Rip, one of the Gateway’s first
interviews, a number of years ago, was with
the Super Destroyer,
Jardine. Frankly, he had several derogatory
things to say about you in that interview.
I’d like to read Jardine’s comments to
you, and get your response.
Sure, that’s fine.
Jardine said about you:
Hawk always tried to sabotage things. He
would steal the promotional tapes and hide
them so they wouldn’t get to the towns on
time. He was jealous and envious of people
coming in to take his position. Eventually,
he was fired.’
…all of that is a lie!
The Super Destroyer certainly wasn’t
very complimentary of you. I wanted to give
you a chance to respond to him.
(still laughing) My response is that
it’s all a lie! Number one, I NEVER stole
any TV tapes. I never did anything like
that! Never took any tapes; never destroyed
have no idea why he would say something like
that…I’ve never said a bad thing about
must have been off in another world.
I was always for all the guys. I don’t why
he would say stuff like that…unless he was
just flipping out.
Jardine’s comments on you have been
out there for quite awhile, so I’m glad
we’ve finally been able to get your
Early in 1974, Ric Flair entered the
Mid-Atlantic area…and was teamed up with
you right away. I believe Flair was touted
by the promotion as being your nephew?
Yeah, he was.
Tell us how you came to be Ric’s first
partner. You all held the Mid-Atlantic Tag
Team Titles for much of 1974. It was a
fascinating team…the pairing of the
youngster and the veteran.
Tag Champions, 1974
When they brought him in, he was kind of
green. They decided to team him up with me,
and as time went on, we became a pretty good
team. We did real well together.
this time, Swede and I weren’t partners
anymore. Swede had suffered a heart attack
earlier, but bounced back strong from it. In
fact, as I recall, Swede was into it with
Jardine when Flair first came in…
Swede was actually a ‘good guy’ at
That’s right. So Flair comes in, and
they teamed us up together. Flair was really
my first full-time tag team partner after
Of course, Ric Flair has gone on to
become one of the greatest names in
professional wrestling history…and is
still active in the business today. Back in
1974, did you see Ric possibly scaling to
Rip Hawk and
his "nephew" Ric Flair, being interviewed
by Bill Ward on
Oh yeah…I knew he’d be big. He was
very flamboyant…people noticed him from
This stretch in 1974 was also when you
and Swede started wrestling against each
Yeah, that was George Scott’s idea.
How would you describe wrestling against
Swede, after all those years of being
In a word…weird.
(laughs) I would imagine so!
It was weird. It went okay, I guess, but
it never really felt right. I mean, we were
together as a team for 16 years…that’s a
You left Jim Crockett Promotions for
good at the end of 1974. What were your
reasons for leaving the territory?
They told me that I had been around for
too long. That I needed to go, but I could
come back later. I told them that if I was
going, I wasn’t coming back.
I believe you ended up with Eddie
Einhorn’s IWA outfit during 1975?
Yes I did. After I left Charlotte, I
wasn’t doing anything. I was just sitting
around the house, and then I got a call from
Eddie Einhorn. He wanted to know if I’d
wrestle for him, and he offered me a
contract. It was a good contract…so
that’s all there was to that.
And as it turned out, with the IWA
during 1975, you were wrestling in a lot of
the Mid-Atlantic towns.
Yeah, but we were also getting around to
a lot of other places pretty good…like
Cleveland and Buffalo.
There was a lot of talent in the IWA.
There really was. Ernie Ladd was there.
Ivan Koloff went with it.
Ellis…they had some big talent.
After the IWA stint, I believe you
headed to Texas…and teamed up with Swede
again if I’m not mistaken?
Yeah, that was in the Amarillo
I guess your in-ring career was pretty
much winding down at that point?
It was…I wrestled some in San Antonio
and Houston, but I was pretty much wrapping
it up at that point. I finished up for good
And you’ve continued to live in Texas
after your retirement from the squared
Yes, I live in Hereford, Texas, which is
about 50 miles west of Amarillo.
Even though you’ve been out of the
ring for a long while, you’ve led and
interesting and active life since your
professional wrestling career ended. Tell us
about the post-wrestling Rip Hawk.
