Josh Bird, two-time Wisconsin state champ, killed in crash

Josh Bird, two-time WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association) state wrestling champ for Burlington High, was killed in a two-vehicle crash Friday evening in the Town of Mukwonago.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State Patrol said a 23-year Burlington man was killed in a motor vehicle accident at 4 p.m. Friday on State Highway 83 and Sugden Road in the Town of Mukwonago, according to the Journal-Times.

Josh Bird (Photo/John Sachs,
Officials said a vehicle headed north on Highway 83 turned west on to Sugden and hit a vehicle -- reportedly a motorcycle driven by Bird -- which was heading south on Highway 83.

Bird was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said, while the driver of the northbound vehicle, a 70-year-old Mukwonago man, sustained minor injuries.

Josh Bird graduated in 2016 from Burlington High School in southeast Wisconsin, just west of Kenosha and Racine. Bird was a three-time WIAA state finalist, winning the 120-pound title as a freshman and being crowned the 132-pound champ as a junior, while placing second in the finals of the 132 bracket as a sophomore. Overall, Bird compiled a prep record of 152-10.

Beyond won-loss records and titles, Josh Bird was richly awarded with honors. He was voted the All-Racine County Wrestler of the Year by the county's wrestling coaches each of his first three years in high school.

Bird's death left its mark on the entire prep wrestling community in the state of Wisconsin.

Jade Gribble, Bird's coach at Burlington High School, confirmed Bird's death on Saturday evening, telling the Journal-Times, "Unfortunately it's true," said an emotional Gribble. "Josh was something special. It will be hard not to have him here. I found out Friday night and have just been in shock since then."

The same newspaper shared that reports of Bird's death were also were posted on the Wisconsin Wrestling Online Facebook account on Saturday afternoon, and tweeted out on several accounts.

"Bird was a monster on the mat," tweeted Abigail Ruckdashel, the managing editor of Wisconsin Wrestling Online, where several others commented on Bird's death.

Through his Twitter account, Burlington Standard Press reporter Mike Ramczyk remembered Bird as funny and friendly. "And the best wrestler I've had the privilege of covering," he wrote.

In the years since Bird had graduated from high school, the two-time Burlington High state champ returned to his hometown and was training to become a carpenter, according to Bird's wrestling coach Gribble said, adding that his star wrestler had purchased a house, living in town and happier than ever, Gribble said.

Funeral arrangements have just been announced.

A Celebration of Joshua's Life will be held on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Burlington Chocolate Festival Grandstand, 681 Maryland Ave. Please enter grounds off Maryland Ave.

Schuette-Daniels Funeral Home & Crematory
625 S. Browns Lake Drive
Burlington, WI 53105
(262) 763-3434

To honor Joshua's life, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family and will be split up amongst the family's favorite charities.


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