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An Unlikely Combination

How MPMA’s Golden Gloves Event Began 

Every year, hundreds of people from across the state of Minnesota gather for an unlikely purpose: boxing and manufacturing. 

Guests of the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association sit at circular tables, sipping refreshments and cutting into a prime rib dinner as they cheer on their favorite boxer. The event has drawn thousands of people over nearly half a century, and it’s the association’s most popular one of the year. 

The Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association’s 47th Annual Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Banquet & Boxing Exhibition, which takes place this year on Tuesday, March 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Medina Entertainment Center, has remained a staple for the Minnesota manufacturing community for nearly half a century – and it all started with one person who happened to be passionate about both boxing and manufacturing: Chuck Hales. 

Hales passed away in 2020, but his legacy is palpable at each annual Golden Gloves event. 

“I brought the two together and no one (from the industry) knew too much about boxing,” Hales told MPMA back in 2018. “But it was for a good cause and everyone had so much fun, it just kept growing and growing.”

The partnership was popular from the start. It is the MPMA’s largest annual event, with about 500 attendees coming to the Media Entertainment Center each year to enjoy a prime rib dinner, networking, and several rounds of boxing bouts. MPMA members pay $109 a piece, or $840 for a table, to attend the event, and many companies also donate money to be corner sponsors, provide raffle prizes, or they can directly sponsor a boxer in a bout.

Every year, the event raises thousands of dollars that go towards scholarships for young athletes in the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves program. The scholarships encourage young boxers to pursue higher education and to attend colleges, universities, or trade schools.

The mission of Golden Gloves of America Inc. is to “provide an activity and safe environment that promotes and enhances the physical and emotional well-being and social development of young athletes; develop individual athletic skills, work ethic, discipline, sportsmanship, self-respect and pride.”

Hales said in 2018 that the lessons he learned in Golden Gloves as a boxer, coach and referee – compassion and respect for others, courage and patience – have given him a leg up in what became a highly successful business career.

Early on in his life, Hales was a machinist and eventually started his own business – Hales Machine Tool. He grew up in Staples, graduating from Staples High School, before residing in Maple Plain.

After he retired from coaching, Hales became involved at the administrative levels at Golden Gloves, serving in all of the roles over the years, including president. Hales also served as the Upper Midwest team manager at national tournaments. In 2016, he was inducted into the National Golden Gloves Boxing Hall of Fame, only the fourth Minnesotan to achieve such an honor. 

Although Hales is no longer with us, his legacy lives on at MPMA’s Golden Gloves event, and it’s felt every time a roar of applause or laughter rolls through the Medina Entertainment Center on the annual evening he dreamed up nearly half a century ago. 

To register for Golden Gloves, or to sponsor the event, click the link below. (Spots are filling up fast!)

Register Today

Post by Maddie Lemay
February 13, 2024

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