Thursday, August 19, 2010

HOW I SURVIVED THE GATHERING..PART 2

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO DUTCH


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WRESTLING TRAINING CAMP OPEN
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We not return you to normal programming.  

NOW PART TWO OF THE BLOG...


HOW I SURVIVED ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST...OR...
MY WONDERFUL TIME AT AN OUTSIDE MENTAL HOSPITAL!! 

THE GATHERING OF THE JUGGALOS
2010  
PART DOS...
which is Spanish for Two!!!   ¿Comprendez cabron? 


Time for an update on my activities last weekend at the 11th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos Festival in Cave in Rock, Illinois.  In my last blog,  I mentioned I had a lot to write about.  I do.  The Tila Tequila incident is not being forgotten...and apparently little Tila is surging ahead with a lawsuit against the promoters of Gathering of the Juggaloes stemming from her encounter with some 'nasty' Juggaloes  last weekend.    The purpose of this blog today is to give you a feel how it felt, not only backstage with the other wrestlers, but the general mood of being right in the middle of 20 some odd thousand people who follow two guys,  the Insane Clown Posse, all over the country whenever they perform a show.   Whether you're a fan of the ICP or not,  one thing you will have to admit is that they've tapped into a very loyal fan base and a fan base that pro wrestling should be studying.   The closest thing that I've ever seen in the pro wrestling business that even comes close to the loyalty of the ICP fan...was the loyalty that the old ECW fans displayed back in the old bingo hall days. 

In case you missed my earlier blog...what is a Juggalo?  Hell, if I know, but I know one when I see one.  I can't even explain it in words that would get you to understand it. So, in lieu of words, click on this video of comedian Tom Green, who documents his one night stand with the Jugs. The video opens with Tom sitting with Tila Tequila at an airport gate talking about the upcoming Gathering on the Juggalos. Watch it and then come back here..for the rest of this blog.



I've heard so much about the ICP Gathering. I've heard it was dangerous, weird, surreal, loud and the damnest thing I would ever see. I can attest to all of that but I want to add one thing. Even with all those elements in play, for me, and I'm just speaking for myself, I enjoyed my stay more at the Gathering than I enjoyed myself at Wrestlemania, at Starrcade, at any TNA PPV that I've ever done and any show I ever booked in Puerto Rico. I had a blast and one reason is that when you see a Juggalo...you get what you see.  They're some real people....albeit a little over the top.  To me, it was the most fun that I've had in the wrestling business in the last 15 years.   So with that said...on with the blog.


Let me talk about how I even got booked on the show first.   My phone rang about three weeks prior to the event when a representative of the ICP Gathering,  called me and wanted to book me for a couple of shows.  I was  already booked on other shows but even if I hadn't been booked,  I had heard so much about the Wrestling Shows there...that I had absolutely no interest in going.  If you watched the video clip above...when the Juggalos threw at Tila Tequila...at least she was facing them.  In a wrestling ring,  wrestlers don't have that luxury.  The fans would be throwing from all 4 sides at once and more or less reenacting a Biblical stoning scene.  So for that reason alone, my interest dwindled.

But two days later, I got another call from Corporal Robinson,  a wrestler who helps book ICP their wrestling events and who I've known for several years.  The good Corporal said that they had an great interest in booking me for the Legends part of the Juggalo wrestling event at the Gathering.   I like Corporal and he has always been straight up with me but I told him that I had always heard that the Juggs are notorious for beating the crap out of wrestlers during their events.  Of course,  this was weeks before the event and now after you've witnessed,   the Tila Tequila incident,  you have some indication of what I had been hearing and what I was trying to avoid.   I had no desire to get the dog crap beat out of me by a wild mob of  people for no apparent reason...other than I was a 'human target'.   But he promised that the problem had been taken care of and that there would be no rowdy behavior this year.   I thought,  how do you get Juggalos to just stop their medieval behavior?  Just ask them?   I was hesitant but he promised that I would have no trouble at all.  I even made him 'pinky promise'.   He did.   So I agreed to go. 

Corporal then laid out what and when I would be going into the ring.  I have never heard this in my entire wrestling career.  I wasn't given a match number,  I was given a time and that time was...4AM.  Let me repeat that.  4AM???  WTH?    I couldn't believe what I had just heard.  I was scheduled to go into a wrestling ring during an event called Flashlight Wrestling, of which I had also never heard of,  but that was to be my participation in the Legends part. I don't want to get ahead of my story but I ended up doing exactly like it was laid out...and I set two personal records at one time.  I set a record for earliest and latest match in my career.  Actually, my match officially began at 5AM on Sunday morning,  August 15th, 2010 for those keeping score and for the always vigilant and correct Wikipedia historians. 

