SOUTHERN RASSLIN, CRESTVIEW FL, BRAD ARMSTRONG…

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Jordan Coulson and I will be doing a weekly “Odd-Cast” covering an array of topics from wrestling, music, current events, etc… and discuss them any way we see fit!  I will have a start date and time very soon and hope you tune in.

I had a great time in Crestview Fl last weekend and am looking forward to doing another seminar and live event in Union, SC this Saturday (May 4) at the Union County Fairgrounds.

Promoter Heath Childs put on a great event in Crestview. It took me back to a time when 500 passionate wrestling fans filled a local armory and got a solid night of action.  They also got to meet and mingle with performers on the card as well as legendary guest, Don Fargo.

Heath was trained to wrestle by Steve and Scott Armstrong and has that old school respect for the business.  The crew he had were professional and it was a pleasure and refreshing being in a locker room full of people on the same page.  Fan interaction on this level is vital and Heath made it as fan friendly as possible.

We went for sushi Friday night and reminisced about the Armstrongs and the old school ways.  The great thing to see and hear was Heath’s passion and respect for professional wrestling.  Some people talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.  Not the case here.  The event was promoted and attention to detail was evident.  I had a feeling I was in the right place.

Passing through Alabama and small towns in the Florida panhandle jogged my memory from the mid to late 80’s.  Surprisingly, not much seemed to change!  The real test would be the crowd in Crestview and they didn’t disappoint.  I don’t know what it is about places like Tennessee, Alabama and Florida but there seems to be more passionate, true-blue wrestling fans than anywhere else.  They remember their heroes like Bullet Bob Armstrong and Don Fargo along with guys like me who stayed a few years and had some career defining moments along the way!

I’m doing Fan Fest in Charlotte the first week of August.  I have the honor of hosting a 4 day camp with  guest coaches Les Thatcher, Gerry Brisco and Tully Blanchard.  Charlotte is an awsome wrestling city and no doubt will draw some intense pro wrestling fanatics…

I have a camp scheduled for July 13 in St. Louis and will have more information soon.  I’m working on some other camps and appearances for the summer but one in particular will be special and gut wrenching…

June 8 will be The Brad Armstrong Memorial Cup at the Milton Community Center in Milton, Fl.  Bell time is 8 PM. All proceeds will go to a college trust fund for Brad’s daughter, Jillian.

Any “Memorial” show for a colleague or acquaintance is hard, but when it’s for a friend and someone you cared about and had a connection with compounds the void they left.  I had a hard time keeping my composure during a 10 bell salute to Brad and Paul Bearer in Crestview.  Both were what I would call friends and I miss them.  Brad was my best friend and I owe him big time for just being a friend in times when there was no where to turn.  The “cliche” that Brad never met a stranger is true.  He was a loving husband and dad.  He was also a son, brother and friend.  On June 8, Brad’s family and friends will gather in his honor to celebrate his life and have some wrestling matches at the same time.  While I wish he could be there so I could work against him in a tag I know he’ll be right there with us laughing and joking.

I met and talked with some interesting people in Crestview.  It reminded me why I wanted to be a part of this business.  We’re all connected one way or another.  In an intimate setting like an Armory or Community Center fans have an opportunity to mingle with performers and like minded people.

I’ve taken heat for my obscure tastes in the past.  Wrestlers and fans alike wear their feelings on their sleeves…literally at times! Talking with people and having similar knowledge or interests can produce a bond.  I believe fans attending a wrestling match at an Armory in the Florida panhandle have a lot more in common than wrestling…

I know we can never go back to the way things were.  But driving back from Crestview made me think about making trips to Birmingham, Pensacola, Panama City, Dothan, Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville, Columbus MS, Gadsden, Opp, Anniston and why we didn’t mind so much.  We loved the business.  We loved being on the road and doing something different every night.  It was a fun time to be a professional wrestler and the Pensacola area was a place we could work, enjoy the beach, short trips and make a decent living.

Heath Childs runs an annual show and does his best to have a Continental representation and keep the vibe alive.  Everyone did a tremendous job from top to bottom.  I hope to have the opportunity to do it again next year.

While working on this blog I hit something and deleted a lot of content.  Ah, modern technology… I welcome any comments or feedback.

I’ll have more on the pod/odd cast next week as well as a report from Union, SC.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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