Friday, September 09, 2022

Figure Friday: Harley Race and Ten Pounds of Gold

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Our good friend Jeff Jewett put together a great photo for Action Figure Friday that we featured several years ago. It features a figure of the 8-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion (and "greatest wrestler on the face of God's green earth") Harley Race, complete with miniature domed-globe belt and his classic 1980s red and blue robe. He's standing in front of the original 8x10" hardcover edition of the book "Ten Pounds of Gold", a close look at the 1973-1986 NWA World championship title belt and the eight champions who held it during that time period. (You will notice that the original version of the book I wrote with Dave Millican even contained a brief foreword from the legendary "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, which was subsequently removed. You can learn all about that here.)

Jeff had his copy of the original "Ten Pounds of Gold" book signed by Harley Race, which you see in the bottom left corner of the slipcover in the photo above. I just think the whole thing is very cool and loved this, and I appreciate Jeff's thoughtfulness in putting this photo together for me.

As it relates to Race and the "Ten Pounds of Gold" book, I was fortunate enough to have several phone conversations with Harley Race in 2012 when working on the second edition of the book. He loaned me a notebook that promoter Paul Boesch had given him after the historic NWA title change match with Jack Brisco on July 20, 1973 in Houston. That notebook contained dozens of 8x10" photographs taken by Boesch himself that night. Many of those photos appear in the second edition of "Ten Pounds of Gold" and I've always appreciated Harley's generosity and kindness in allowing me to use them. 

In what turned out to be the third and final phone call during that time, Harley suggested I change the title of the book. At first I thought he was joking. But he was dead serious. Change the name of the book to "Ten Pounds of Pure Gold." And then it hit me - - that's the way Harley usually referred to the belt. "Ten pounds of pure gold, buddy." 

That's a wonderful memory, and all these years later I begin to wish I had done just that.

Thanks again for the photo, Jeff!

Edited from an original post published April 2020 as Part of Action Figure Friday on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.