Winner:Verne Gagne

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Winning Nomination

When we think of Minnesota's influence on the performing arts we may think of the Guthrie, Prince, Keillor or maybe Josh Hartnett. I believe the most often-overlooked Minnesotan who has had a lasting influence on the performing arts nationally would be Verne Gagne, former owner/promoter of the American Wrestling Association (AWA), based in Minneapolis. Gagne's work through the AWA as a wrestler and wrestling promoter shaped the early days of professional wrestling and set the stage for pro wrestling's eventual growth into a multi-billion dollar industry.
~Mitch Vars, Minneapolis, MN

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