In a sport known for being loud, a Red Deer athlete was quietly given some recognition recently.
Vern May was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission back in March for his contribution to professional wrestling.
“I was pretty overwhelmed actually,” said May, who wrestles under the name Vance Nevada. “It’s rare that wrestling gets acknowledged outside of a wrestling or wrestlers’ only environment so to be in a room with some world-class boxers, kick boxers and martial artists – it was a pretty cool group.”
He’s close to putting the wraps on a career which has spanned almost two decades and he recently got into the ring for his 1,500th match.
“In the whole 100 years of Canadian wrestling only 10 wrestlers have wrestled more than 1,200 matches in western Canada,” said May.
He credits stubbornness for his longevity in the ring, recalling more than a few times over the last couple of years where he told his wife this would be it but something always seemed to happen which forced him to stick with it a little longer.
The reason for his change of heart was his belief wrestling in the region could return to the glory days of Stampede Wrestling and it was tough to let go when it looked like the sport might be turning a corner.
“Now we are into the last few months (of his career) and I will wrestle my final match in July (in Edmonton),” he said.
He admits he’s feeling like his body is breaking down and following a match back in September against Adam Pearce he explained his neck is starting to give him some issues. He is now waiting to see a neurosurgeon and based on what he has read and heard he might be looking at a procedure where his neck is fused to fix the problem.
“I’ve got a young fellow here who is about to be two years old and I don’t want to be broken down and not able to participate actively in his life,” he said about his son.
He says all which has happened to him over the last six months has really put things into perspective for him. It’s time to turn things over to the young guns of the industry, many who were not even alive when May began his wrestling career, he said.
“I’ll still be able to work on things in an administrative role so the guys in the ring can concentrate on what they need to do,” he said.