It's The Savage's birthday today, and he wants you to come cheer him on as he prepares to bring the belt home.
The Savage is just one of the wrestlers on the bill for WrestleFest III, which will be held at The Vegas today and Saturday.
"I want (my fans) to come out and celebrate with me, because we're taking this title," said The Savage, who lives in Minot. "We're taking it home to Minot. I want them to be a part of this."
Submitted Photo - - The crowd reacts as The Savage, in the ropes, suplexes wrestler Darin Corbin, aloft, during a recent Northern Outlaws Wrestling match. The Savage will be fighting for the heavyweight championship tonight at WrestleFest III.
Submitted Photo - - “Hearthrob” Charlie Midnite enters the arena accompanied by his manager, Chester P. Longfellow, at left.
The Savage vs. Benny Blades is scheduled to be the main event tonight, where they will compete in a title match for the heavyweight championship. He isn't sure what's on the agenda for Saturday, though. "My main focus is the world title match (tonight)," he said.
"There's a feeling of excitement for us going into our third year," said Mark Holter, co-owner of Northern Outlaw Wrestling. "In an industry that sees a lot of short-lived companies come and go, we're very proud to continue to grow into 2011. We've got some new colorful characters to showcase and our top talent returning for WrestleFest III."
The current Northern Outlaw Wrestling roster has about 25 to 30 guys, "and certainly there's more out there."
Tickets for WrestleFest III are available at The Vegas Motel.
Prices: When bought in advance, general tickets are $8 and ringside is $10. At the door, general tickets are $10 and ringside is $12. Kids under the age of 6 have free admission.
The doors open at 6 p.m. Bell time is 7 p.m.
"I know we're trying out five new ones this weekend we never had here in Minot," Holter said on April 7. "Two we had in our show in Williston a few weekends ago, and they worked out well there. We're excited to get them up here in Minot."
Amongst the wrestlers in their rosters are some local talent from Minot.
"We have some that are from other areas of North Dakota," Holter said. "We use guys from all over the place: Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado. ... We even have some being billed from other countries. I can neither confirm nor deny if they are really from those countries."
One of the new wrestlers, "The Piranha," lists a mysterious hometown: "The Amazon." Is he really from the Amazon? Holter can't say, but he did note that The Piranha is "definitely entertaining, and the kids love him."
Hearthrob Charlie Midnite, who is billed as hailing from Atlanta, Ga. -- his Southern drawl and Confederate jingoism being a dead giveaway -- has been to "Yankee Dakota" several times, and he's looking forward to two things.
"I'm looking forward to telling all them Yankees up there that I don't like 'em," he said during a telephone interview. With the help of his brother, Hot Stuff Robbie Ryder, his second goal is to beat The Wicked Carnival and retain "our tag-team championship."
Midnite said that he began wrestling 15 years ago. Growing up on "the streets I did, wrestling just came naturally," he said.
"Wrestling's part of the South," he added. And then he paused. "Wrestling IS the South."
Midnite is proud to admit that he is currently undefeated.
"I've never had my shoulders to the ground for a 1-2-3," he said. "My brother, Robbie, on the other hand, has cost me a few matches."
"There's nothing like being in front of fans that can: a) love you, or b) hate you," Midnite said. "You'd better be booed or cheered."
Midnite also issued a warning to the audience. "The falls we take our real, and I can't stress the importance of not doing this at home," he said. "We are trained professionals."
Holter and his "partner in crime," Wade Williamson, have been wrestling fans since they were just kids growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
"It would have been about four years ago, I got involved with an independent company here in Minot that used to run shows," Holter said. "By the time I got involved, they were getting ready to close their doors."
In October 2008, Holter and Williamson put their heads together and formed Northern Outlaw Wrestling. Their first show was held in December of that year, "and we've been running since then."
The first show was held during "one of our fine North Dakota blizzards," Holter said. "We had a turnout of 70 people each night," he added. "From there, our next show was in March of '09, and we drew 300 the first night and 400 the second night, a pretty drastic change in attendance."
It was then that The Savage was in the audience.
"They had tryouts and basically, the N.O.W. board of directors liked what they saw in me and invited me back and by June of 2009, I made my debut at the Maysa Arena," The Savage said. "I've been doing it ever since."
Talking about his name, he said, "It was an aggressive name that fits my personality and my demeanor." He added that he grew up watching wrestling on television and then later in live shows in the 1990s, "but that died out."
"I was interested when I saw it was coming to town," he said. "Lo and behold, Minot was their home base."
Northern Outlaw Wrestling generally has shows in Minot in January, April, August, and October, and in Williston, in March and September. However, this usual calendar has grown.
"This past year, we joined the North Dakota-South Dakota Fair Association, so we have quite a few bookings in June and July for various county fairs throughout the state," Holter said.
Holter described WrestleFest III as family friendly entertainment.
"You take your family to the movies and get popcorn and pop and see an 1-1/2-hour movie for $60," Holter said. "You could come and see our three-hour live event, which is very entertaining and colorful and family friendly, for less than that."