At one time, Vern May was known as the economic development officer for the City of Portage la Prairie. Now, he's putting the tights back on, picking up a pen, and he's telling the history of professional wrestling in Canada.
May, who has wrestled for the past few decades as "Mr. Beefy Goodness" Vance Nevada, released the book (Un)Controlled Chaos on August 8th. It talks about the history of the sport from the late 1867 to now.
May says he didn't intend to be a wrestling historian. In 1994, he discovered some Winnipeg wrestling results from the 1950s, and wanted to document his findings as part of a summer project. He soon realized it was only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, he found so many results that the final document ended up being 6,000 pages long.
"I realized nobody wants to buy a results book," says May. "What we need to do is now take all of this information, distill it down, and tell the compelling stories that are prevalent in professional wrestling and make it consumable for people."
May says he is pleased with the success of the book so far. In the first four weeks of its release, May says the book has been sold in every province, the United States, Ireland, Germany and Australia.
On a local level, there are some names in the book you might recognize. May says there have been some rural Manitobans who have competed around the world -- some fairly recently.
"Bulldog Bob Brown was born in Shoal Lake, Rob Stardom from Rossburn, and myself from Souris, and others," says May. "There's even an acknowledgement of our world champion arm-wrestler, Ryan Espey, who did have a very short title reign as well, and his name is in the book."
You can read more about the book here.