"Are you related to the Chanslor fighting in the toughman contest?" my history of journalism teacher asked.
I had hoped someone at college would hear about my father.
"Yeah, he's my dad," I answered, beaming with pride.
After I explained my father's exploits to the uninformed members of the class, the teacher posed another question.
"Do you and he ever get into it at home?"
"I don't mess with him," I said.
Billy Don Chanslor began boxing in 1948 at the age of 15 in Ponca City, Okla. A year later, representing the Moose Lodge Boxing Club, he won the state bantamweight championship.
It was on to California after high school for Billy, where, among other things, he won four fights in as many outings in an arena near Long Beach, for which he was paid $16 per bout. That money, coupled with the wages he earned being a dishwasher at the local five-and-dime, was enough .to get Billy home to Oklahoma just in time to leave again, this time as a member of the U.S. Air Force.
Billy was stationed at Truax Field in Madison, Wis., where, together with a second lieutenant, he started a base boxing team. In his first year Billy made it to the All-Air Force tournament. He got to the All-District tourney in his sophomore campaign, losing to the Far East welterweight champion. Billy "retired" in 1956 and while he has no official tally, he figures his record was in the neighborhood of 65-5 with around 20 knockouts.
My father decided to unretire in the winter of 1982. At the time, I passed off his as a second-childhood stunt. His playground was the Muskogee Civic Center in Muskogee, Okla., and his game was the local toughman contest.