DID HANK REALLY DO IT THIS WAY???

I remember a song by Hank Williams Jr.  who more or less sung the anthem of wrestlers years ago...when he commented on making show after show after show trying to make it in the country music business.   The answer is..YES.  This was exactly how he did it.  That's what what brought back the old memories...traveling all night to get to this town.  

Now lets get to the actual 'finding of this place."   I think I could have found Jimmy Hoffa quicker.   I knew it was in Illinois...close to a town called Cave in Rock which was only about 80 miles from Evansville.  When I used to work out of Memphis,  we wrestled in Evansville every Wednesday night back in the day.  So 80 miles was nothing.  I thought.  The plan was for me to drive to Evansville and meet up with Doug Gilbert and Road Dog Jesse James, who were working another show in Evansville that night.  After their show, we would all meet and travel together to the Gathering show.  So the plan looked good from the beginning. 

Doug had arranged a limo service to take us First Class to the Show and we left Evansville at 9:30PM on Saturday night in plenty of time to make the show since none of us weren't supposed to work until 4AM.  When I got into the limo,  I asked the driver what time did he expect to arrive at the Gathering and he told me around 11:30PM.  That was our first ETA time.  That was what he said.  That wasn't what ended up happening. 

Actual shot taken of my "OFFICIAL" limo, August 14th, 2010 as we left around 8PM for the 'short' 80 mile trip to the Gathering from Evansville, Indiana.  

So we started driving.  The 1st indication that we were leaving civilization was my cell phone dropped its signal about 30 minutes outside Evansville.  As I looked outside,  I could see nothing but pitch darkness.  No street lights,  no cars coming in the opposite direction, nothing.  But at least,  we were on a nice two lane paved highway.  Then about 45 minutes into the drive,  the driver, who wore sunglasses the entire trip. for no apparent reason other than to appear cook,  turned south onto a secondary road. 

This secondary road would be more described as a driveway...it was a narrow two lane highway with barely enough room for two cars to fit on it.  It was dark because we were in total farmland.  No street lights, no red lights, no town or even communities to go through.  This is there the Odyssey began.  Forget GPS because nobody in the car had any InterNet connection at all.  But I thought the driver knew where he was going.  I found out that the driver wasn't really a 'real' driver at all.  He turned out to be a furniture salesman who just agreed to drive this limo for the night.  The limo wasn't even from a limousine service.  It was a limo that some guy has just bought years earlier and had been sitting in his garage for years until Doug told him we were going to this show and he offered to let us use it.  This was the start of the nightmare. 

So we started driving...and I started wondering why the Clowns would pick such an out of the way place to hold their annual Gathering.  Later on,  I found out.  This place was handpicked for several reasons...the most primary reason is that its remote and hard to get to.   If its hard to get to,  its hard to police and that would mean the the Juggaloes could have their wild ass party with a minimum of police intervention.  Perfect.

Since we had no directional instructions..no GPS nor did anybody in the car possess the common sense to spend $3.99 on a Rand-Mcnally Road Map, sure enough,  we were LOST.   Big time lost.  There's wasn't anything out there.  No cars moving around,  no place to stop and ask and not any houses to speak of and the ones we did see,  there was nobody brave enough to go up and knock on the door.   The Texas ChainSaw Massacre movies kept popping in my head. After 20 or 30 minutes to driving just to find anything that would give us an indication of where we were,  we finally saw a sign that said ,  Cave In Rock, Illinois.  Wow..finally.  We all breathed a sigh of relief as we slowly drove into this dark little Illinois town at about 12 midnight.  It was late but finally we were at the place we needed to be. 

We drove up over a little hill and we stopped dead in the road.  We stopped..because the road stopped.   BAM!!!   We completely dead ended into  a big river and we could go no further.  We stopped and got out....and there was complete silence.  It was hot and humid...and there were no lights from the houses, no lights from the little storefront business and absolutely no traffic moving around.  Nothing.   The town literally looked like a ghost town and no movie producer or Hollywood set designer could have produced it better.  At the left of the road when it ended,  was a small playground complete with swings, slides and a see saw set.   But no signs of life.   There was a 50 gallon trash can attached to a short post and when I looked into the can,  there was no trash.   Nothing.  Funny, the things you think when you're way out in the country and LOST. 

