TRIBUTE TO A BEAUTIFUL LADY
We just returned around 11:30 PM last night from what was a most moving and beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady.
Early yesterday I had a call from Ted DiBiase, who had driven from his home in Mississippi and was in St Louis, we arranged to meet in Eldon MO for dinner and then go over to the community center where there was a visitation for B. J. Race. Eldon is a small town and we expected to see aÂ handful of locals who were wrestling fans and a few of the wrestlers from Harley’s wrestling school there thinking most would go today to Kansas City where the funeral was to be.
What a wonderful tribute were we about to witness,Â as we pulled into the parking lot at 6:05 PM, there was no where to park, the lot was full, I would estimate some 150 cars. Found a spot on the outskirts of the lot and we walked into this nice large building where Harley and BJ held their wrestling shows twice a year. They had set it up like a chapel with the long wall as you enter full of family photos for 4 tables, about 32 feet, and then a massive number of floral pieces, the first on was a huge wreath from Vince McMahon, (while we were there Vince called to briefly talk to Rob and Harley) then beautiful arrangements and plants and even one large tree from friends and family and wrestlers from all over. I counted the floral pieces there was 53 in all.
The other wall all the former students and current wrestlers from the WLW stood and lined the 300 foot wall, by 7:00Pm there were some 50 plus young wrestlers standing, hands folded in tribute. Including Trevor Murdock, Bull Schmitt, Dangerous Derek, John Pantoya, Steve Fender, Darin Wade, Brian Nguyen,Amy Hennig, Joe Hennig flew in from WWE Florida, Becca Swansen, Lucy Memdez and many more.
Harley’s first graduate Matt Murphy and all the wrestlers stood up and he gave a tear pulling tribute to BJ, and several of the wrestlers showed a heartfelt loss as the tears fell. He said it is easy to see why her e mail was WLWMOM as she was a mother away from home to all those who attended the Harley Race Wrestling Academy.
The center section of the community center was set up with 2 sections of chairs, each 11 wide and 10 deep for 220 seating, we sat in row 9 and got there at 6:05, by 7:30 they had to break out more chairs, counting those that stayed for the whole two and a half hours and those who came and paid their respects i would guess somewhere around 400 plus.
Harley”s long time partner and closest friendÂ Larry”The AX “Hennig was there with his wife and they sat in the last row with Ted DiBiase and several other wrestlers that I did not know.
To top off a fantastic tribute, on Saturday night I was able to reach Ken Hirayama in Hawaii and told him of BJ’s passing, and asked him to call Mr. Ryu, president of Noah Wrestling in Japan and let him know. At 7:30 Pm both and Ken and Rhu showed up in person. He had been traveling from Japan to Hawaii to St Louis a total of 30 plus hours to be there. Less then 48 hours from the time he was called some 30 hours in the air and in a car he was there. Two very caring men who stood and shed a tear with some 400 others, I have gotten to know these men over the last 4 or 5 years and take pride in their friendship and support of the CAC.
Kyle Mason who was the City Administrator in Eldon when Harley and BJ opened his school there, 10 years ago, is also a ordained pastor, gave a moving tribute to BJ and a eulogy that showed why she was so respected and loved by this small town.
Beverly Ann Race had just turned 60 the 9th of this month, I know I will miss working with her at the future WLW shows and miss her smiles and rough voice when she says “OK lets go count the tickets and give you your tax money”, and then smile and say, “but your such a nice tax collector”.
From Executive-Vice PresidentÂ Karl K. Lauer