The day after "WrestleFest, 50 Years of Funk," I read the headlines of the sports page of the Amarillo Globe times.
I remembered my first loss as a wrestler:
"We won, We won, We won, by golly, we won." The chant was loud and everyone on the bus was happy. It was my first trip with the Boy's Ranch wrestling team. We had beaten Clayton, New Mexico in a dual meet. I was eight years old and was traveling as a junior member of the team. I was thrilled to have made my first trip. I was singing along with everyone else. Only one thing made me feel bad. Even though my team had won the meet on total points, I had lost my match. My concern was what to tell my father, Superintendent of the ranch, and professional wrestler, Dory Funk Sr.
I opened the front door of our home singing the song, "We won, We won, We won, by golly, we won," trying to hide the fact that I had lost and thinking maybe my father wouldn't ask. Sure enough my ploy didn't work as Dad soon asked, "Dunk, how did you do in your match." It really hurt that I had to tell my father I had lost my first match. Dad asked, "Son, did you do your best?" I said, "Yes Dad, I did. I tried my best." He said, "Then I am proud of you. Don't worry about a thing. All anyone can ask is that you do your best." I couldn't believe the feeling of relief I felt, knowing that I had not disappointed my father.
Dory Funk Sr. was demanding as a father and teacher. He expected a lot, but there were some turning points in my life where his kindness and understanding carried me through some real difficulties. Losing my first wrestling match was just one of them.
WrestleFest, "50 Years of Funk," was one of the highlights of my career. It was an opportunity to return to my home and perform in front of so many people who have supported my family for so many years. I can remember like yesterday my father wrestling Lou Thesz before a sellout crowd in the Fairpark Coliseum in 1950.
WrestleFest was promoted internationally and there were people who traveled to Amarillo from around the world. They came from Japan, England, Belgium, and Germany. I also met fans who made the trip from Florida, Illinois, California, New England and many from the Dallas Ft. Worth area. By all measures I am familiar with in the wrestling business, this event was a success, for the fans, the fairgrounds, the wrestlers who traveled here to participate, and the merchants who catered to the out of town fans who spent their money in Amarillo.
I know the amount of hard work Terry Funk put into the show over the last six weeks. It was especially trying the morning of the show when he had to make last minute facility changes to insure the safety of performers and personnel. Terry's goal was to give the fans a great night to remember, "wrestling as it used to be and as it is today." As we say in the business, "Give the fans more than their money's worth of entertainment."
WrestleFest, "50 Years of Funk" was a success. Regardless of the outcome of Terry's match with Bret Hart. We all came out winners. It is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. That is what life is about, "doing your best."
"Congratulations Terry on a great job. We won, by golly, we won."
WrestleFest, 50 Years of Funk
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