Well it’s that time of year again folks! The 3rd Annual Memorial Day Octogenarian Mud Wrestling Contest is all set to kick off the days festivities. If you are new to the area or are unaware of Flagler Beach’s fastest growing holiday weekend event, you’ve been missing out!
Jason Arnett, owner of a mixed martial arts Promotional Company “Breakthrough MMA” first stumbled onto the sport years ago.
“I was visiting my grandmother in the nursing home at lunch, around 9 a.m. I overheard a pair of elderly women talking about “Glenda” from room 124 body slamming “Beatrice” during a wrestling match the previous night. I inquired as to what these two blue haired beauties were involved in but my grandmother was tight lipped. I spent the next several months gaining these mature matriarchs’ trust and little by little they let me in on what had been going on in the dark alleys of retirement homes across the country, over the last century in fact. Underground fight clubs for senior women, the only requirements being that you have to be over the age of 79.”
Jason knew he had stumbled upon something special, so he requested a sit down with reigning champion and unofficial leader of the “Q-Tips” Glenda Gleason. “It was a disaster, our first meeting,” he recalls about his first conversation with the Octogenarian Champ. “I was escorted into a dark room, Glenda sat in the corner in silence. I started to talk, asking her about bringing this unique form of wrestling to the mainstream and I’ll never forget what she said, “You’re going to have to speak up, I don’t have my hearing aids in! “she exclaimed with her dry raspy aged like a bitter wine voice. “It sent chills down my spine, but I knew I had to be brave and bring this sport out into the open.” Jason later added, “It’s just too important to be hidden from the public”.
It took several more months to convince Glenda to agree and let her fighters put on an exhibition match, but eventually she relented. “It was one of the happiest days of my life, right up there with the birth of my sons and getting married, but not quite as good as the start of the NFL season” Jason remembers. “I pulled the permits, got a couple sponsors involved and the rest is history.” Ted Bancroft, owner of HighJackers Restaurant recalls being quite skeptical about getting involved in the fight game. “I really wasn’t sure at first, it seemed kind of dangerous. Jason was pretty convincing in his arguments though, assuring me they had the best doctors in town on retainer. Most of them already had a medical history with the fighters, knowing them on a first name basis.” With Ted on board, the first Memorial Day Octogenarian Mud Wrestling Contest was scheduled for May 28th, 2:00 p.m., right before the participants’ dinner.
“I wasn’t expecting such a big turnout initially, but I guess word had spread pretty quickly via social media. Thank god for Facebook!” Jason celebrated. Ted remembers the vibrant energy of the crowd, “It was electric! People were excited to see something they’ve never seen before. I mean, how many people have seen their grandma put a chokehold on her bridge partner?” The first event was a total success, with underground champ Glenda Gleason plowing through the field, leaving dislocated hips and life alert bracelets in her wake. “Oh it was brutal, wow, just…wow,” Ted remembers. “But everyone was into it, the fighters, the crowd, even the children watching started wrestling in the grassy areas next to the mud pit, emulating their new found heroes.”
Thus beginning a tradition that Jason watches grow in size and popularity with each year. Glenda Gleason will return as reigning champ and is optimistic about her chances for another successful win. “In Russia, elderly no get special treatment, you fight for bread, for home and you win, or die.” she declared in a thick Russian accent. But Glenda isn’t really Russian although she knows how to have a laugh and take a joke. Because why take everything so damn seriously? Smile. Laugh. -k.c. wilson
This photo is actually Ernestine Shepherd, a 75-year-old bodybuilder, formerly holding the title as the oldest female competitive bodybuilder in the world.
Read about her amazing and inspiring story here: http://atlantablackstar.com/2012/06/11/female-body-builder-75-says-exercise-is-anti-aging-pill/
a wannabe successful writer who likes long walks on the beach in the pale moonlight.
The characters in this story might be real and actually might also be tied up in Kyle’s basement, if Florida did in fact have basements.
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