Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Story on the Ric Flair Foreword removed from "Ten Pounds of Gold."

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Since posting a photo on twitter of one of the original versions of the book "Ten Pounds of Gold", I've received a number of questions at the website regarding the "Foreword by Ric Flair" notation on the cover.

Here is the story of how that foreword came about, and why it is no longer in the book.

In October of 2008, Michael Boccichio at Highspots worked out a deal with Ric for Dave Millican and I to photograph the original 1973 NWA World title belt. At that time, Highspots had a working business relationship with Ric (remember this DVD?) and Dave and I knew he still had the famous domed-globe belt that was retired in 1986. We paid Ric a small "booking fee" and spent the day with the belt taking photographs and just generally marking out over what was in front of us.

Not long after, I decided I wanted to do a book about the belt itself, its origins and its history, featuring many of the photographs taken that day. I asked Michael if he would see if Ric would be willing to write a foreword for the book. Ric said OK, but he didn't want to actually write it. He said we could come up with something to suggest to him and he would approve it.

Rather than create something out of whole cloth, I decided to take a promo Ric did on WCW Monday Nitro years ago and mold it into the foundation of a foreword. It was from the famous promo Ric did when he brought the old NWA belt out on TV in the ring in St. Louis in 2000 and told the story of how he first saw the belt around the waist of Jack Brisco and knew he wanted to one day hold that championship.

The text of that promo can be found here. That show is on the WWE Network in the Vault section. (Check out Ric's appearance with the NWA belt at around 24:40 of that show.)

The Ric Flair foreword as it appeared in the original 10x8" hardcover edition of "Ten Pounds of Gold."

I wrote up a foreword, gleefully threw in a gratuitous final line reflecting how I hoped Ric would feel about the book, and sent it to Michael. He showed it to Ric on a flight they made together to an appearance in the northeast. I forget where they were going, but I'm pretty sure it was the same trip where they visited the ESPN Sportcenter set together in Connecticut with Ric's son Reid.

Anyway, Ric approved it, and I was delighted to include it in the original version of the book.

Subsequently, Highspots and Ric had a falling out, and Michael asked that the foreword be removed from the book. I hated taking it out, but I understood. Michael had been very good to me in helping get the whole photo project started to begin with. So other than the initial run of the large hardcover version of the book, the foreword does not appear, including the current softcover commercial version of the book.

Years later, Conrad Thompson arranged for me to photograph Ric with the original 1986 cast version of the NWA belt for my book "Big Gold." I briefly thought about asking Ric for a foreword for "Big Gold" but didn't want to push my luck. He was very kind to me that night as it was, posing for photos with Big Gold and taking Conrad and I to dinner, along with his fiancee Wendy. It was a lot of fun, and an evening I'll never forget.

With Conrad, Wendy, and Ric at Stoney River Legendary Steaks
in Duluth, GA. (March 2014)
So that's how the Ten Pounds of Gold foreword came about, and why it isn't in the book now. But you never know, one day there might be a Third Edition, and that foreword just might reappear.

My thanks again after all these years to Michael at Highspots for helping make it all possible, even if some of it fell apart later. It still was a very cool thing Dave and I got to do.