1961, Flying Mare Ranch 30 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas.
My father, Dory Funk Sr. and I were walking along the terrace that brought the flow of water from the grassy plain on the Flying Mare Ranch and directed it into our old swimming hole. We were returning from an early morning duck hunting trek to the rim of the canyon along Terra Blanca Creek.
I stopped halfway home and said, "Dad, I have decided that I would like to become a professional wrestler.
Among other words of wisdom, he said that professional wrestling would give me the opportunity to have a young body and stay in shape for a long time. Physically, professional wrestling is good for you. He also told me I was about to enter the most competitive business in the world. That was a tough one to figure out however it proved to be true.
From that day, Dad brought in his friends to train with me, people like Verne Gagne, Bob Geigel, Ricky Romero, Eddie Graham, Joe Scarpello and Cowboy Carlson.
Like the Hart Family we had a ring at the house. Theirs was in the basement ours was in the garage. We trained for wrestling and lifted weights. Our bench was two wooden coke cases stacked on top of each other and Cowboy Carlson impressed us all with a bench press of 300 pounds. Hardly a mark in today's world of weight lifting, but he was impressive.
From my younger days of being the youngest in the dressing room to the present, I have trained and wrestled with so many wrestlers who came into the business after me and have now passed on.
The wrestling business takes it's toll. It can be hard, a pressure cooker and can be hard on family life. The pressures of achieving can also take a toll.
In professional wrestling, there are things we have no control over and the nature of the business is tough at times to live with, especially tough on family life.
In these hard times with the outpouring of sadness over the death of Eddie Guerrero, we in the business must look for the good in the wrestling business.
There are thrilling moments in professional wrestling, some notable and some quite rewarding.
Some of those thrilling moments for me:
My father tells me after winning the world title from Gene Kiniski, "Son, If you never do anything else in the wrestling business, you have accomplished a Hell of a lot.
Facing so many great workers, Brisco, Valentine, Flair, Wahoo, Baba, Inoki, Fujinami, Muta, Jumbo Tsuruta, Lonnie Mayne, Chauvo Guerrero, Kiniski, Jonathan, Dick the Bruiser, Carlos Colon, Black Jack Lanza, Billy Robinson and more.
Training with so many great workers, Kurt Angle, Lita, Christian, Test, Rhino, Matt and Jeff Hardy, Gene Sniski, Micki James, Sylvian Granier, Steve Corino, Chris Daniels, Edge, Val Venis, Jun Akiyama, Jumbo Tsuruta, Tenryu, and more.
Friends who were so much fun to be with, David Von Erich, Ricky Romero, Dick Murdoch, Ric Flair, Carlos Colon, The Guerrero Family, All of the Hart Kids and Stu and Hellen, Bob Geigel, Don Owen, Fritz Von Erich, Bill Apter, Mark Nulty our champion, Johnny Magnum, our referee, The Claw and more.
My kids who have had much success outside of the wrestling business but who still "love the business." Dink, Penny and Dirk.
Working in the Florida Office for Eddie Graham. (Championship Wrestling From Florida with Gordon Sole) and from the ring, catching the eye of a girl named Marti, head of product marketing for Florida Championship Wrestling. We are approaching 20 years of marriage and enjoy working the business together.
The feeling when wrestling fans still remember and are supportive.
Thanks to all of our friends.
Dory Funk Jr