- Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

August 28, 2012

What's fair when fighting an ape?

STONEBORO — Did you ever hear the one about the guy who fought a gorilla at The Great Stoneboro Fair?

It might sound too crazy to be true, but Dale McFadden has been sharing his story for years and has yet to grow tired of recounting that day in 1959.

"Back then I was strong as a bull and quick as lightning, but that gorilla was faster," he said Monday.

McFadden, 70, of Findley Township, was 17 at the time and living in Nectarine in Venango County. The caged gorilla was a side show of sorts, with the trainer urging fair-goers to fight the gorilla to win cash.

"Nobody would go in," said McFadden, who couldn't remember the name of the trainer or gorilla, which weighed about 130 pounds to his 115.

After working up "a little too much courage" he credits to a few beers and typical teen-boy behavior of wanting to show off, McFadden decided he was up for the challenge.

He didn't feel prepared to defend himself against the gorilla, which was muzzled and wearing boxing gloves, with a crowd of paying onlookers gathered around the cage.

"I didn't know he was going to box," said McFadden, who thought they were going to wrestle.

One round was enough to leave McFadden with a bloody lip after the animal punched him in the head. The gorilla also kicked at him and left him with scrapes across his knuckles. "I did get my five dollars," he said of sticking it out for a few minutes; he would have walked away with $50 if he knocked over the gorilla.

McFadden, who thinks he might have bought more beer with his winnings, received first aid treatment along with the trainer, who was scratched by the gorilla after removing the gloves.

He recalls the gorilla coming back to the fair for several more years before an animal rights group shut it down, saying the caged fights were considered cruel to animals.

"He entertains the grandkids with the story," said McFadden's wife of 43 years, Judy. They have two children and four grandchildren and plan on attending the fair this year.

Published Aug. 22, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy of 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

Text Only
Local News
  • IDC speaker Route 208 area keeps growing

    The Route 208 corridor that encompasses Grove City and Pine and Springfield townships was the main focus at Friday’s annual meeting of the 79-80 Interstate Development Corp., its members learning more about current and potential projects.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drilling permits, 14 violations recorded

    Fourteen violations and multiple permits for gas and oil drilling were issued over the past month, according to records detailing activities in and around the Allied News coverage area.

    April 18, 2014

  • Winter's chilling cost

    Grove City Borough Council will be considering options to pass along a $200,000 electric bill to residents – maybe.

    April 18, 2014

  • pryts,monica-headshot.jpg Allied coverage wins 2 press awards

    Allied News and The Herald garnered awards in the annual Keystone Press Awards, sponsored by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • grilling organic chicken.jpg Connections made for the future of local foods

    Representatives of Sustainable Slippery Rock and the Northwest Pennsylvania Growers Cooperative, along with community members, came together Wednesday night to exchange ideas about area food systems and raise awareness of local sustainability.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • holocaust speaker1.jpg Finding good in the darkest time

    Paul Bartrop works hard to find the good - accounts of heroism and selfless acts - in one of the most evil events known to mankind: the Holocaust.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • College to raze old middle school

    At 101 years old, the former Grove City Middle School will soon be razed.
    Last summer, Grove City College purchased the middle school at 130 E. Main St. from Grove City Area School District. It was built in 1913.

    April 16, 2014

  • Board sets calendar, make-up days

    Slippery Rock school directors on Monday set the calendar for the 2014-15 school year and scheduled the remaining two snow make-up days for students.

    April 16, 2014

  • goalball trio2.jpg Sports group serves blind, visually impaired

    A non-profit organization based at Slippery Rock University that serves blind and visually-impaired children is gearing up for its spring sports clinic, among other events and fundraisers that keep participants and organizers busy year-round.

    April 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • girl scouts2.jpg Sold!


    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide