Remembering Bronko Nagurski

Twenty years ago in early January, legendary football player Bronko Nagurski died in International Falls at the age of 81. Nagurski, was an All-American at two positions, defensive tackle and fullback while at the University of Minnesota in the 1920s. The 6-foot, 225-pound hard-hitting Nagurski played in the NFL for the Chicago Bears from 1930-1943. After football, he wrestled professionally until he retired from sports and returned to his hometown of International Falls where he operated a service station until 1968.

Born Bronislau Nagurski to Ukrainian parents, Bronko is a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is in many Hall of Fames, including the Duluth Arena Sports Hall of Fame.

He was successful in many things, including the story about his gas station in downtown International Falls.

A visitor to the Canadian border town asked whether or not he was a successful gas station owner.

"Once someone gets gas from Bronko, they never go anyplace else," a local told him.

"Is the service good?" asked the visitor.

"No, not really," said the local.

"Does he have the best price?"

"Actually he is about three cents more expensive than everybody else in town."

"Then the gas must be better."

"No, it’s just the regular gas from Standard Oil."

"Then why does everyone keep coming back to Bronko?"

"Because when Bronko Nagurski puts your gas cap on, no one but Bronko Nagurski can get it back off."




3 Responses

  1. bonnie laseter

    my grandmother gertie beers was den mother @ sigma ki during the time bronko nagurski was there. we lived on unniversity ave in S.E.Mpls @ the time.She would talk about him all the time and how big he was and also how nice he was.

  2. Jim Cody

    My family made yearly trek’s through International Falls in the ’60’s. Bronkos Gas Station was always a must stop for us. My fondest memories of Bronko was standing on his feet while he was talking with my Dad and shaking his hand (they were huge!!) I also recall one trip going behind the counter in the gas station and seeing a drawing of a football player that was really neat. At the time I had no clue who Bronco was, He was just a BIG nice man to me. Years later, I saw that same picture when visiting the Football Hall of Fame. It was the picture above his bust !

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