Tuesday, September 20, 2022

N.C. Artist Competed Against Don Kernodle in Weight Lifting

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

North Carolina artist, United States Army veteran, and longtime Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fan Ronald Ragland passed away earlier this summer. His daughter Allison White wrote us with the news and shared an interesting wrestling connection about her late father she was reminded of when going through some of his papers.

Back in 1971, Ragland competed in a weight-lifting competition and one of the other competitors in his weight class was none other than future pro-wrestling star Don Kernodle. Both lifted in the 242 lb. weight class. Ragland won the competition with a total of 1,190 pounds lifted across all categories. Kernodle came in second with a total weight lifted of 1,083 pounds. (See the meet results sheet here.)

Don Kernodle with Ronald Ragland
at the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte
"He talked about this many times and that he and Don Kernodle competed," Allison wrote me. "The best highlight for him was he actually got to meet Don Kernodle at the 2008 Hall of Fame event in Charlotte.  Don was so friendly, you would have thought they were best buddies all their lives.  And till the day Dad died, he would tell this story and how nice it was to meet him."

It was just one of a few other wrestling connections her father had. "Before Dad got married in the 50's he lived at the Charlotte YMCA and lifted weights with Bob Fink (Rock Hunter, Ivan Koloff's Manager.) He was offered a job as a wrestler, they needed more wrestlers for TV, but he was already working at his first advertising company."

Ragland and his daughter were fortunate enough sit with Rip Hawk at one of the Hall of Heroes banquets at an NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte. The two exchanged letters and emails afterwards, with Rip sending Ron several personally autographed photos.

Ragland's lifelong love of wrestling got Allison hooked on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, too. "Dad took me to the Dorton Arena on my 12th Birthday in March 1976," she wrote me, "and I was hooked also after seeing the main event Blackjack Mulligan vs. Paul Jones. Dad had connections at WRAL since they were working on Kerr Drug Commercials with them at that time. I got to go to several TV tapings."

Ronald Ragland was a commercial artist for all of his career. Following retirement, he created a limited edition series of old country artwork. WRAL TV in Raleigh did a feature on Ragland for their "Tar Heel Traveler" series before his death, which can be seen on their website here:

A tribute to late Raleigh artist, award-winning weightlifter Ronald Ragland :: WRAL.com
Featured on Tar Heel Traveler

 Photos provided by Allison White.