Gerry Bomba in his guard stance with the Winnipeg Tec-Voc Hornets in his high school days.

Bomba built for Manitoba football shrine

The second time Gerry Bomba was caught smoking by his high school football coach, he finally learned his lesson.

The second time Gerry Bomba was caught smoking by his high school football coach, he finally learned his lesson.

“The coach made me run the field with a blocking bag on my head,” laughed Bomba. “I couldn’t believe how long that field was. He told me if I got caught again, I’d get suspended. I quit smoking.”

Bomba, a retired RCMP member, was an acrobatic left guard with the Winnipeg Tec-Voc Hornets who won the school’s first city high school title in 1957 and then repeated as champions the following season and added the provincial crown.

The Hornets were inducted into the Football Manitoba Hall of Fame at an August ceremony at the Viscount Gort Hotel in Winnipeg.

“When I was in Grade 11, we had a bigger line than the (CFL Winnipeg Blue) Bombers so my Grade 12 year was pretty special because nobody expected us to win,” said Bomba, 76, who resides in the Quail Run area of Vernon with his high school sweetheart/wife Marion.

The smiling 5-foot-10 Bomba was packing 191 pounds of muscle in high school. He wore No. 83 for the Hornets.

“I was a wrestler at the YMCA and I was a pretty good diver in wrestling so I could dive and make a tackle in football.”

The Hornets defeated the Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute Maroons in both title games.

“They used to kill us in seasons before so it was a surprise when we beat them. We won by a safety touch. We had an excellent coaching staff and the players are still like a brotherhood. I counted 16 guys off our team at the hall of fame ceremony. We had lots of laughs.”

Teammate Bob Kuryk was there. He was an all-star in eight seasons with the St. Vital Bulldogs that won the Canadian intermediate championship in 1962 and the senior title in 1968 and 1969.

In addition to Kuryk, the Hornets’ lineup included quarterback Bud Ulrich and lineman Bernie Novak. Both later became officials.

Ulrich, a CFL referee, was inducted into the provincial shrine in 2010 and Novak into the Winnipeg High School Football Hall in 2009. Novak attended the media conference wearing his Tec Voc team jacket, which was more than a little snug.

“Bud was also a very strong athlete in hockey. He could run and had a pretty good arm,” said Bomba. “He also refereed hockey and he wrote a book called Cracked Ice which I’m just about done reading.”

Bomba belonged to the YMCA weightlifting club, where he also excelled in wrestling and did some boxing. He set a city record for deadlifting 450 pounds in squats.

At 18, he was the youngest wrestler named to Team Canada. He was measured for a uniform prior to the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games Games in Cardiff, Wales but never got the chance to compete.

“The Ontario champion, a guy named Bob Steckle, was a farmer and he couldn’t go, maybe because he had to work. They ended up only sending two divisions (Bomba was a light heavyweight) because they didn’t want to spend the money.”

Bomba wrestled into his early 30s while serving the RCMP in 13 places, including his first post in Vernon. He also worked in Williams Lake and Maple Ridge.

“I wrestled the Pacific Northwest champion once at the PNE (Agridome),” chuckled Bomba. “I missed making my weight by four pounds so had to fight a heavyweight who was 270. The guy who wrestled him before me was also 270 and he lasted 15 seconds. I lasted four rounds and won on points. I had a plan to run him around the ring, but he was just as fast as me.”

He played one exhibition game for Junior A Winnipeg Rods and turned down offers to wrestle and/or play university football at North Dakota, Kansas and Missouri–Kansas City

Born in the Ukraine, Bomba’s father was a carpenter and his mother a bookkeeper. His father’s work inspired him in high school.

“I took drafting in school and I built and designed two of my houses and some for friends.”

Bomba was the first from Tec-Voc to join the police force, followed by teammate and good buddy Don Marchand.

Eight knee surgeries later and Bomba stays fit with a gym in his basement. He also does some trout fishing and boating.

Bomba and his wife, Marion, have two sons, Mark, of Langley, and Matt, of Vernon, both active in sports.

 

Just Posted

Two drowning incidents on Okanagan Lake serve as safety reminder

B.C. drowning fatalities down compared to August 2018

Vernon summer concert series extended

Extra week added to Downtown Vernon Association’s popular summer concerts at city hall

Dog lost in Vernon, do not approach

Owner on the hunt for her fur baby, Kasper

Pickleball tourney swinging into Vernon

More than 300 players will compete in the tournament’s third year.

Vernon mayor lists two potential new sites for cultural centre

Victor Cumming said while old hotel site is preferred, old Civic Arena or Polson Park remain in play

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Black bear kills donkey in Revelstoke, put down by RCMP

Conservation Officer says once they attack livestock they are a danger to the public

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab in Surrey

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Shuswap SPCA seeks funds to treat dog that may lose an eye

Two surgeries for severe eye infection unsuccessful, removal a consideration

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival exceeds expectations

Artists, attendees and organizers praise effort behind successful event

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

Most Read