Hart gives up wrestling se­cret

‘En­ter­tain­ment’ con­fes­sion gets it off sports hook

Calgary Herald - - Region - KIM GUTTORMSON CAL­GARY HER­ALD

Ten-year-old boys, cover your ears — wrestling is of­fi­cially en­ter­tain­ment, with the re­sult fig­ured out be­fore the ad­ver­saries ever step in the ring.

And be­cause of that def­i­ni­tion — ac­cepted by a civic com­mit­tee Wed­nes­day — wrestling won’t be gov­erned un­der the city’s com­bat­ive sports by­law, which cov­ers box­ing, Muay Thai and kick-box­ing events.

“We don’t need to be un­der the same reg­u­la­tion. It’s more en­ter­tain­ment, we’re very open about it be­ing pre­de­ter­mined,” said Ross Hart, an ad­viser to Stam­pede Wrestling, adding that such an ad­mis­sion would have been un­think­able 20 years ago. “It’s a dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tion we live in now.

“Pro­fes­sional wrestling is a sport­ing event, very ath­letic, it re­quires a lot of phys­i­cal tal­ent, cer­tainly, and it can be dan­ger­ous at times, but it’s cer­tainly not com­bat­ive in the sense Muay Thai or kick-box­ing is.”

Stam­pede Wrestling runs matches ev­ery two weeks at the Og­den Le­gion.

Hart said had they re­mained un­der the new com­bat­ive sports by­law, it likely would have been the end of the sto­ried event.

The new by­law re­quires $120 li­cences for pro­mot­ers, of­fi­cials, con­tenders and the event it­self.

As well, a doc­tor and am­bu­lance would be re­quired for each event, rather than the St. John Am­bu­lance per­son­nel Stam­pede Wrestling uses.

“There’s no way we could af­ford that,” Hart said. “We don’t have the bud­get of Muay Thai or kick-box­ing.”

Chief li­cence in­spec­tor Marc Halat said wrestling will now be cov­ered by its busi­ness li­cence, as an en­ter­tain­ment es­tab­lish­ment, putting it in the same cat­e­gory as bowl­ing al­leys, drive-ins or strip clubs.

The days when pro­fes­sional wrestling matches, such as this be­tween the Un­der­taker and Vader, were touted as sport­ing events are over. Stam­pede Wrestling ad­viser Ross Hart says they are staged, “more en­ter­tain­ment.”

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