|Posted by Johnny Mantell on June 12, 2013 at 3:40 PM|
My life in the Dallas territory was busy with activity. First, my Dad and I had a working horse ranch where we bred, foaled and trained Thoroughbred & Quarter Horse race horses, that Ranch of course was located right in the heart of Montague County, Texas; we were about 100 miles from the Sportatorium, 75 miles from Will Rogers. For a lot of those early years, I had Tom Jones (then Mr. Ebony in my Hood mask), Gene Lewis (The Mongol) or Dewey Robertson (The Missing Link) here close. Tom and Gene lived in Bowie and Link lived in Decatur, at the Nudist Park of course. So my trips in those days to shows could include those brothers in the business as well as my real brother Ken but if Ken went then you had to stay all night; if he didn’t then when everyone in the ride was finished we could leave! Remember in those days, we were all paid by checks!!
If there was a day off (there weren’t many) we would all get together to eat, drink and be merry! I know one Christmas Tom & his family, Gene & his family all broke bread at my Mom’s house with our entire family including Ken & his family and even my brother Edd from California (who’s not in the business by the way). We had to leave early that Christmas to make Reunion for the Biggest Show of the Year. Life seemed so slow as we got to enjoy home and family time as well as the big lights of the sold out buildings where the Bob Seger song “Turn the Page” became a theme of sorts!
Tanning, working out, going to the feed store, hauling hay, and spending time with my daughter were everyday occurrences; Spending evenings in the ring in sold out buildings in front of scream fans; Spending the night at David Von Erich’s house or Bill Colville’s house were my “little” moments of getting away, even though most of the time Jade (my daughter) was with me.
I guess what I am saying is My Life was as normal as any one else’s, except I got to travel and meet some of the greatest fans, wrestle (play) with some of the coolest people and experience Life to the Fullest. If all that is still hard to believe for many of you, well here’s one example of when I say “We sweat together, we break bread together!”: We had a show somewhere North of here (with all my head injuries, right now I can’t remember the place) and with our place being the closest we had Dad planned to put some grub together. So Killer Kahn, Jimmy Garvin, Precious, Sunshine, Bill & Scott Irwin, Chris Adams, Kevin, Kerry, David Manning, Bronko, Akbar, The Birds, my brother Ken & his family, and Jade & I all ate BBQ; Ken put a few chicken fights together (he was raising fighting Roosters at the time and selling them around the US – it wasn’t illegal then) and we had a grand time. Those are the moments and memories that mean the most to me. The family, the brotherhood, the respect for one another all something that isn’t “taught” now days, but should be remembered.
Now those are the memories, Laugh & Enjoy!!