The Story of Farmer Barney

Farmer Barney (right) in the ring.

Farmer Barney was born Bohuslav Votypka on the lower east side of Manhattan, New York City.  (The name Bohuslav means “Glory to God” or “Beloved One” in Czech.) His family was originally from Prague, Czech Republic, and moved to Hicksville, Long Island when he was young.

Mild mannered Bohuslav worked as a farmer by day and wrestled as “Farmer Barney” at night. He was Hicksville Athletic Club’s heavyweight champion for many years, and wrestled other champions from all over the world.

Farmer Barney  was a real fighter who practiced wrestling and grappling that is more akin to the mixed martial arts of today, although at times it could be even more brutal.

Farmer Barney’s new smile

January 25, 1929

Farmer Barney nowadays wears a smile that just won’t come off. No, he did not win from Strangler Lewis. A third son was born Tuesday morning. Alfred Martin is the name of the new wrestler.

Farmer Barney defeats DeGlane

September 28, 1928

Farmer Barney Votypka wrestled at Montreal Monday evening last, before a crowded house and met and defeated DeGlane, the French heavy weight. The time was 1 hour and 20 minutes. Since joining the big tent shows, the farmer champion has wrestled some of the best on the circuit and during the winter months expects to get into top notch form and will take all the “ big boys” as they come. From all reports the house went “mad” when the local wrestler dumped the Frenchman, who had been winning match after match inMontrealfor the past year, Barney is rematched for a finish bout at the same place Monday.

Farmer Barney Wins Again

September 14, 1928

An article appearing in the Brooklyn Times Tuesday has this to any of Farmer Barney when he met Abe Coleman in the bouts at Ridgewood Grove Monday evening:

Farmer Barney, who halls from Hicksville, brought with him a delegation from the Island and did not disappoint his following, pinning the shoulders of Abe Coleman, of Brooklyn, to the floor in 20 minutes, Coleman writhed and made a supreme effort to extricate himself from the powerful grasp of Farmer Barney. All the efforts of Coleman were futile, however, and he finally surrendered to the grasp. Farmer Barney tipped the scale at 195, 19 pounds more than Coleman.

Still Burned at Woodbury

April 29, 1927

Capt. William Yoakum, of the Nassau County police, a Federal agent, two policemen and four truck drivers narrowly escaped death when a still which they were dismantling  exploded and caught fire. Thebarn, 300×150 feet. On the farmer Richard Colyer farm on Woodbury road, which contained the still was burned to the ground before firemen responded to the alarm.

The eight men were on the first floor of the barn dismantling the still when there was a flash and a puff of smock and in an instant the interior of the barn was a mass of flame. All fled for their lives and escaped with a slight singeing.

The still was discovered in the raid Monday night.

The explosion was in the cellar, due no doubt to some of the live embers in the furnace coming in contact with alcohol spilled by the wrecking crew.  With the explosion there was a hurtling into the air of parts of the furnace and still and as the flaming fire brands fell the police and truck men jumped for their live. Two police cars and the truck were close to the building and it seemed for a time that they would catch fire. The police, however, got the car away without damage.

An alarm was sent to Central Park, Hicksville and Woodbury and the firemen responded but the barn and its contents were quickly destroyed and their efforts were useless.

The police say the owner of the barn is Barney Votypka of Woodbury. The police say that the plant which contained two 500-gallon stills and a large quantity of match and other articles used in the making of booze, was worth $100,000 it was the largest still found here since prohibition became effective.

GuiseppeRocamandalo 365 Rockaway avenue, Brooklyn. Who was found behind a still during the raid was arraigned yesterday before United States Commissioner Rasquin in Brooklyn and held in $10,000 ball on a charge of violation of the Volstead Act pending action of the Grand Jury.