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Jetmore native became an Olympian
Peter Mehringer
Laura Hartley

LYONS – Lyons Public Library and Rice County Historical Society in Lyons will host “The Kansas Whirlwind: Peter Mehringer and Sports of the Depression Era,” a presentation and discussion by Laura Hartley at 7 p.m. on Monday Jan. 28, at Lyons Public Library, 201 West Main. This free program is made possible by Humanities Kansas.

During the Great Depression, school athletics in Kansas were limited. Students had to be resourceful. Wrestler Peter Mehringer did just that. Born in Jetmore, he taught himself to wrestle, served as high school wrestling coach while he was still a student, and hitchhiked his way to championship competitions. This presentation explores the incredible story of Mehringer and his rise to Olympic fame. 

Laura Hartley is a public historian and former codirector of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.

“Merhringer grew up in a German immigrant family with nine siblings during one of the most difficult periods in history,” said Hartley. “His success at the 1932 Olympics demonstrates what can be achieved by those with humble beginnings.”   

“The Kansas Whirlwind: Peter Mehringer and Sports of the Depression Era” is part of Humanities Kansas’s ( Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and workshops designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.

For more information contact Lyons Public Library, 620-257-2961, or visit