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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Funk's Corner - The Beast (Yvon Cormier)

-- Dory Funk Jr.

Every Saturday night, professional wrestling came to the Hereford Bull Barn in Hereford, Texas only 30 miles west of my home in Canyon, Texas. Ricky Romero was at my home to pick me up at 7:00pm for the short drive.

We walked into the "Good Guy's" dressing room. Mr. Doul, president of the Hereford Lions Club, sponsor of professional wrestling was in the dressing room talking with our partner that night, Rudy Kay.

I asked Ricky who we were working with. Mr. Doul showed me the card. (Dory Funk Jr., Ricky Romero and Rudy Kay vs The Beast, Dick Dunn and Sputnik Monroe)

As usual, the Hereford Bull Barn was packed for the Saturday night show.

During the match a hot tag came from Ricky to our partner, Rudy Kay who entered the ring with a fiery comeback knocking Sputnik off the apron and bumping Dick Dunn out of the ring. Rudy reached for a headlock on The Beast and The Beast blocked and took Rudy off his feet. Rudy fought to reverse but The Beast blocked again. With the second block, Rudy cursed The Beast and The Beast yelled back in French with something I didn't understand but I knew a fight was about to break out. Ricky tagged back in and things settled down and we finished the wrestling match.

The Hereford Bull Barn was sold out that night and after the matches Mr. Doul brought our pay envelopes and passed them around. All wrestlers were paid equal, $75 for a Saturday show in Hereford, Texas only 30 minutes from home. According to my inflation calculator $75 in 1964 is equal in buying power to $510.83 in today's money. We were blessed.

On the way back home riding in Ricky's New Chevy Station Wagon I told Ricky, "Hey those two guys really got mad at each other didn't they? Ricky just laughed and said, "Don't you know, They are bothers?"

I couldn't believe it. Rudy Kay and The Beast had been working the territory for three months, Rudy was a babyface and The Beast was a Heel. They didn't look alike at all.

Ricky laughed some more. If there was gossip in the territory, Ricky new it all.

When my father, Dory Funk Sr. brought The Beast and Rudy Kay into the territory to work one heel and the other babyface he made them promise not to tell anyone they were in fact brothers.

Both were great workers and loved the wrestling business. There were four brothers in the wrestling business, Rudy, The Beast, Leo Burk and Bobby Kay.

All could play a guitar and sing country music ala Merl Haggard.

Well The Beast didn't quite sound like Marl Haggard, The Beast Played the guitar and hollered.

I have made many trips with The Beast. There is not a nicer person in the wrestling business. I will miss his humor and big smile from beneath his long curly mop of hair.

My condolences to his family and all who knew him.