'Bomber' Olsen was local boxing legend
Kevin Cederstrom firstname.lastname@example.org It was a fitting nickname for a colorful character who spent much of his life around and promoting boxing in the area. Simon "Bomber" Olsen passed away March 23 and his funeral held March 29 in New York Mills. Fami...
It was a fitting nickname for a colorful character who spent much of his life around and promoting boxing in the area. Simon "Bomber" Olsen passed away March 23 and his funeral held March 29 in New York Mills.
Family and friends of Bomber put together a pretty unique collage of photos, newspapers, fight cards, and promotion posters. This tribute was on display at the funeral last week and now sits in Mills Lanes.
Although most of the information in the display is not dated, Bomber promoted Golden Gloves boxing in the Mills area throughout the 1970s and 80s, where his six sons had varying success in the ring.
Bomber was a legend in the fight game, promoting fights around the region, including City Hall in Mills and at his farm on Rush Lake.
As the story goes on fight night in Mills, Bomber used to pull guys off the street with the promise of a steak dinner to fill the card. And, while taking some local kids to fight somewhere in Minnesota, Bomber picked up a young man hitchhiking. Bomber told the kid he'd give him a ride if he came along to fight with the team.
Bomber graduated from NY Mills High School in 1943. he enlisted in the Marine Corp in 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1945. His obituary listed Bomber's hobbies as extensive boxing, which took him all over the United States. When he didn't have a car he'd hitchhike to all parts of the country to either fight or promote fights.
An undated newspaper article included in the display has the headline, Bomber Olsen: Take on all comers in his boxing career. "Taking on all comers was often the only we he could get fights as an amateur boxer during the 1940s.
"I didn't ask who I was fighting, Olsen said in the article. "I'd take on anybody, as an amateur."
By his estimation, the story stated at the time, Olsen has about 200 fights under his belt, including Golden Gloves tournaments, exhibition bouts in the Marines, and as a professional. In addition to fights in the Midwest, he was on cards as far east as New York and as far west as California.
Bomber said in the story one of the greatest things about boxing was the people he met. Among those was the great Joe Louis, world heavyweight champion in the 1940s. Louis, often referred to as the "Brown Bomber" was indirectly responsible for Olsen's nickname. Olsen said he defeated his opponent so soundly that a local sportswriter referred to him as "Bomber" in his column and the name stuck.
Bob Tubandt knew Bomber for a long time. Tubandt has coached and promoted boxing in Wadena nearly 40 years. He knew Bomber well and recalls how much the Mills boxing icon did to promote the sport in the area. Bomber did what he had to do to make a fight card and put on a good show. Whether it was picking up hitchhikers or pulling guys off the street, Tubandt said, Bomber certainly didn't mean to hurt anyone, he just wanted to make a fight card.