Indy Wrestling’s Good Will Ambassador
In the world of professional wrestling, there are good guys and bad guys. It’s kinda like real life, but in the ring, the differences between the two are more pronounced and easy to differentiate. Behind the scenes, there are good guys and bad guys too. Sometimes the differences are harder to tell, but not with Jerry Travelstead.
To Stride Pro Wrestling fans, he’s known as T-Dog, the first ever Legacy Champion. But for the purposes of today’s GratiTuesday blog, I’m talking about my friend Jerry. I first met “Mr. Travelstead” a couple years ago when doing an interview with him on the morning news. Jerry was promoting an upcoming wrestling show fundraiser for his school Community Consolidated 204 in Pinckneyville. He’s the district’s superintendent and principal.
Jerry is also a lifelong wrestling fan and found that his passion for the business could also serve as a pretty good fundraising tool. Over the course of the last couple of years, Jerry has been the architect of several fundraisers. Thousands of dollars have been raised so far for everything from schools to veterans groups to victims of tornadoes.
For these fundraisers, Jerry and his team transform the school’s gymnasium into a wrestling arena. They’ve purchased their own ring, ramp and sound system complete with video. It’s a smaller version of WWE’s famous TitanTron. Jerry and fellow educator Josh Plumlee have also purchased a crash pad. They set this up in the ring at fundraiser events and allow kids to scale the ropes and dive onto the pad. Each child pays a buck for this opportunity and it quickly becomes another source of income for the charity being helped.
Big name stars have been brought in for these shows; like Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, James Storm, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Bushwhacker Luke. Not only do Jerry and Josh organize these events, they also put their own bodies on the line. I’ve seen both men go through a lot to raise money for good causes. Jerry’s body was battered and bruised in a ladder match just over a year ago against Tony Flood.
In a word, Jerry is doing things not many others would be willing to do to help those in need. He’s helping to organize another fundraiser this Saturday night for Woodlawn Grade School. Bell time for that show is 6:30 p.m. Thanks to Jerry and the other wrestlers and talent who give back to the community. Wrestling fans, please remember this when it comes to supporting those athletes at the merchandise table, social media or indy wrestling shows.
I appreciate Jerry’s efforts and value his friendship. He’s always willing to help someone in need and not just through wrestling. Jerry is a class act and a role model to the students he mentors and the men and women backstage at Stride Pro Wrestling, including me. Thank you, Jerry.
I'm a former TV news guy turned marketing manager. I like to blog, podcast and watch pro wrestling.