“This page isn’t without its flaws, but the lead visual certainly worked. It’s a unique approach to an annual topic. The skeleton and general ‘wild west’ feel to the illustration make this fall arts preview VERY Arizona, and that helps set it apart.”Freelancer David Mendez's piece on Tucson wrestling legend Reggie Parks came in third for community personality profile
“We had no idea that an obscure graduate of carnival sideshow acts went on to invent the ‘giant, jewel-encrusted belts’ that are now emblematic of wrestling. We were delighted to be educated through David Mendez’s colorful, conversational tale of pioneer grappler Reggie Parks.”And an excerpt from the article itself:
So here's a thought: If a young man in Canada was more receptive to getting punched in the face, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might not have a touchdown dance; Floyd Mayweather might be wearing giant gold medals around his neck as he walks to the ring (Olympic judging screwjobs notwithstanding); and wrestling superstars like John Cena and Daniel Bryan might be fighting over a towering trophy on Pay-Per-View in front of thousands upon thousands of fans.Now, go click over to the complete piece. It's a good read.
But because that young man decided that he preferred shooting the leg to firing off jabs, Rodgers flashes his hands around his waist after big plays, Mayweather's entourage carries gold and leather over their heads, and superstars of professional wrestling get to wear giant, jewel-encrusted belts as proof that they're the biggest names in their business.
The man responsible for the belt craze is Reggie Parks: 80 years old, a now-retired veteran of the wrestling business in five decades, and the King of Belts.