For those who begin to think that their dreams are out of reach, photographer Kyle Wegner demonstrates that there are other ways to live them – even if it is not as intended.
Wegner grew up idolizing Hulk Hogan and other professional wrestlers. He became a staple in the crowd for ACW in Green Bay, Wis., in the front row. One day, he was invited to train as a wrestler and become part of the show.
He did so, and spent a couple of years in the NWA. That is, until he broke a rib and broke his neck.
When his dream of being a professional wrestler ended, he was invited to become a photographer. For the past several years, he has had the privilege of traveling through the Midwest. He has met dozens of popular, world-renown wrestlers (including Hulk Hogan) through his travels to events in Waterloo, Green Bay and elsewhere in the Midwest.
“It’s pretty fun to meet people you watched growing up,” Wegner said. He did not hear about the National Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo before a friend mentioned it. In just a few short days each year, he has grown close to other attendees.
“You become pretty family there in Iowa,” Wegner said.
Wegner has worked for McDonald’s in Denmark, Wis., for 22 years. He is grateful for the job, as it provides health insurance for him. Though he’s on the sidelines shooting pro wrestling – as well as Green Bay Packer football – there are still risks involved.
“It pays the bills,” he added about the McDonald’s job. As he’s been a photographer for so long, he has developed a following for his work. He also shoots weddings, senior photos, high school sports teams and more. Oftentimes, Make-a-Wish also employs his services. In Waterloo, he helped a little boy meet WWE’s Sheamus for Make-a-Wish.
Though he does not really watch pro wrestling on television anymore, he reads up about it. He also likes to keep up with what is going on with those wrestlers he has met in the past.
“You’ve got to support those people,” Wegner said.