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SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Emile Dupre

Emile Dupre with a couple of fans. - photo courtesy Terry Dart
REAL NAME: Emile Goguen
BORN: October 20, 1936 in Shediac, New Brunswick
6'0", 225 pounds
Emile Dupre talks really fast on the phone. He's obviously a busy man. Only a few minutes to talk.

Besides being the promoter of the Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling circuit every summer, Dupre, 62, has a variety of business interests around his hometown of Shediac, New Brunswick.

Yet in 10 minutes of conversation with Dupre, a lot of ground is covered -- from when he started to the 1999 summer tour.

Dupre's summer wrestling circuit has come to be known as one of the best regular training grounds in North America, and is one of the few promotions still running shows every day of the week.

Looking back, Dupre has a charming, Maritime way of describing how things progressed - wrestling-wise - to where they are today. He had gotten involved with the promotion in 1964 or 1965, helping out Cowboy Len Hughes, the promoter at that time. Hughes was getting on in age, and needed some help.

It snowballed from there. "Geez, I got involved bigger and bigger and bigger and finally I end up with a television show that lasted 17 years," recalled Dupre. "Then I had some of the best wrestlers the world ever produced."

Dupre first got involved in wrestling in 1956. He was into weightlifting and trained with Vic Butler and Reggie Richard, who had dabbled in amateur and pro wrestling in Moncton, NB. They said that he had potential, and he gave it a go.

He started in the Boston-area, and within a short period of time, had been pretty well across the continent, plus tours to Australia and New Zealand.

"I wasn't a real heavy guy," Dupre explained. "I was a slim, slim wrestler with a Lou Thesz, a Verne Gagne type of body."

His home base was still New Brunswick, so it was a natural to get involved with the local promotion.

Recent grads from the Grand Prix tour who have gone on to bigger things are Edge, Christian, Cyrus/Jackyl and Kurrgan.

Dupre claimed that their success did not surprise him. "Nothing surprises me in this business. I don't get surprised any more," he said. "When I see guys that have potential, I say to myself, 'gee, I think if the right guys see them, they're going right to the top.' And that's exactly what happens in many cases."

The WWF has sent him wrestlers, like former CFL star Glenn Kulka, to be on the tour. This year, Paul Orndorff came to Halifax to scout talent for WCW.

Each spring, Dupre gets out his wrestling ring and sets up shop in Shediac.

"I don't run a wrestling school," said Dupre. "If I talk to you and think you have potential, I'd train you and not charge you. ... Maybe to get a couple of guys with fat bellies hanging out saying 'hey, I want to collect a couple of thousand of dollars from you, show you a couple of dozen holds and send you home', I'm not going to do that."

Rene Rougeau, who is on his second tour of duty with Grand Prix, is a recent example of someone trained by Dupre. In return, the trainer/promoter doesn't automatically expect the student to tour with the company. "There's no contract," Dupre said. "If you like it and you want to get on the tour with us, you're welcome. That's how it works with me, anyways." (Rene Rougeau is actually Emile's son. For more on him, see his bio page.)

The 1999 tour was dubbed the Legends of Grand Prix 99 and has been very successful, according to Dupre.

"The people are thrilled to the bones just to see them one more time," he said. "They figure it's their last kick at the can kind of thing."

 -- GREG OLIVER, SLAM! Sports
Family

  • Rene Dupre bio and story archive
  • August 2, 2006: Jeff Dupre continues family legacy
    Stories



    Memories

     Myself and my friend had the opportunity to meet the legendary Emile Dupree at the 99 AGP Tour in Berwick Nova Scotia. As always Dupree had put together a top notch card including the Cuban Assassin and The Beast. Nothing would make us happier to get a chance to see the tour continue in the new millennium. Having grown up with the greatest wrestling alliance ever put together the 99 tour brought back tremendous memories. The ability to see Bob Bass, the Cuban, the beast and Leo Burke, brought back memories of Big Stephen Petitpas, the Great Mulumba, Killer Karl Krupp and Stompin Paul Peller. If Dupree can continue to combine some of the great new young wrestlers with the legendary blasts from the past he brought to our region last summer the future for AGP looks bright. The only thing that could be better is if Emile himself would jump into a pair of trunks and hit his former adversaries with continuous mule kicks aka fish kicks. Hopefully a Contract will be signed with ATV and the programming would include the recent tour and feature a match from the past each week. All the best to Emile and the boys keep up the great work and we will be patiently awaiting your return.
      Doug "Gator" Wilson and James Charters.
     To read that AGPW was on local TV for 17 years is a real wakeup call. Gone are the days when wrestling was on Saturday at 2 and the same guys came to your town on Wednesday night. Now wrasslin' is available 24-7. The biz is smarter and the fans are much 'Smarter'. Sure I was a kid when I watched AGPW and I didn't know if it was fake or not and I would be surprised when I would see Leo Burke, Killer Karl Krupp, Big Stephen Petipas and The Cuban Assasin all leave in the big white car together. But it didn't matter (No Rock Reference) it was simply just wrestling. No soap opera stuff here. It would be AWSOME if ATV would open up their vaults and let us relive 17 years of memories with Mr. McCluckCluck & the Gang. Anyone who grew up here can still tell you who was who. Man, just look who was here and what happened to a lot of them. As far as the 2000 Tour goes, I'll be there with a smile on watching the vets go at it !
     Keep it up Emile !!!!
     Robbie Mac
     We the boys of coronation avenue would like too thank Emile for his assistance in the ring in presenting him with his own scrap book and hoping too see him at another event this summer and having more great moments like the one we had at the Berwick arena.We hope you enjoyed the scrap book and that the other AGP stars of past years enjoy the book like we have once again thank you from the boys of coronation ave and keep AGP alive for years too come.
     SCRAPBOOK GATOR WILSON
     Those were the good ol' days when they used to wrestle in that small hall. Where in the WWF do you see them smashing their opponent's head off the fuse box!
     Now living in Virginia, I like to think of these things that still make me Canadian -- and weekends were always reserved for Grand Prix Wrestling and Hockey Night in Canada.
     I like the web-site, now if only I can get the original theme to the show to make my life complete.
     Charlie MacLeod (Sydney, N.S.), Richmond VA