UNION — Trans-South Wrestling will hold the first round of the Dr. Bobby G. Rippy Memorial Tag Team Tournament at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Union County Fairgrounds Industrial Exhibit Building. The winners of the tournament will be crowned the first-ever TSW Tag Team Champions.
The tournament is named for the late Dr. Bobby Rippy, a U.S. Navy veteran who remained community-minded throughout his lifetime. Dr. Rippy, along with his wife, Barbara, owned and operated Smith’s Drug Store in downtown Union for 34 years. The Rippys began sponsoring a Dixie Youth baseball team in 1969, and continued to do so each year for 44 years, including the 2013 Rippys team.
Prior to moving to Union in 1969, the Rippys worked for Stone Drug Store in Cowpens where Dr. Rippy was member and Past President of the Cowpens Lions Club.
Since Dr. Rippy’s passing in October 2012, Barbara has made considerable contributions to USC Union, the Miracle League of Union County and the Union Lions Club. She is also an active member of Civitan.
In February, Trans-South Wrestling presented Barbara with its first “Champion of the Community Award” in an effort to recognize and encourage community involvement.
The Dr. Bobby G. Rippy Memorial Tag Team Tournament will bring wrestlers from throughout the area, as it will include the following eight teams: Kameron Kade (Augusta, Ga.) and Alex Avgerinos (Hendersonville, N.C.); “The Specialist” Jeff Connelly (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Chase “Catch ‘em” Brown (Rock Hill); Brandon Phoenix (Lockhart) and Danny Dollar (Memphis, Tenn.); the masked team of “D-Force” (Fayetteville, N.C.); former Union resident Thomas Simpson (Columbia) and “Modern Day Enforcer” James Drake (Shelby, N.C.); “Upstate Stretching Crew” Darrion Gable (Fountain Inn) and TK Starwalker (Spartanburg); Cruizer Lewis (Harlan, Ky.) and William “The Hammer” Roberts (Boone, N.C.); “The Black Angel” (Newberry) and Josh Powers (Spartanburg).
In addition to the first round of the tournament, the June 1 wrestling event will also include a TSW Women’s Division match, pitting Amanda Rodriguez — who debuted in TSW on May 4 with a win over Kimberly Spades — against a well-known wrestler who will make her TSW debut — Amber O’Neal. O’Neal began her career in 1999 against world-renowned female wrestler Leilani Kai. O’Neal trained under Kai and fellow wrestling veterans Strawberry Fields and Gary Royal.
TSW Heavyweight Champion Deon Johnson will host a special Fan Appreciation Celebration at the event — spending time with the fans and providing slices of cake for those in attendance — in celebration of his second title win against “Mr. No. 1” George South at the last TSW event.
Profits from concession sales at the upcoming TSW event will benefit the USC Union Bantams Baseball team. The team is currently raising funds for upcoming season expenses.
Advance tickets for the June 1 wrestling event are available at Buffalo Pawn & Gun.