Wednesday, July 26, 2017
The Journey of a Journeyman: Psycho, Sellout, Smasher, Smoky Smothers
Country/state fair wrestling events are a staple of the Southern independent pro wrestling scene. Every summer, it seems work booms as promoters secure contracts to sell independent wrestling as an attraction to fair boards across the South. Yesterday was no different as I made my way to Madisonville, KY for the Hopkins County Fair.
Fair shows are always a gamble. Will we be indoors or outside? What size crowd will we have? Will they care? Will it rain? These questions ran through my mind as I made the 150 mile trek to Madisonville for All Star Wrestling.
All Star Wrestling is promoted by Randy Conrad, a gentleman I just recently met. Randy was an old time wrestler, trained by Saul Weingroff, and is a great guy. Very cordial, seemingly always smiling, with a big white/blonde mustache.
I arrive at the fair around 4PM with a 7PM start time. I make my way to the arena, which I quickly realize is a very loose term. In the middle of a dirt field, surrounded by a chain link fence, I see the finishing touches being put on this evening's ring. I am the first of the talent to arrive, so I'm directed to my locker room for the evening, which is a tent about 75 yards away from the ring. With the heat index pushing 100 degrees, I quickly get into my ring attire, as the less clothes, the better, and I spend time listening to music and doing some stretching and calisthenics while awaiting the other talent to arrive.
I am pleased to learn that I have some friends booked for the event, as Hayley Shadows, Charlene McNally, and JD Thunder (my opponent for the evening) arrives. Along with JD is possibly my favorite person in the wrestling business, "The Wild Eyed Southern Boy" Tracy Smothers.
Ask anyone in the business about Tracy Smothers, and you'll be hard pressed to hear a bad word. If there is a place that has ever had a wrestling ring set up, Tracy Smothers has probably wrestled there, earning him the moniker of "The Hardest Working Man in the Business". As the car pulls up, I hear Tracy singing "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog", and my face instantly lights up.
Tracy is the most giving guy in the business, and I consider it a privilege to call him a friend. The match that evening quickly became secondary, as the joy of my night was catching up with Tracy. Hearing stories of his recent adventures on the indie scene, to stories of his glory days, I find myself unable to wipe the smile off my face anytime Tracy is around.
As we were saying our goodbyes, Tracy said something that really stuck with me. He said "Don't ever change, Jeremiah. You're a human being. In this business, that's hard to come by." That really resonated with me. Wrestling is an interesting business, an at times cut-throat industry in which deceit is common place, and back stabbing can be the norm, people often forget basic human decency if it means elevating themselves. It meant a lot for Tracy to say that, and I thought about those words a lot on my 150 mile trek to the Homestead.
If you're like me and you love you some Tracy Smothers, show Tracy some love by visiting one of the links below:
And, if you'd like to support my journey, you can click on any of the below links:
Goodbye my friends. Never change. Remain human beings, and enjoy your journey!
- Jeremiah Plunkett