The Tennessee Wrestling Legends Reunion was held on October 1-2, 2010, at the home of Scott And Angela Teal in Gallatin, Tennessee. Many of the wrestlers in attendance were seeing each other for the first time in more than 30 years.
Bill Bowman and Joe Turner drove 469 miles from Pensacola, Florida, but were the first to arrive on Friday, beating out several people who live in nearby Hendersonville, specifically Eddie Marlin, who in his younger days might have walked the 6-1/2 miles from his house.
Three people flew in: "Nature Boy" Roger Kirby (Grandview, MO), Duke Myers (Clackamas, OR), and Frankie Cain (Fort Walton Beach, FL).
Two others, Ronnie West and Bill Dundee, both of whom work for the Cole Bros. Circus, pulled a few strings and got time off to attend.
For the next three hours, a steady stream of people arrived: Buddy Wayne, Candi Divine, Charlie Smith, Colin West (and Roberta Roberts), Don and Sandy Wright, Jerry Barber, Jerry Jarrett, Jim Dalton, Joe and Michelle Cagle, Kathy Renesto (Branch), Len and Jeannie Rossi, Les Thatcher, Mac McMurray, Paul and Shirley Neighbours (Jr.), Paul and Wanda Neighbours (Sr.), Ronnie Garvin, Ronnie West, Phil and Sylvia (Hackney) Miller, Tim Renesto, Tom Renesto, Jr., Tommy Marlin, and Tony Falk.
That evening, everyone enjoyed barbeque sandwiches, along with side dishes and desserts prepared by Angela Teal. As expected, Charlie Smith was the first one standing in line with his plate in hand. (see photo below) After dinner, everyone sat around the fire pit. Well, almost everyone. Like two hungry dogs who are afraid someone will take away their food, Mac McMurray and Ronnie Garvin spent most of their time in the house wolfing down as many of the homemade white-chocolate-covered pretzels as they could.
Al and Jeannie Greene, Arvil and Lisa Hutto, Cora Combs, Debbie Combs, Dennis and Jean Hall, Frank and Ina Morrell, George Gulas, George Weingeroff (along with his two brothers Eric and Herbie), Gorgeous George Jr. (who would easily be voted in as "the person who changed the most," Larry Cheatham, Mike Porter, Tommy Heggie, and Tommy Weathers all arrived on Saturday.
Several "firsts" took place during the two days.
One, the "Wrestling Cousins" — Dennis Hall, Roger Kirby and Les Thatcher — were all together in one place for the first time since 1966 (see photos below).
Two, Frankie Cain donned an original Infernos mask to have his picture taken with Tommy "Dante" Heggie. When Frankie reached up to take off the mask, Scott Teal quickly snatched it off. That was the first time EVER that one of the Infernos has been unmasked.
Charlie Smith took two bumps on Saturday. Scott expects to hear from Charlie's attorney any day now.
Several awards and door prizes were given out on Saturday afternoon.
Buddy Wayne won a book titled "The History of Professional Wrestling: Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1950-1983" for being the person there who wrestled in Tennessee for the longest time (since 1952!).
Charlie Smith won a prize for being married the longest (55 years), beating Frank Morrell by a slim three years.
Joe Turner and Bill Bowman, who wrestled in Tennessee as Joe and Bill Sky (or Bill and Joe Sky, depending on which one you talk to), won a prize for arriving first on Friday, while Mac McMurray took the honors for getting to the house first on Saturday (probably because he thought Angela would be serving white-chocolate-covered pretzels for breakfast).
Duke Myers won a Shell gasoline card for coming the furthest.
At 82 years of age, Cora Combs was the oldest person there and was also the person who had been in the wrestling business for the longest time.
Two quizzes were given over the two days period. Jim Dalton, Joey Franks, Les Thatcher, Sylvia Hackney, Tom Renesto Jr., and Tony Falk all received perfect scores on the "Nickname" quiz. Tony Falk won the prize of 21 issues of "Whatever Happened to ...?" when his name was drawn in the tiebreaker.
The second quiz was to guess the names of more than 100 wrestlers on the reunion poster. Sylvia Hackney got the most correct with a score of 101 out of 108. She also received a set of the "Whatever Happened to ...?" magazines.
A picture on the poster of one particular masked wrestler stumped everyone but Jim Dalton and Joey Franks (and I'll never know how they figured it out). It was actually a trick question because the masked "wrestler" was Scott Teal, who had his picture taken by his mom after buying the mask from Karl and Hildegard when he was in high school. Jim and Joey ... you guys are amazing!
All in all, everyone had a great time visiting, rekindling old friendships, telling old war stories, and catching up on what took place AW (after wrestling).
Click HERE to read MAKING MEMORIES by Jerry Jarrett