2004 John Berndt  Reedsburg.jpgJohn Berndt was born, raised, and continues to reside in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. His interest in the sport of wrestling began after he served in the Navy. His brother, Dick Berndt, won the fIrst state championship for Reedsburg, and Clarence Lee, the coach, encouraged John to get involved in the sport as a referee. His thirty-one years of officiating began very simply by refereeing the varsity wrestle offs for experience, and his career and love of the sport took off.

During his thirty-one years which included a one year hiatus while his son Tom wrestled his senior year, John refereed 930 high school dual meets, 155 invitational tournaments, 28 WIAA Regional.tournaments, 23 WIAA Sectional tournaments, and 9 WIAA State tournaments. This would total approximately 16, 720 matches. His travel just for refereeing equaled about 93,000 miles and 1160 nights away from home. The most memorable dual he refereed was the 1969 competition between Mineral Point and Richland Center. John also helped start a weekend camp for low income families. The camp charged just five dollars for the entire weekend to help offset costs. John exchanged reffmg duties for coaches who would then come and help instruct at the clinic. He was also instrumental in starting 16 wrestling clubs throughout the state of Wisconsin. While working with the Reedsburg Westling Club, he started the scholarship program which still helps wrestlers with college expenses.

John worked the college circuit as well for several years. He worked the State College Tournament, Division 3 Nationals, and the Northern Open for 13 years. His work with the youth is also meritorious. He donated his time refereeing all around the area at youth tournaments. He also provided rides for several wrestlers to weekend tournaments. Two of those wrestlers included his sons. Tim earned second place at the state tournament two years, and Tom earned a state title his sell10r year.

Throughout his many years in the sport, John has met many people and made lasting friendships. His retirement from refereeing has not negated his love for the sport. He still makes the NCAA tournament an annual trip.

John and his wife Bonnie have five children: Tina (Fred) Farber lives in Reedsburg, Tammy (Heath) Gilkes who lives and teaches in Westby, WI., Tim who lives and .works construction in Mineral Point, WI, Tom(Angie) who lives and runs a business in Rainbow City, AL, and Ted who lives and works in Minneapolis, MN.