in the crowd belonged to Travis Wiuff, an Owatonna High School graduate, state meet wrestler for the Huskies, and professional MMA fighter. Meger said rumors floated around that Brock Lesnar might be on hand. But that didn't happen.

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