Monday, February 29, 2016

Memories of County Hall in Charleston

by Andy McDaniel
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I think all of us have at least one moment in our lives that really stands out. There are the obvious ones like children, getting married, dream vacations, etc. Although I have been blessed to have all of those moments take place over the course of my life, there is one extra event that just continues to live on.

In May of 1998 a childhood dream came true and after months of planning, along with my good friend, Mike Mooneyham, we created a special moment that has been celebrated in some form or fashion every year since. I am speaking of the Charleston County Hall Reunion which featured some of the greatest wrestling legends from the past and even a few from the present. Looking back on that night, Mike and I often talk about the truly fond memories and sadly enough the reality that many of our dear friends are no longer with us. Tim Woods, Rip Hawk, Swede Hanson, George “two-ton” Harris, just to name a few of those who attended this great event and how could I ever forget the joy it was to have the one and only Johnny Valentine with us. In a word, this event was awesome!

A while back Dick Bourne and I were talking about this great night from 1998 and he asked if I had ever considered writing a book about it. While the thought had crossed my mind, it was mostly a passing thought. Life for me is very busy and extra time is something I have very little of. However, the more we talked about it the more the idea was taking on some true reality. Sorting through old pictures sure did bring back great memories and this book idea was beginning to seem like a truly good idea. I did not have some grandiose idea of millions of copies being sold, it was simply a labor of love and a way to preserve these great memories and honor the memories of those who had stepped into Eternity.

The stories shared during that weekend were incredible. I was like a kid in a candy store sitting there with Ole Anderson and Sandy Scott. Seeing the tears well up in the eyes of Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson when they saw each other for the first time in over 25 years. It is something I will never forget. These and many more stories are in the book along with some great pictures from this event.
I have made it a goal to give a copy of this book to all of those from the business who were there and are still with us. I have been blessed to personally deliver a copy to Ole Anderson. I have sent additional copies out to Abe Jacobs and others.

WWE Referee Charles Robinson
Recently, through a chain of events I have become friends with Lodi. Yes, that Lodi, the WCW sign guy from Raven’s Flock. In one of our conversations Lodi mentioned to me that he has lunch with Charles Robinson, WWE referee, at least once a week. Immediately I had to plug the book about County Hall and ask Lodi if he would be able to get a copy to Charles for me. Charles was one of our many special guest that weekend, 18 years ago and even blessed us with refereeing a match on the card that night. During that time Charles was working for WCW and he along with Mark Curtis (Brian Hildebrand), also from WCW, joined legendary referees Tommy Young and Ron West and the blessing was simply amazing.

I had not seen Charles since the book was printed so I wanted to make sure he got one. I gave Lodi the book and he ensured me that he would get it to Charles as soon as he got back from Europe where the WWE was on tour. Staying true to his word Lodi not only delivered the book for me, but also sent me this great picture of Charles holding the book. Although I have a long way to go to capture as many pictures with my book as my buddy George South has had taken with his, each one I get is special to me.

Thanks for letting me share this little story with you and if you are curious about this event from the historic wrestling venue, Charleston County Hall, please pick up a copy of the book and take a step back in time and enjoy the pictures and memories. A special thanks to Dick Bourne and the Gateway for keeping the wonderful world of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling alive. It has been a part of my life since 1974 and I count each moment as special.

Order your copy of "Reunion at County Hall" on
Black & White Version   |   Color Version

Read the review by Mike Mooneyham of the Charleston Post & Courier
Wrestling Book Takes a Look at County Hall