Big Time Wrestling in our Small Town

So this next post is a little off topic but I wanted to share because it’s entertaining and covering this story for the local paper put a huge smile on my face.

It’s one thing to watch WWE on TV (something I haven’t done is over ten years, I assure you) but it’s quite another to watch oily men wearing skin tight underwear thump, choke and kick themselves around in a ring. A truly hilarious show!

When ‘bad guy’ A.J. Sanchez came out with a bag of Arriba tortilla chips and razzed the audience I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. You should have heard the kids whoop and cat call when he sneered, “I’m not gonna share any of my chips with any of you!” Then WWE hall of famer Tito Santana (the good guy) came into the ring and pummeled Sanchez, but not before taking the bag of chips and sharing it with the zany kids in the audience. It was such a riot! Enjoy the article.

Souris Star Brings Wrestling Entertainment Ringside
Kim Harbicht-Sczesny

When Vern May graduated from Souris School in 1993 he, “took a lot of abuse for being the guy with a different dream.” You see, Vern didn’t want to play in the NHL or take over the family farm- Vern’s dream was to wrestle.

“Souris school never had a wrestling program” he recalls, “but when I was in tenth grade a [wrestling] show came through town. I asked if I could help set the ring,” With the cocky smile ‘Mr. Beefy Goodness’ is so well known for he continues, “[then] when [the promoter] went to get a bite to eat…we were in the ring. [The promoter] came back and caught us. He said, ‘you wanna wrestle?’ In three seconds flat he had me tied into a pretzel!”

At 17, thanks to that same promoter, Vern connected with a trainer and entered into the wrestling racket. 19 years later Vern, who is now known as Vance Nevada, has a successful career doing what he loves and now says that some of his old high school tormenters, ‘think it’s cool.”

It turns out that training to become a wrestler is easier than you’d think. However, Vance jokes that anyone interested in wrestling as a full-time job should “exhaust every other career possibility first.” But for the serious hopeful, newcomer Bobby Sharp assures me that most centers in Western Canada have schools. That’s how Bobby, also known as the Lion Warrior, got his start. The Canadian National Wrestling Alliance, a company owned by Vance himself, runs most of the shows in Western Canada and can direct anyone to the nearest training camp.

I asked Bobby why he decided to make a career out of wrestling. “Pro wrestling is such an individual sport,” he answered, “It’s part athleticism and part entertainment. [With wrestling] the fun comes out. You can’t just be Joe Blow. You have to have a character. People take their own interest and take it over the top. There is a lot of freedom. This is our art…there’s some acting involved.

Then I asked the inevitable next question: is it fake? Bobby slyly avoided a direct answer, “the bumps are real, the pain is real, the miles you put on your body is real. It’s not fake…but it’s not real.”

Saturday’s event in Souris was Vance Nevada’s 1,463rd fight. He’s been doing this job for nearly twenty years and Vance says it’s time to let the young guns have a chance in the limelight. “Last year my son was born,” he explains, “When I finish wrestling [in May] I’ll be doing more writing and mentoring. That way I can be on the road less and play dump trucks with [my son] more.” Vance has already written one award-winning book called Wrestling in the Canadian West and plans to publish more. But wresting fans shouldn’t be too disheartened when Vance Nevada drops out of the ring. There’s a lot of fresh talent waiting in the wings and they’ll all be fighting for the national title.


Vance Nevada shows a young fan how to bring it at the autograph table.

Bobby Sharp hopes to make it big in the CNWA


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One Response to Big Time Wrestling in our Small Town

  1. Sam says:

    That was fantastic!!! I grew up on Wrestling. It was a nightly family tv event at our house!!! Thanks for the tug on old school!! Always love reading your posts Kim!!!! Keep em coming <3

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