Then there was that time when the huge hillbilly fought a doped-up bear. Author's note: I'm almost positive this really happened!
When I was about eight years old my Grandma took me to the Earl Warren
Fairgrounds in Santa Barbara to watch the Roller Derby: LA T-birds vs. Texas
Outlaws. The intermission was somebody got to wrestle a bear. They asked for
people to come down and fight this ratty old bear, which was probably doped up,
and to win you had to stay in the ring with the bear for three minutes,
presumably without getting your head bitten off or your face slashed open by
the bear's claws, but this bear didn't even have claws. And the prize? A
whole bucket of chicken from the Colonel.
So this 400-pound hillbilly in overalls with a buzz cut comes down and
shouts "AHL RASSLE THEM THAR BAR!" And then he gets up in the ring, and they
put this weird helmet on him, like a spaceman helmet, almost, so he was like a
hillbilly astronaut, except now that I think of it, it was more like a
beekeeper's hat, and they let the bear off of his collar, and they go at it.
Except the bear just sits down and looks off at his handlers all dejectedly,
and the handlers start swatting the bear with sticks to get it riled up, but
this just seems to make the bear more morose, and all the old blue-haired
roller derby ladies are hooting in derision at this point, so the hillbilly
runs over to a table near where the bear is sitting and climbs up on it and -
FROGSPLASH! - right onto the bear. They sort of roll around for a minute, and
then the bear gets up and starts punching the hillbilly like a boxer, so the
hillbilly starts doing this sort of kung fu kick on the bear, a dozen kicks or
more to the chest, and then they grab each other again and sort of do this slow
hug/waltz thing, and finally the bell rings and the guy gets his chicken. And
what does the bear get? The bear gets beaten by sticks as his handlers try to
get him out of the arena as fast as possible.
Then the Roller Derby guys come back on and the Texas Outlaws WIN, which isn't
supposed to happen and pisses all the old ladies off real good.
It was YEARS later that I finally realized that the whole thing was rigged and
that the hillbilly was in on the whole deal! I bet there wasn't even any
chicken in that bucket!