We all got out...and I asked the driver...who still had his sunglasses on where were we?  His reply was,  "I don't know."   Well, if he didn't know then none  of us knew.   It was already 12midnight and he had predicted we would be at the show at 11:30PM and we were already 30 minutes behind schedule and LOST.  

The driver looked like the dead guy from Weekend at Bernie's except he could walk on his own but Bernie could probably read a map as well as this guy could.   As I looked around at this straight out of a horror movie scene,  I fully expected Michael Myers to come running out between one of those darkened houses with an axe and kill us all.  This NIGHT OF THE JUGGALOS might not have been such a good idea I surmised.

We got back in the limo and starting driving some more.  I told the driver...if you see a sign that says Evansville,   take it and I'll go back home.   The driver kept asking us if we were going the right way...and we told him...that we were on our first trip too.  What if you were flying on a plane and suddenly the pilot came down the aisle and asked the passengers,  "hey are we headed in the right direction?".   I would say that would panic most passengers.  At  one point,  I almost volunteered to take over the driving chores and I hate to drive.  But there's only one thing I have more than driving and thats driving LOST.  

As we rolled down the two lane blacktopped road with it getting later and later..it was 12:30AM by this time,  we saw a trailer off the the left and got a glimpse of a couple of guys standing in the driveway.  Usually,  we would nver pull in someone's driveway late at night but we had no choice really.   As we pulled in,  the guys in the driveway...I call it a driveway but it was more like a car path just in front of the trailer...we asked them where the F was this Juggalo thing going on.   I could tell that this limo pulling into the trailers' driveway completely caught these guys off guard.  They took their time walking up to the limo and as they got closer,   they looked at us like the hillbillies looked at Burt Reynolds and his crew in Deliverance.  they finally gave us some general directions and I was glad that one of them didn't say,  "You got a purty mouth boy."    As soon as we got the directions,  I said to the Weekend at Bernie's driver...."Let's get the hell outta here."


I had heard so much about this ICP Gathering festival...and that the route was clearly marked as to how to get to the Gathering grounds.  Clearly marked?   I think the Donner Party trail was better marked.  I never saw one sign, not one but I heard later that the Juggalos pull these signs up...after the fans get in so that fans can't find their way out. 

From the time we left Evansville to the time we actually found the site was over a 4 hour trip.  4 hours to cover 80 miles...that's not moving too fast.    But finally...we saw a bunch of police lights...some of them blue..some of them red adn they were all flashing as we pulled up in the limo.   The cops had about three or 4 cars pulled over and were giving the field sobriety tests to the drivers.   Most of the people they had pulled over wore all the Insane Clown Posse makeup.  

One cop had a young fat girl...about 24/25 years old going through the paces of determining whether she was drunk or under the influence.  I'm not an expert but it didn't take a forensic scientist to figure out that this girl was stone cold hammered.  The girl was stone cold hammered and almost fell down when she took the first step.  She was dressed in a halter top....and all she had on down below was a pair or red panties.  No shorts,  no shoes, nothing but panties.  She went to jail.
WHATS YOUR NAME AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?  

As we stopped,  one of the cops wanted to know who we were and what was our business here?  We told him that we were going to wrestle at the Gathering...and it was almost like we had told him we were his long lost brother.  He smiled and looked into the back of the limo and said,  "Well who do we have back there?" 

I spoke up first and said 'Dirty Dutch' and the cop said..."damn, Dirty Dutch, how the hell are you?"  

Then Road Dog said his name and then Doug Gilbert..and he knew all of us.   Funny thing about being a wrestler,  it sometimes works highly in your favor.   He then told us we were about 10 minutes away from the front entrance to the festival and to be careful.  He said they had already had a little trouble...a singer had been attacked on stage he said.  I found out later,  the cop was talking about Tila Tequila and the Juggalos were in rare form.    He told us to be careful because they (the police) couldn't come onto the property unless there was a death.   If I wasn't scared enough, talking to this cop damn sure didn't relieve any of my stress.   He also told us that they had arrested a couple hundred people.   Oh and BTW he said,  they had just gotten a report of a stabbing.  

