VOL. 1 ISSUE 4
NOVEMBER- DECEMBER 1981
issue of the Ringside newsletter for the United States
Wrestling Club arrived during the holiday months of 1981. The feature article was editor Steve Waid's interview with
Jake Roberts about his interest in refinishing furniture, snakes,
and his background in wrestling.
The issue also included
Club News, a matching game, and letters to the editor.
Editor: Sid Morris
Managing Editor: Sid
Associate Editor: Anita
Art Director: Sam
If he’s wearing his cowboy hat, chances are the first thing you
won’t notice about wrestling star Jake Roberts will be his tall,
muscular body or seemingly stone-cut good looks.
Instead, his hat will capture all your attention. It’s a rather
nondescript cowboy lid, except when you notice the hatband.
Now that’s a stunner.
It’s the skin of a rattlesnake, complete with head, open mouth and
fangs – make that one fang. It’s a chilling sight and it gives the
amiable Roberts something of a sinister air.
“I got that hat in Texas and the skin and head of the snake were
given to me by a buddy who is a taxidermist,” said Roberts. “I guess
it’s the kind of thing you don’t see every day. That other fang
broke off just the other day.”
It seems only natural that Roberts would adorn his hat with the skin
of a snake, because he has a fondness for the slithering creatures.
He has two pet snakes – a huge boa constrictor and a python, both in
the 7-foot range.
Don’t let his hatband or his unusual pets fool you, however. Roberts
is no “snake in the grass.” He is, instead, a fine athlete who has
only recently come into the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling area after
successful stints in other parts of the country.
From the town of Sweetwater, Texas, near Dallas, Roberts was
influenced by wrestling at a very early age. “My father was a
professional wrestler called the ‘Kentuckian’,” he said, “and we
shared more of a big brother/little brother relationship than
“I would see the huge number of miles he’d pile up traveling and I’d
see him get all busted up and I thought a wrestler was the last
thing I ever wanted to be.”
As a youngster, Roberts drifted into basketball, baseball and
football at Sweetwater High School, and in his own words, “I was the
master of none.”
But that didn’t mean he lacked athletic prowess. He got a chance to
prove that later in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he had gone to
visit his father.
“I was at a wrestling match with him and this guy didn’t show up for
his particular match,” Roberts recalled. “Well, it was suggested
that I fill in for him. My father was with me and I knew he’d be
“It was against a guy named Billy Ash. Time expired before he could
pin me or I could manage to do anything with him, but I took the
worst of it, let me tell you.”
“I went back to the dressing room and asked my Dad what he thought.
He said it was the worst thing he had ever seen and that he was
embarrassed. I considered that a challenge. I thought then I could
be as good as he ever was. And so, here I am.”
That was “six long years ago” and Roberts is quickly becoming one of
the more popular grapplers around. But he’s paid a price for it,
much the same as his father did.
“I went to Florida to start my career, but had wrist surgery and was
out for 18 months,” Roberts said. “Then I started back again in
Florida, went to Tennessee, Kansas City and on to Canada, where I
started out in Vancouver, British Columbia. Then I went to Calgary,
also in Canada.”
“From there, I figured it was time to head back to Louisiana to show
everyone what I had learned.”
Apparently, he had learned a great deal. He became the Louisiana
But again, injuries plagued him. He separated his shoulder and then
broke his arm twice, severely limiting his activities. Upon
recovery, however, he had to do his father proud when he won the
North American Championship in Shreveport, LA in January, 1980.
He remained in Louisiana until the middle of 1981, when he came to
the Mid-Atlantic area to become involved in the competition that
“I had to keep right on going in the sport I’d chosen,” Roberts
explained. “You have to go out and go places to make yourself better
and better. And for me, it means a great deal of personal
satisfaction, even though I’ve taken a lot of wear and tear on my
“It proves that no matter what the odds are against you, you can
achieve anything in this world if you work at it.”
To relax, Roberts makes furniture, in addition to tending his
snakes. It seems the creativity of creating a fine chair or other
household object is a welcome respite from the rigors of wrestling.
Outgoing and friendly, Jake Roberts has most of his career ahead of
him. Even though he didn’t approve of wrestling after seeing his
father’s involvement of several years, he’s met a challenge and
become one of the best in his profession.
“I never thought I’d be in the position I am,” he said. “I have
gained a lot of satisfaction from it.”
Ringside Editor -