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National Wrestling Hall of Fame ‘s 44th Honors Weekend set for June 4-5 in Stillwater, Okla.

by Jack Carnefix, National Wrestling Hall of Fame

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame will host its 44th Honors Weekend event on June 4-5 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Hall of Fame Class that will be inducted includes Distinguished Members Bruce Burnett, Dremiel Byers, Mark Lieberman and Bill Zadick, Meritorious Official Tim Shiels, Order of Merit recipient Gary Abbott, Medal of Courage recipient Gary Chopp and Outstanding American Carl Eschenbach. The pandemic postponed their original induction in 2020, so they will now be honored as the Class of 2021.

The Hall of Fame has reached a milestone and will induct its 200th Distinguished Member since it began in 1976.

In order to keep honorees and their guests safe and healthy, the Hall of Fame has adjusted its programming.

The tribute brunch will now be a virtual event at 6 p.m. CT on Rokfin on May 27. Each of the eight honorees will have two people speak on their behalf.

The plaque and memorabilia unveilings are being held as eight separate events on June 4 and 5, limited to the honoree and their invited guests. The ceremonies will be videotaped and later combined into a single video on Rokfin.

The induction ceremony on June 5 will be held at the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets can be purchased online at The induction ceremony will be streamed live at 7 p.m. on Rokfin.

Byers and Zadick were chosen as Distinguished Members for the Modern Era while Burnett and Lieberman were selected by the Veterans Committee.

Distinguished Members can be a wrestler who has achieved extraordinary success in national and/or international competition; a coach who has demonstrated great leadership in the profession and who has compiled an outstanding record; or a contributor whose long-term activities have substantially enhanced the development and advancement of the sport.

The Outstanding American award is presented to those individuals who have used the disciplines of wrestling to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, and the arts and humanities.

The Meritorious Official award recognizes outstanding service as a referee, judge, or pairing official.

The Medal of Courage recipient is a wrestler or former wrestler who has overcome what appear to be insurmountable challenges, providing inspiration to others.

The Order of Merit is presented to an individual that has made a significant contribution to the sport of wrestling, but who is not an athlete or a coach.

Friday, June 4, 2021 (Presentation of Plaques at Hall of Fame Museum)

5 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. Tim Shiels, Meritorious Official

6 p.m. – 6:50 p.m. Gary Abbott, Order of Merit

7 p.m. – 7:50 p.m. Gary Chopp, Medal of Courage

8 p.m. – 8:50 p.m. Carl Eschenbach, Outstanding American

Saturday, June 5, 2021 (Presentation of Plaques at Hall of Fame Museum)

9 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Bruce Burnett, Distinguished Member

10 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Mark Lieberman, Distinguished Member

11 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Dremiel Byers, Distinguished Member

12 a.m. – 12:50 a.m. Bill Zadick, Distinguished Member

Saturday, June 5, 2021 (Induction Ceremony at McKnight Center for the Performing Arts)

7 – 9 p.m. - 44th Induction Ceremony in the following order: Tim Shiels, Meritorious Official; Gary Abbott, Order of Merit; Gary Chopp, Medal of Courage; Carl Eschenbach, Outstanding American; Distinguished Members Bruce Burnett, Dremiel Byers, Mark Lieberman and Bill Zadick