Monday, August 01, 2022

Field of Dreams


February 23, 2022 - Waterloo Convention Center, Waterloo, Iowa

Thank you so much. I am so honored to be receiving the James C. Melby award from the Tragos/Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Jim Melby set the standard for all of us who write about wrestling history. I also want to congratulate all those receiving awards tonight, as well as those being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

When I look at the list of people who have previously received the Melby award, I am very humbled. I don’t see myself in their company. All of them have been inspirations to me in one way or another, and several of them have become friends, and they have been such a help to me over the years. It’s an honor to be included with them.

My friend David Chappell -- who is a prosecutor in Virginia, and a lifelong Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fan like myself - - we started our wrestling history website, the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, back in 2000. In 2008, I published my first book with the help of belt expert and good friend Dave Millican. It was titled “Ten Pounds of Gold” and it was really more of a photo essay about NWA World Heavyweight Title belt that Jack Brisco and others wore in the 70s and 80s. But with the success of that first book, I learned how to publish, and that led to the more historical writing about title histories, which is my main area of interest now.  

Both the website and the books are my way of documenting some of the rich history of pro wrestling, to preserve the great stories that you guys told us as fans.

I want to thank just a handful of folks. First of all, Jim Miller and Gerald Brisco, and everyone at the Dan Gable Museum. Chad Olsen and all the volunteers who give up their time selflessly to make that museum such a special place and this such a special weekend. I want to also thank David Chappell and all our many contributors to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway website, and the great Bob Caudle - - the voice of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling for over three decades - - who has enthusiastically supported us since the beginning. Also to Dave Millican, Bill Murdock, Conrad Thompson, and Tim Hornbaker. To all of those folks, I would not be receiving this award without their help and support. 

Before I finish up, I want to tell you it is such a thrill - - and a bit terrifying - - to be standing here in front of some people who are my heroes. Many of you were very important to me as a fan growing up, and along with the rest of you here tonight, part of this great Hall of Fame, I have such respect for you all.

Lastly, I want you to know how much I’ve enjoyed coming to Iowa for the first time, to Waterloo, such a beautiful city. I’ve had such fun here over the past three days. Tomorrow, I’m going to take a ride over to Dyersville to see the Field of Dreams movie site. Dyersville might be the Field of Dreams for baseball fans, but my Field of Dreams will now always be right here in Waterloo, right down the street at the Dan Gable Museum. That is a special place. 

I will never forget my trip here, receiving the Melby award - -  it is one of the highest honors I’ve ever received, and I thank you very much.

The 2022 Tragos/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame

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