Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Asheville, NC City Auditorium

                   The city of Asheville, NC has a rich history in professional wrestling. The construction of a new city auditorium began in 1939. The new auditorium received a final inspection on Thursday January 4, 1940 and a dedication ceremony was held on Saturday January 6, 1940.

                    The wrestling promoters I have found mentioned in the Asheville newspaper for the city auditorium are Scotty Dawkins (former wrestler) in 1941. Wrestling in Asheville was sparse during the war years. In January 1946 the promoter for Asheville is listed as Mickey Baarnes assisted by Johnny Bowers. The paper also sometimes spelled his last name as Baarns or Barnes. Mr. Baarnes would also promote shows  in the Asheville City Auditorium during 1950, 1951 and 1952.  On the shows that Mickey Baarnes promoted in Asheville between 1946 and 1952, wrestlers from Nick Gulas' office in Nashville,TN were featured.
                   The city auditorium would become a weekly wrestling venue when in October of 1952 retired wrestler Chief Osley Bird Saunooke became the Asheville wrestling promoter booking his wrestlers out of Jim Crockett's Charlotte office. Chief Saunooke remained the Asheville promoter until July 1963 when an article appears stating that Paul Winkhaus had purchased the Asheville wrestling office from Chief Saunooke. The last city auditorium show for Mr. Paul Winkhaus was on September 5,1973.

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