WTF?  OK...now I thought that this was one BullShit show I had booked myself onto.  Here I am, out here in this GodDamn God Forsaken Hell Pit of the World..with a bunch of f'n loony tunes not to mention psychotics not to mention dangerous psychotics in the middle of the night with no telling how much they've been drinking or doing drugs.  But here I was...and if I could,  I would have had Scotty beam me up...and take me out of this situation I was in.  I didn't feel scared but I damn sure didn't feel safe.   But I was in too deep now to even think about turning around.  Damn, where was I to go?   It was dark,  I was lost,  none of us had any idea where we were and it was close to 1AM in the middle of f'n nowhere.   Could it get any worse I thought?  Maybe I shouldn't have thought that...it could get worse.

We drove a little more but we still didn't see anything.  I could not believe that a music festival like this could be so hard to find.  The paved road then turned into a gravel road...as we finally got close enough to see where the GATHERING fans were camped out.    It was very dark but on both sides of the dirt road,  all I could see were hundreds of tents..rows and rows of tents one right after the other. Suddenly,  I wished I was in the tent business because whomever had this contract damn sure wrapped up.   There were literally hundreds and hundreds of little tents but where were the people?   Some of the tents had clothes hanging out to dry,  and small campfires left unattended.  People were around...but we weren't seeing them.  Past these tents, there were parking lots jammed packed with cars and trucks and you could see feet poking out the through the windows.  I guess those were the ones who couldn't afford the tents. 

We drove for several more minutes through this tent city...and I've never seen more tents erected in my life.   Then we started seeing a few faces...but they were all painted white in the fashion of their heroes, ICP.   As we rolled past,  it was very eerie as we watched those white faces all watching us and in dead silence.   All they did was stare at the limo as it slowly rolled past.

There was no moonlight so the only light we could see were a few temporarily erected streetlights every couple hundred feet or so.  Not only did it look surreal,  it felt surreal too.  There was no noise at all.   I even rolled down my window but heard nothing but the sound of tires crunching on the gravel road.   After hearing so much about these crazed Juggaloes,  I halfway expected to see them chasing each other with chain saws and long butcher knives.  


This place was packed to the hilt.  We finally saw the light of a HUGE bonfire off a couple hundred feet to the right.  Activity was starting to pick up and then,  we came right up on a car that was partially blocking our path.   Some guy was standing outside the car in  semi-darkness and  talking in Arabic it seemed into a cell phone.  I don't speak Arabic but it didn't sound like he was ordering a pizza from Papa Johns.  He was excited and was talking very fast.   I don't know how he even had a signal but he was talking to someone.  We motioned him over to ask him if we were going the right way and he told us that he was a cab driver and  had just dropped somebody off and as he was leaving,  he was accosted and had just been robbed at gunpoint!!!


F**K!!!  WTF?  Yeah, this day had been one of the most interesting of my life up to his point...but I don't know whether I was at a music/wrestling show or watching a rerun of Law and Order but what lay ahead scared the crap out of me.  I still had to enter the gates of THE GATHERING and what lay ahead I had no idea but we already had reports of a singer attacked by the crowd,  a stabbing and now,  a strong arm robbery.   But nobody said this was a church outing or a Boy Scout Jamboree.  This was pure JuggaloVille and the night was just beginning.   I still had a match to get to and I had no idea how that would turn out.   One thing though....I had come a long way from Madison Square Garden and the Memphis Mid South Coliseum to a wild and crazy  underground music festival in Cave In Rock, Illinois but to tell the truth,  this was a helluva lot more exciting.    I'll give it to the Juggalos..they damn sure ain't boring.   As I looked at what was in front of me,  a wild scene straight out of Halloween,  Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Friday the 13th,  I knew that this night wasn't over and I still had to make it til daylight.  The surprises weren't over yet.    
TO BE CONTINUED...

Part 3 you'll hear about FLASHLIGHT WRESTLING,  A 7' FOOT FEMALE WRESTLER AND HEAR ALL ABOUT THE DOPE BRIDGE AND HOW IT FELT GOING TO THE RING AT 4AM IN THE MORNING.    

Stay tuned.

Leave comments below or email me @ dirtydutchmantell@gmail.com

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3 comments:

  1. "I didn't feel scared but i damn sure didn't feel safe"...I love it, can't wait to read more...----Dutch Dog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't wait for part three.

    Jason
    San Diego

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jason Moore23/8/10 11:11 AM

    Dirty Dutch I was at the Gathering of the Juggalos. This was my 4th year going. We had the big Tennessee Juggalos banner. Thank you and every other legend for coming and putting on a great show!

    ReplyDelete