Partnership celebrates its 41st banquet and boxing exhibition
The Upper Midwest Golden Gloves and Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association held its annual boxing exhibition on Jan. 24, raising money to fund scholarships for students and young athletes.
The partnership began in 1976, when former Golden Gloves president and MPMA board member Chuck Hales of Hales Machine Tool needed to raise money to take Upper Midwest boxers to nationals. At the time, Golden Gloves held its national championship in Hawaii, and with no funds to attend, Hales got creative and married his favorite pastime with his livelihood.
“I brought the two together and no one [from the industry] knew too much about boxing,” Hales said. “But it was for a good cause and everyone had so much fun, it just kept growing and growing.”
The partnership proved to be a success from the start. As MPMA’s largest annual event, the boxing exhibition now welcomes between 400 to 600 members of the manufacturing industry for a night of networking, dinner, and fights. Firms can also donate money to become corner sponsors, or they can directly sponsor a boxer in a bout. With rival firms tending to be pitted up against each other, firms can place bets and donate additional funds while taking a gamble on competing boxers.
The event now funds $5,000 worth of scholarships every year for young athletes in the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves program. The scholarships encourage young boxers to pursue higher education, going on to attend colleges, universities or trade schools. Promoting the physical and emotional well-being and social development of each athlete, Golden Gloves stays true to their mission to provide opportunities for young boxers. The sport teaches discipline, sportsmanship, and work ethic, among many valuable skills to young athletes.
The funds also continue to allow local boxers to attend the National Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament every year. Held in a different location each year, the event will help to send qualifying boxers to compete in Lafayette, Louisiana in May.
MPMA is the largest manufacturing association in Minnesota. The organization works to connect and benefit the manufacturing industry through communication efforts, lobbying, workforce development and more. As host of this annual exhibition, the event is beneficial to students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing.
“Along the way, it became a joint fundraising effort,” MPMA Executive Director Jaime Nolan said. “At this event, we raise an average of $12,000 net for Golden Gloves, and then the other money that is raised helps to fund some of our workforce development efforts and advocacy efforts.”
In addition to encouraging students to pursue higher education in engineering-related fields, Nolan said these funds help MPMA’s many advocacy efforts at the state capitol. The organization often lobbies for important issues that involve member businesses and the manufacturing industry as a whole.
Upper Midwest Golden Gloves President Sean Clerkin said the bond between Golden Gloves and MPMA grows stronger year after year.
“They’re such a friendly group,” Clerkin said. “We’re happy that the association gives us a venue for our young men and women to show their wares, and helps us provide the scholarships for these kids.”
Clerkin is the Columbia Heights Firehouse Gym’s assistant head coach as well as a National Golden Gloves Hall of Fame inductee.
Hales is also a National Golden Gloves Hall of Famer and is currently the program’s Upper Midwest executive director. Hales said he did not expect that this event would continue to be so successful year after year, but he is thankful for the opportunity to help out the kids.
“It’s important for these funds to go to education, that’s the main thing, it really helps the kids,” Hales said.
Those interested in supporting local boxers can attend the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Championship held at Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minnesota, on April 22 and 23. For tickets, call 218-547-2744 or visit northernlightscasino.com. Qualifying boxers from this tournament will then go on to nationals in May.
Contact Sarah Burghardt at [email protected]