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Grappling with the Family Farm
Douglas S. Looney
April 22, 1991
For the Schiefelbeins of Minnesota and their nine sons, wrestling and agriculture go together
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April 22, 1991

Grappling With The Family Farm

For the Schiefelbeins of Minnesota and their nine sons, wrestling and agriculture go together

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It's a spectacularly stark and stunningly quiet winter morning on Frank Schiefelbein's 2,700-acre farm, 4.3 miles from downtown Kimball (pop. 651), Minn. Schiefelbein and some of his family are in the house, looking out across the snowswept landscape, down toward Scott Lake. They are waiting for the cows to get up so they can feed them. "There's no need trying to get them up earlier," explains Schiefelbein. "They're females, you know."

Everyone waits on the cows. Quietly. This family is comfortable with quiet. Indeed, in 1991 the Schiefelbeins are right out of 1941. They are making it in farming when many others seem to be failing, although Frank Schiefelbein says, "There isn't much money in this business."

Frank and Frosty Schiefelbein have nine sons. Seven of them work on the farm; two more are dying to. On the living room wall is the sheet music for Amazing Grace. The Schiefelbeins are one for all and all for one. Nobody gets a paycheck. The single goal is betterment of the farm.

One reason this old-style farm family makes it is high school wrestling. Yes, wrestling, and the lessons it has taught. Each of the boys wrestled for Kimball High—starting with Frank III, now 36, who graduated in 1972, and finishing up with Danny, 17, who just closed out his senior season. In those 22 years the Schiefelbein brothers have had 553 victories for the Cubs. The old man sees a direct correlation between wrestling and farming. "What are you going to gain from wrestling except getting beat up?" he says. "That's what farming is. But some of us just like it."

Rick, 34, agrees. He says, "If you're the best in the world at wrestling, you get nothing. That's how it is on this farm." Bob, 29, adds, "What wrestling does is get you ready for getting beat in life."

In a community where nearly everyone is involved in farming, the Schiefelbeins stand out. Kimball wrestling coach Kayo Aslagson, who has had all the brothers except Frank on his teams, sees a common thread of "pride and stubbornness. They all worked hard to be good." Seven of the nine were team captains. "Each one of them really competed," says Aslagson. Here's a quick rundown of the Schiefelbein era:

?Frank III, Kimball High class of 1972, started the family wrestling tradition. "Basketball required too much coordination," he says. He was 39-18-2 at Kimball and for a time held the school record for takedowns, with 46. A Kansas State graduate, he's married, has six children and works on the farm.

?Rick, class of 1975, was probably the best in the family. His 92-31-7 record at Kimball puts him fifth on the school's all-time win list, and his 130 consecutive matches are still the school record. He was 25-5 as a senior. An Iowa State graduate, he's married with five children and works on the farm.

?Bill, 32, class of '77, was 22-31-2 at Kimball. "I was tough," he says, "but I didn't like it." He attended the University of Minnesota for 3� years but didn't graduate. He's single and works on the farm.

?Bob, a 1980 Kimball grad, went 58-35-3 (27-3 as a senior), and was never pinned. "I was totally engulfed in wrestling," he says. "I wouldn't take a chance on doing anything that might make me lose." He graduated from Michigan State, is married with two children and works on the farm.

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