"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN
Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
TOUGHMAN CONTESTS. Related to boxing, participants in toughman contests while not professional boxers earned prize money after eliminating opponents in a series of matches. Initially there was difficulty in drafting an ordinance that distinguished between toughman contests and acceptable forms of professional boxing. Concerns about the event, which was labeled legalized barroom brawling, eventually focused on the form of competition, specifically, the elimination tournament. (1)
In April 1991 the Dubuque City Council banned toughman contests following severe injuries suffered by Dan Vondran of Potosi, Wisconsin at the city-owned FIVE FLAGS CIVIC CENTER . At the same time, the council directed the city attorney to draw up an ordinance that would ban the contests citywide. The action was criticized by some Five Flags advisory commission members and community members as censorship. (2)
The ordinance was first considered in late May, 1991 but it could not be adopted because it required six votes and only five members were present. At the June meeting, all seven members present supported the issue. The ban did not refer to "Toughman Contests." Instead it outlawed professional boxing elimination tournaments defining any tournament professional if contestants received money. Legitimate amateur boxing events such as Golden Gloves and traditiona, non-elimination professional bouts were still legal. (3)
1. Gilson, Donna. "Council to Address Citywide Toughman Ban," Telegraph Herald, June 2, 1991, p. 3A
3. Gilson, Donna, "Ban on Toughman-Type Bouts Win Final Round," Telegraph Herald, June 18, 1991, p. 2