Grappling with fair fun

First-ever professional wrestling event brings in mediocre results

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Alex The Great greets the fans at the WMA pro wrestling match during the fair Friday night. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

Alex The Great greets the fans at the WMA pro wrestling match during the fair Friday night.

The first-time professional wrestling event for the 2012 Montezuma County Fair wasn’t as successful as organizers had hoped.

The event did not draw enough people to break even fair organizers said on Friday night as the wrestling matches unfolded.

About 100 people showed up to watch the professional wrestling event that resembled more of a comedy skit than actual wrestling.

Ronda Weir, treasurer for the fair board, said the goal was to find an event for the entire community to come out and enjoy, not just for people who came to participate in the livestock showings and sales.

“We are trying to bring in something different to try to bring more people out,” Weir said.

She said last year the fair had a concert, but this year the fair board decided to go in a different direction because the concert was not well attended.

The decision was to go in a different and unique direction.

She said the wrestling company based out of Omaha, Neb. sent the fair board information about what it could bring to the 2012 fair. She said the fair board agreed that it could be a fun and entertaining event.

Rodney Cox, fair board president, said the idea for the wrestling show was to have an event for people who normally would not have visited the fairgrounds for the annual fair.

The event itself received mixed reviews from the people attending, many who were expecting real wrestling competition rather than a show.

Mike Bradford, who has lived in the area for decades and has attended numerous fairs, agreed that the wrestling show was something different, but added it was also a fun one for families to enjoy.

“It’s kind of corny,” he said. “I hope it will be better with the top guys (in the main events),” he said.

Mike Ledford said he liked the new event, and mentioned he had been a wrestling fan for more than 25 years, but had never been to a live event until Friday.

“I am having a blast so far,” he said. “There is always a bit of acting in wrestling, but it’s still entertaining.”

Cortez resident Paul Turk said the wrestling event helped cap off three days of activities heading into the weekend.

“I didn’t expect this at all,” he said. “It’s a lot different, but a lot of fun.”

Clint Simmons, a Cortez resident since 1960, came out to the event with his family. He said it was hard to gauge the success of the event, and added the turnout may have been a little light but that was to be expected for its first year.

Max Baer said he would have preferred for the fair to put on boxing matches, and that the wrestling was kind of phony, but added it appeared the younger kids were enjoying themselves.

Lauren Bradford thought there was way too much acting that took away from the actual wrestling.

“I was excited to come. If I had known it was anything like this I would not have attended,” she said. “In my 23 years of coming to the fair I had never seen anything like this.”

The overall fair was another good and profitable one, Weir said.

While the number of livestock was down from previous years, Weir said the dollar amount in sales was very good when comparing it to past years.

There were 94 kids who participated in this year’s junior livestock fair and it generated $144,325 in comparison to 2011, when 121 4-H students sold their livestock for $127,300.

The top price belonged to Madison Lambert’s swine and Dallin Lanier’s steer at $3,900 each. The Grand Champion Beef Steer that belonged to Maniesha Buck sold for $3,600 to Southwest Memorial Hospital while Ryan Daves’ Reserve Champion Bred and Fed Steer sold for $3,600 to Citizen’s State Bank.

Weir said there were a few 4-H students who decided to take their livestock to the state fair to sell them there, but the exact number of these students was not available from fair organizers.

She also the fair board met and discussed on Sunday what worked and did not work this year.

“The only thing we need to change is the schedule to make things work better and to bring more people out,” Weir said.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com

Big John gets Everest in a headlock at the WMA pro wrestling event Friday night at the fair. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

Big John gets Everest in a headlock at the WMA pro wrestling event Friday night at the fair.

The referee tries to break up Austin Storm’s grip as he gets an illegal hold on Blasphemy at the WMA pro wrestling Friday night at the fair. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

The referee tries to break up Austin Storm’s grip as he gets an illegal hold on Blasphemy at the WMA pro wrestling Friday night at the fair.