James Bright, Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
The lights dim and the crowd roars. Wrestlers take to a stage setup that mirrors those seen in World Wrestling Entertainment. Hands slap across chests and metal poles are cracked over skulls. Ferocious fighting ensues and the crowd screams in ecstasy. Each wrestler puts his well-being on the line for the show and none of them are taller than 4-foot 5-inches.
This is the world of extreme midget wrestling and that was the scene at the Grady County Fairgrounds this weekend.
"This is my life 24/7," wrestler Little Nasty Boy said. "I've been doing this for 30 years and I still live like a rock star. I don't know anything else."
At 48, Little Nasty Boy (LNB) is the oldest wrestler in the circuit, and after all this time his love for the sport has yet to wane, even after other loves have come and gone.
"My first wife asked me to choose between this and her," he said. "You can see what I chose."
Despite the loss, LNB has managed to build a family with the other wrestlers, most of whom are in their 20s.
"I'm like a father to these guys," he said.
Earlier in the day LNB and wrestlers Bounty Hunter and Little Fabio took a trip to the Staples in Chickasha to print some promotional pictures.
LNB and Fabio were slated to duel later that night. In less than three hours the two warriors would brutalize each other's bodies for the crowd, but for now, there was serious work to be done.
"I try to teach these guys about how to live their lives well and save their money," LNB said. "We pay about $20 to get these pictures printed, but charge $5 for a print and signature. It's all about the profit margin."
With anywhere between 10 and 15 sales a night, the profit margin is certainly positive, and Bounty Hunter and Fabio agree, the knowledge they gain from LNB is incredibly valuable.
"He teaches us what we need to know to survive," Bounty Hunter said.
With a grueling seven to eight week on, one week off touring schedule, this family dynamic thrives outside of the ring, but inside is a completely different story.
"When I am in the ring, I am there for one reason. To cause midget violence," LNB said.
With that violence comes the possibility of injury, but LNB said there is no room for weakness in the ring and those who can't handle it have to get out.
"Injuries are going to happen," LNB said. "It's just part of it. You wipe the sweat away and just keep going."
Now in its third year of existence, the Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation is thriving, owner Skyler Ward said.
"I love being unique and that is what EMWF is," Ward said. "I plan on making this bigger than the Harlem Globetrotters."
Ward said the next step is moving from bars and fairgrounds to arenas, which is fine for LNB and his cohorts.
"My dad told me to do something I love," Bounty Hunter said. "I've only been here a month, but there is no question, I love it."
As for LNB, he has no plan of stopping.
"I just bought another pair of boots and my last pair lasted me 30 years, so I guess I am here for another 30 years," he said.