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Thread: Al Oeming: Nature lover and wrestler was larger than life

  1. #1
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    Default Al Oeming: Nature lover and wrestler was larger than life

    Thought this really cool obituary of Oeming in the Globe & Mail deserved its own topic in the History section, which has quite a bit on the Alberta Game Farm and then Polar Park.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...ticle17910124/
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    I'll repost this short about Al from British Pathé from 1963: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/noah-of-the-north

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    I remember meeting Al on several occasions as he and my parents spoke German together when visiting his park. I still remember him bringing a cheetah to our elementary class and because he recognized me, he let me pet the cheetah.

    He loved telling the story of him being pulled over by the RCMP for driving near his farm on a back road. When the officer asked him why he was speeding he replied that he was out taking his cat for a run. The office did not believe him and Al told the officer to look behind him. The officer turned, saw the cheetah and leaped onto the hood of Al's car. Whether it was true or an embellished story, Al enjoyed telling it on many occasions.
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    As a kid it was the hilite of any school year to go to the Alberta Game Farm. By far the best and most popular field trip and better still that it was an allday trip. I remember every school trip out there. I remember everytime I managed to cajole my family into visiting the park on a weekend.
    I remember everytime I went out there as an adult half looking at the animals and half looking at memories and reminiscing while spending hours enjoying a peaceful park.
    It was with great sadness that I discovered that the park was under pressure and had to close and largely due to changing mores around zoos and animals in captivity. The reality for animals at Alberta Game Farm is they enjoyed a life in large compounds and with a longer life expectancy than would be had without fences...

    What an irony in a province famous for beef, chicken, pork, or rodeo that such things as Al Oeming's game farm became such a focal point of derision for alleged cruelty to animals. Very sad and misguided imho. I still think so. That place should exist today and our children would be the better for it.

    So with tears I bid a good bye to a friend that wasn't really a friend (I didn't know Al or his family) and to a home that wasn't really a home but just felt like it. I can't imagine how Al felt in his last 15yrs there with the love of his life shutdown. I still remember the place like yesterday. But it must have been an eternity.
    Last edited by Replacement; 10-04-2014 at 05:08 PM.
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    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    I remember attending a viewing of his Film 'Wild Splendor" where Al had his cheetah with him and he narrated the film live. I was ten or eleven at the time , but is still remember the film as pretty amazing. It was not everyday we saw a Cheetah on Vancouver island!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryH View Post
    I'll repost this short about Al from British Pathé from 1963: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/noah-of-the-north
    That's a neat old clip - thanks for posting it here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    As a kid it was the hilite of any school year to go to the Alberta Game Farm. By far the best and most popular field trip and better still that it was an allday trip. I remember every school trip out there. I remember everytime I managed to cajole my family into visiting the park on a weekend.
    I remember everytime I went out there as an adult half looking at the animals and half looking at memories and reminiscing while spending hours enjoying a peaceful park.
    It was with great sadness that I discovered that the park was under pressure and had to close and largely due to changing mores around zoos and animals in captivity. The reality for animals at Alberta Game Farm is they enjoyed a life in large compounds and with a longer life expectancy than would be had without fences...

    What an irony in a province famous for beef, chicken, pork, or rodeo that such things as Al Oeming's game farm became such a focal point of derision for alleged cruelty to animals. Very sad and misguided imho. I still think so. That place should exist today and our children would be the better for it.

    So with tears I bid a good bye to a friend that wasn't really a friend (I didn't know Al or his family) and to a home that wasn't really a home but just felt like it. I can't imagine how Al felt in his last 15yrs there with the love of his life shutdown. I still remember the place like yesterday. But it must have been an eternity.
    I will 2nd that if I may.

  9. #9

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    Was flipping through an old photo album and there were a number of pictures of our family talking with Al and pictures of his animals.

    He had the largest game farm in North America and significant success in acquiring rare species and breedings some species for the first time in North America. He had rhino's, siberian tigers, camels, elephants, grizzly bears, gorillas, lesser pandas, snow leopards, tapirs and the very rare Przewalski's horse, that he got from Mongolia, the first Przewalski's horses in North America breeding them successfully. They were and still are rarer than Giant Pandas

    Ran into a few images of Al Oeming on the web.

    One of his famous grizzlys (one of his most iconic photos)





    1950 picture with his wife & pet lynx. You can see fis pro wrestler physique.
    https://www.gettyimages.fi/photos/al...se=al%20oeming

    More pictures http://www.montrealgazette.com/busin...tml?id=3004235
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