Their welcomed visitors bore names like Cowboy Larry McCoy, who is the champion, and Tank Evans, who sports a black mask. There was also the lady wrestler, Miss Beth, and announcer John Savage.
For 60 or so special participants in Cumberland River Behavioral Health’s (which is formerly known as Cumberland River Comprehensive Care Center) day treatment programs in Williamsburg Tuesday morning, it didn’t matter that their visitors weren’t world famous wrestlers with big television contracts.
What mattered is that the visitors showed up to try and make their day a little brighter, and the good guy wrestlers and good girl wrestler of Traditional Southern Wrestling (TSW) did just that Tuesday morning.
The day treatment programs are like a school of sorts for those with special needs, who are too old to be in a regular school setting.
The idea for Tuesday’s event was the brainchild of Cumberland River employee Brenda Summars, who helped organize the cookout and visit from the wrestlers.
She was inspired by another employee, Crystal Meadors, who subscribes to a wrestling promotion fan club just so she can get a wrestling magazine that she brings to a day program client, Keith Tuggle, every month.
“His dad used to take him wrestling all the time and he is kind of back in that memory with his dad and stuff,” Summars noted. “He still talks about the old wrestlers and stuff.”
After talking with Meadors, Summars said she saw a post by Savage, who is a good friend of hers, on Facebook later that day. Three days later she ran into him at Save-A-Lot.
She asked about the possibility of getting a couple of wrestlers to come visit the clients some time, and he told her they could do better than that.
Savage noted that all he had to do was make one phone and he got plenty of volunteers.
“They said, ‘We want to be part of this,’” Savage said Tuesday morning. “Everybody is volunteering their time just to be part of this special day. After seeing all these smiles and people hugging wanting autographs, I would have to say this is just as special for us as it is for them. We are honored to be a part of it and wanted to be. Look at those smiles – that is the real reason why we do it.”
The clients and staff also got treated to an impromptu wrestling match of sorts on lawn in front of the buildings as the Classic Assassins (bad guy wrestlers in the promotion) tried to crash the party.
After a few fisticuffs that involved a folding chair, some elbows, a few kicks and so forth, the good guys and girl wrestlers were triumphant while the Classic Assassins scampered back to their vehicle for a quick get away.
In addition, the wrestlers also brought free tickets for all the Cumberland River clients so they could go see the next show Saturday in Corbin. Cumberland River will be loading up the day treatment clients Saturday evening and taking them to the show.
Tuggle, the man who sort of inspired Tuesday’s event, was presented with a wrestling mask.
Savage added that not only are the clients special, but so are the staff members at Cumberland River.
“The people, who work here, have to be special people with a heart full of love because of what they do. If we can be a part in some small way, then we are proud and honored to be,” Savage said.
Summars added that God deserves more of the credit for Tuesday’s event than she does.
Members of Summars’ church, Saxton Independent Baptist Church, helped do the cooking and serving of hamburgers, hot dogs and so forth Tuesday.
Summars said she appreciated the wrestlers doing this for the clients, and the members of her church helping out.
TSW’s Luck of the Drop Kicks wrestling match will take place Saturday at the old Corbin Civic Center off Gordon Hill.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and bell time is 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and children ages five and under are admitted for free.
Cumberland River Behavioral Health is a nonprofit community mental health center whose mission is to ensure all members of our community an opportunity to achieve their highest potential for living satisfying, productive, and valued lives.