Documentary in works for hometown of Hodge, wrestling park

The Price of Legacy is now in production

Perry, Oklahoma -- the hometown of medal-winning Olympic wrestlers Dan Hodge and Jack VanBebber, a high school wrestling program with arguably the most successful legacy in the nation, and the one-of-a-kind Perry Wrestling Monument Park dedicated earlier this year -- will find itself in the spotlight again as the subject of a new documentary, The Price of Legacy, now in production.

"The Price of Legacy chronicles the exciting story of an incredible, small Oklahoma town called Perry and it is told through the words and tales of the incredible people who built it," according to Chance Leonard, the documentary's executive producer, and the driving force behind the Perry Wrestling Monument Park. "The documentary will focus on the people of Perry, people who through character, determination, work ethic and commitment have, beginning with the Oklahoma Land Run, created a thriving town with exceptional businesses and a 95-year wrestling dynasty. The film's main character is the town of Perry and the audience will see through the lens of the Perry (High School) wrestling program."

That program has produced 163 Oklahoma state wrestling champions, dozens of NCAA champs, and two Olympic medalists -- Jack VanBebber, 1932 Olympic gold medalist, and Dan Hodge, silver medalist at the 1956 Olympics. Since 1961, Perry has never gone more than two years without winning a Team State Wrestling Title, and, in fact, owns the national record for the most wrestling team titles, with 40.

"With the success of the Perry wrestling program, we've made every other Oklahoma high school wrestling program -- as well as college wrestling, and international wrestling -- better," Leonard told InterMat.

"We want people to recognize how the skills of wrestling apply to other aspects of life. After all, we all must be champions, as we're all wrestling with life."

With that in mind, The Price of Legacy documentary plans to show why Perry -- a small town of 5,000 in north-central Oklahoma -- has been so successful in wrestling, and in business ... by telling the stories of the people who make up the community. (Perry is home to the state's oldest restaurant, and the oldest, continuously-operating gas station ... and is headquarters for Charles Machine Works Inc. and its global brand Ditch Witch.)

Perry Wrestling Monument Park

The film also hopes to demonstrate what impact the Perry wrestling program's tradition of winning -- and accompanying high expectations -- have on Perry Maroon wrestlers, as well as local residents ... and how wrestling affected personal lives, professional careers and contributed to our society overall.

When asked for the meaning behind the title of The Price of Legacy documentary, Chance Leonard responded, "We have all heard the saying that 'there is no purchase without a price.' Regarding Perry, Oklahoma, there is no doubt in my mind that Perry is the epitome of this truth. Beginning with the pioneering settlers who took part in the Oklahoma Land Run, this town has been a shining example of people paying the price to create a successful community and prestigious wrestling program. It's not easy to build a legacy and it is certainly not easy to keep; it requires deliberate sacrifice, perseverance and unwavering support."

"The price of sustaining a legacy is critically important," said Leonard. "If you don't share that history and emphasize that legacy, a town will die."

Filming is underway now, with a planned release date of October 2017 -- "to coincide with the start of wrestling season," according to Leonard, as well as the beginning of the film festival season.

To learn more about The Price of Legacy, visit the documentary's official website.


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