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Local Sports

June 10, 2009

Ronnie Garvin looks forward to meeting fans

Will be in London Saturday night at National Guard Armory

Many local wrestling fans were first introduced to Ronnie Garvin in 1976. Ron Fuller was battling NWA champion Terry Funk for the NWA title at the Knoxville Coliseum. Fuller locked Funk in the Fuller Leglock, and to the delight of those in attendance, Funk submitted, and Fuller was handed the title.

Funk then attacked Fuller and trapped him in the spinning toehold. While this was happening, a person rang out from the back, climbed the top rope, and leaped onto Fuller’s throat numerous times with a kneedrop.

For some unexplained reason, Funk left Knoxville with the belt, even after he submitted. Garvin and Fuller became embroiled in a heated feud.

Fast forward 33 years. It’s 2009, and Garvin, long retired from the ring, is hanging out the second story window of a house he is building. It’s the only place that his cell phone has reception.

“I have total privacy out here,” Garvin said. “I hunt, fish, and work on this house. That’s about it. I don’t work. I work for myself, building this house.”

That’s a far cry from the glitz and glamour world of professional wrestling. Then again, Garvin wasn’t your typical wrestler.

While many of his contemporaries, like “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and even his step-son, “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin (who was billed as his brother), lived for the night life, the man known as “Hands of Stone” (“more like mush now”) shunned it. In fact, he hasn’t seen Jimmy in about six or seven years. “I’m not a night person,” Garvin said. “When you’re not a night person, night people don’t want you as a friend.”

Garvin, born Roger Barnes, hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He started wrestling in 1962, where he formed a team with his “brother,” Terry Garvin. The two held a few regional tag team titles, and were even managed by Jimmy for a short time.

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