The Cooper Street Relic

Just another blog from The Republic Of Hespeler

Let me begin by saying that at this point in life I am not a big Pro Wrestling fan but upon hearing about the Death of   Rowdy Roddy Piper on the weekend I thought back on a time when Pro wrestling meant something to me.  At ten years of age in 1967 there were plenty of larger than life wrestlers for me to admire, there was Dewey Robertson, Bruno Sammartino, Sweet Daddy Siki, Dick the Bruiser and, of Course, the Canuck Superstar of Pro Wrestling Whipper Billy Watson. But the one wrestler that caught my attention and that I faithfully watched Maple Leaf Wrestling to catch a glimpse of was the 600 lb dynamo from Texas who went by the name of “Haystacks Calhoun”, the true Mountain man of Professional Wrestling, way before Andre the Giant or any of the other acts that are in the game today. He would wrestle two or three normal men at a time and easily defeat them and to a little pipsqueak like me he was a hero and he always seemed to be friendly and ready to talk to everybody and I dreamed of some day shaking his hand and saying hi to the “Haystacks”.
So where is this story going?  In the summer of 1967 Pro Wrestling was coming to Kitchener and as I scanned the card to see who was going to be there one name jumped out at me, William”Haystacks” Calhoun was going to be wrestling Local hero Dewey Robertson and I just knew that I had to be there and nothing short of the End of the World was going to stop me and I began the campaign to drive my Dad nuts until he took me and on my Birthday he presented me with a gift that would stay in my mind forever..2 tickets to the wrestling event of the century( my opinion, if not others) and on the week leading up to the event I was in 7th heaven telling anybody who would listen that I James Hillis was going to see Haystacks Calhoun and would be the envy of everyone I knew. But Fate had a plan that I had not anticipated. On the Friday before the show I woke up with a high fever and had the sweats and eventually a full blown case of the Flu and as Saturday rolled around my spirits fell as I knew that my Dream had been shattered and the Wrestling world would have to go on without me, while Haystack was throwing body’s around the ring in Kitchener I was tossing and turning(and I will admit crying a little) in my room dreaming about what might have been. I spent the next few days recovering from my illness and the disappointment of missing my date with destiny, but I seemed to get over it. On the Wednesday following the event I was feeling a lot better when my dad came home from work and told me to get in the car as we were going for a drive, he said that he was going to make it up to me for having to miss the Wrestling match and as I pressed him for details he just said relax it will be worth it. Was it going to be a new bike perhaps? Maybe they were giving my Little Sister away and I could choose where she goes(Just kidding sis) but the fact was I had no clue what the old man had in store for me, but it didn’t take long to find out , as we pulled into the Hespeler arena Parking lot I thought “well this is strange, it is the end of summer and hockey isn’t going on so what are we doing here”?  But my questions were answered very quickly as we entered what I thought was a deserted arena, I could hear grunting and groaning coming from the floor of the Arena and my Dad showed someone a piece of paper and he and I were allowed to enter the dressing room area that would normally be used for the Micmacs or the Shamrocks. We passed a number of men dressed in wrestling tights that I did not recognize and showed that same piece of paper to another gentleman who then entered a dressing room and quickly came out and ushered us in, and sitting on a heavy duty chair in that room was the Man “Haystacks” Calhoun, who got up and came over to shake my hand and to say hi and how sorry he was that I missed his show the previous weekend. All in all we may have been there for 5 minutes, but it seem like forever as I basked in the glow of the Mountain man from Texas. It was a long time ago and they don’t make people like him anymore but I never forgot that moment in time. Within 3 years wrestling was no longer a Favorite past time of mine but every now and then I would sneak a peek at Maple leaf Wrestling and see if “Haystacks” was on and if he was I knew that when he winked at the cameras he was winking at me.
Haystacks Died at the age of 55 on December 7, 1989.

2 thoughts on “The Wrestler and The Kid

  1. Lary says:

    Jimm, in the late 1960s I saw Sweet Daddy Siki singing “Country Music” at a lounge in Guelph. He wasn’t too bad; but the ladies accompaning him were great!. When he came around hocking his album I looked at the biceps and quickly parted with a $10 bill. I still have the thing in my collection; although I rarely play it!

  2. Sweet Daddy singing, now that I would have been cool.

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