NWA Member: Tex Hager
Admitted to Organization:
Spokane Office: Sillman Hotel
Phone Number: Riverside 1136 (1955)
Recognized Titles: Intermountain Junior Heavyweight, Intermountain Tag Title
Territory Cities: Spokane, Boise, Walla Walla, Seattle (1956-'59)
Local Promoters: Dale Haddock (Walla Walla)
Tex Hager was one of the most unique members of the National Wrestling Alliance, not
so much for his behavior, but for the range of his "territory" and because of the moves
he made while operating as a wrestling booking agent. Hager, a former wrestler, was the
established operator in Boise, Idaho. According to the June 1953 issue of NWA Official
Wrestling, Hager was closing up for the summer in Boise in June, and was going to
"concentrate his promotional ability on a new territory, hinging around Spokane,
Washington, where matches are being televised every Thursday night."
The article continued by stating that Hager was going to run summer shows in places like
Walla Walla, Trail, Canada, and in Kellogg, Wallace, and Couer D'Alene, Idaho. Plus,
instead of weekly programs, Boise was going to see "spot" shows with wrestlers like
Verne Gagne and Lou Thesz.
A little background on Hager's promotional expansion shows that he took over Walla
Walla, Washington from Jack Kennedy on April 21, 1951. His matchmaker was Dale
Haddock. The Walla Walla Union Bulletin (1/6/52) reported that Hager had also
acquired rights in Spokane and Lewiston, connecting Washington State "with the
Southern Idaho and Utah circuit."
For failure to submit payment for his NWA dues, Hager was removed as an official
On April 10, 1955, Dave Reynolds, Alliance member from Utah, wrote a letter to Sam
Muchnick, telling him about a conversation he had with Hager recently. "Tex also
explained his check was returned to you marked 'return to sender' not because of
insufficient funds but because his bank account was tied up due to personal affairs,"
Reynolds wrote. "He said that he was wrong in not answering your letters but was so
busy and had so much on his mind that he neglected it. He thought you had acted a
little hasty in suspending him, it was his thought that the Alliance was to help one
another and he surely needed the help now."
Reynolds wanted Muchnick to reinstate Hager, telling him that Hager would "send his
dues in immediately."
It was reported that Hat Freeman and Gus Cozza were teaming up in a "new"
promotional enterprise out of Spokane with Hager as the main booking agent. The
shows were going to move from the Interstate Fairgrounds to the Coliseum, and on
March 1, 1956, their program drew 3,200 fans with Kurt Von Poppenheim going over
Hardy Kruskamp in the main event.
Carnera missed a wrestling date in Spokane on April 12, 1956 and Hager told the press
that he had sent Primo plane fare to Los Angeles, and didn't know why he failed to
show. Hager was forced to offer fans their money back and 40 took it. Louis August of
the local commission wanted Carnera suspended in both Washington and California until
he was able to appear locally.
Around September 1956, Hager assumed control of the Seattle Booking franchise, which
likely was closed down, and he booked the city from his Spokane office. Replacing NWA
member "Whipper" Billy Watson and promoter Ken Kenneth, Hager did away with the
regular heavyweight presentations at the Eagles' Auditorium, and brought in his talented
junior heavyweight crew - among them Red Bastien, Kurt Von Poppenheim, and Ed
To solidify his Seattle promotion, Hager obtained live television on channel 13 (KTVW)
for his Monday programs at the Eagles Auditorium from 9-10:00 beginning on October 8,
1956. Al Brightman was going to do commentary from ringside and the special guest for
the first show was Frank Stojack.
Seattle went to the Don Owen booking office in September 1959, promoted by Harry
Elliott. Elliott, incidentally, began to promote many of the cities Hager left behind in Idaho
and Washington, using talent from the Eugene/Portland office.
Research by Tim Hornbaker, Becky Taylor
January 22, 2011
|Spokane Booking Office