Buff midgets once again ready to grapple at Rio Nido Roadhouse
If you missed , or couldn’t get enough of it in March, the Lollipop Guild’s favorite sport, Extreme Midget Wrestling, is coming back to Rio Nido Sept. 7.
The “Baddest Little Show on Earth” is again preparing to shake the ground in front of the Rio Nido Roadhouse, make waves in the nearby pool and cement the Lower River’s growing reputation as a hotbed of nouveau cultural activity.
When you consider the cultural pursuits of others around the world this bloodless body-slamming and gripping one another in quarter-nelsons and head locks is civilized by comparison.
Compared to The Baby-Jumping Festival of Calacho, Spain during which grown men in vaguely Elvis-like costumes wielding whips and truncheons attempt to “cleanse babies of evil” by leaping over them, a practice which has been ongoing since 1620, midget wrestling is as threatening as a chess match.
And then there’s the Clinton, Montana Testicle Festival during which deep fried “Mountain Oysters” are served along with draughts of Bull Snort Brew, and spectators thrill to bull-poop bingo, betting on which numbered square will be the day’s lucky one.
There’s a Festival of Near-Death Experiences in Las Nieves, Galicia, where thousands pack the narrow streets to watch the relatives of those who cheated death carry their loved ones to church in a coffin — and then, on the day of Santa Maria, listen to survivors’ accounts of disturbing and often sad experiences.
La Tomatina is the world’s biggest food fight in which 40,000 people get together in the Valencian town of Bunol and hurl tomatoes at each other. Begun in 1945 by a group of men who wanted to be part of a parade of Giant Heads and tapped a veggie stand for ammunition, it has become (with goose twirling and running from bulls) one of Spain’s more popular interactive events.
The British Lawn Mower Association’s 12 hour endurance race is harmless, albeit boring and often grueling, and Fruita, Colorado’s Headless Chicken Days honoring Mike, the rooster who survived for 18 months after being decapitated, features chicken dance contests, chicken races with people running like headless chickens.
The Cooper Hill cheese rolling event features a giant wheel of cheese rolling downhill at speeds up to 70 m.p.h. with racers zooming behind in reckless pursuit — and has proved to be potentially lethal, to where local law enforcement (unsuccessfully) tried to ban the event.
But here on the Russian River the Midget Wrestling title is again on the line, and Nasty Boy, the Tiny Terminator and more then a half-dozen other bellicose smaller folk will be slinging chairs, wielding 2 X 4s and screaming in a somewhat higher octave. These Liliputian Bruno Sammartinos and Haystack Calhouns, well-muscled athletes and top-notch entertainers often have a half-dozen pepperpots at a time bouncing off the ropes and making the canvas rumble and ripple.
Midget wrestling reached its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, when wrestlers such as Little Beaver, Lord Littlebrook and Fuzzy Cupid toured North America, and Sky Low Low was the first holder of National Wrestling Alliance’s World Midget Championship. Beginning in the late 1980s, midget wrestling reached its peak with imported stars such as Japan’s Little Tokyo, but its popularity slowly declined. By the mid 1990s, midget wrestlers were mostly featured in comical matches and segments, rather than serious competitive wrestling-type matches.
Brad Metzger, owner of The Rio Nido Roadhouse, reports that these Bruiser Midgets prefer they be called midgets (as opposed to little, or vertically challenged, people). We asked Metzger where he got the idea to have diminutive, albeit buff, men rolling around and grunting in front of the Roadhouse. He explained that apparently the troupe was on tour, and the promoter got Metzger’s number. ‘The Baddest’ do 150 shows a year, according to the Oklahoma-based promoter, and they offer a kid-friendly show or a show for mature audiences. Metzger went for kid-friendly.
“I’m just going to fire up the BBQ and let them handle the wrestling,” he said. The Baddest Little show furnishes the canvas, ropes, referee, P. A. system and wrestlers and sets up everything needed for the show on a space provided by the host which, in this case, is the lawn in front of the Rio Nido Roadhouse.
Rain is unlikely on the day of the event but if it does rain, advises Metzger, “they’ll wrestle in the rain.” The show promoters get 100% of the receipts, and The Roadhouse gets to host “The Baddest Little Show on Earth” with no investment or liability concerns.
And these “Baddest” would also like everyone to know they support anti-bullying campaigns. So set your gnome gently back on the lawn, and go watch a few bounce off the canvas. All ages welcome.
Seats are $10, $15 for better seats, and if you’d like to sit ringside, the price is $25.
When: Friday, September 7, at 6 p.m..
Where: Rio Nido Roadhouse at 14540 Canyon 2 road in Rio Nido.