Well, I did well with several business
things I got into. Did you ever hear of the
popcorn on the cob?
I sure have…I thought that was the
coolest thing! I’ve given that as gifts
We started the popcorn on the
cob…where you pop it right on the cob in
the microwave. We put that on the market. I
got with some farmers, and they grew it. And
we got other people to do the cutting,
cleaning and packaging of it. I went to a
lot of different places promoting it, and
setting it up to sell. We sent some to
Japan. It did well…if was kind of a
‘fad’ type of thing.
I loved it…but had no idea you were
involved in it, or I would have bought more
(laughs) We ended up selling it to the
people at Disney World in Orlando…and the
Holiday Inn Hotels there would give it out
to the people staying there.
You’ve also taught school at the
junior high level, and coached wrestling
since you’ve been retired from
Right on both counts! I coached
wrestling for many years…this year was the
last year I did it.
have one kid that I’ve had since he was 10
years old...his name is Jeremiah Beltran. He
got a scholarship to Ohio
University…he’s going to the Olympic
trials next week. He got a four year ride.
He sent me something not too long ago from
USA Wrestling…and I was referred to as his
That’s terrific, Rip! Now, when you
coached wrestling I believe it was through
So, you were training young guys to go
into amateur/collegiate wrestling…it
wasn’t a professional wrestling school.
That’s right…I have some that went
on to Oklahoma University, which is quite a
And currently, at 74 years young, you
are a personal trainer at the YMCA in
Hereford. In fact, we’re doing this
interview between clients that you are
scheduled to train this evening!
. I really enjoy what I do…I find I can
really help people. I’m a fitness director
at the [YMCA]. I gotta keep my feet
going…never lay down. I don’t want to go
home, sit down, and just watch the birds fly
(laughs) Sounds like you’re still
going very strong!
I work sometimes nine hours a day.
I can vouch to our readers that Rip is
working hard this evening. We had to delay
our interview tonight 20 minutes, so you
could finish working out a client!
(laughs) That’s right!
, I’m so proud of what I’m doing now. I
have people come in here with various
sicknesses and diseases, and I’m really
able to help them.
Give us an example if you would.
I’ve been working with someone who has
MS, and she could barely walk when she came
in here. I’ve been exercising her, and
she’s walking real well now. I’ve had
her in here for nine weeks…next week will
make it ten weeks.
That must be really gratifying…to see
those kinds of results.
It’s fantastic. I’ve had people here
with bone cancer…all kinds of illnesses.
But they do it all…I just tell them how to
Well, they have to physically do the
exercises, but without your guidance and
encouragement they aren’t going to get
I also work with people that have issues
with their weight, and have gotten some
great results there as well.
Do people in Hereford know or remember
you as being a great professional wrestler?
Oh yeah…they know I was a wrestler. I
was invited over to a Kiwanis Club function
one time, and really all I did was tell
wrestling stories. I told them after awhile,
‘Doesn’t everybody need to be getting
back to work?’ And they said, ‘No…we
want to hear more stories!’
(laughing) That sounds like something I
would have said!
I enjoyed myself there!
You obviously enjoy talking about
wrestling, and have certainly stayed active
in amateur wrestling in later years. Do you
ever watch professional wrestling today?
I really don’t have too much use for
today’s wrestling. But you know, the guys
today work hard…don’t get me wrong.
But they’re being pushed and pushed
and pushed to do things that are very
dangerous. They don’t want them to use any
moves and holds anymore. You know, guys can
get hurt pretty bad doing some of that
That’s happened…there have been a
slew of bad neck injuries over the last few
years with a lot of today’s top guys. Just
a cumulative effect from the constant high
If it’s done well…people like
McMahon (and the WWE) has started to go back
towards a more ‘old school’ style of
wrestling. I suspect all of the injuries
have driven him to do that, but whatever the
reason, it’s nice to see a little shift in
We had an old saying…(Johnny)
Valentine said it and did it best. Take that
move or hold, and if you work it long
enough…you’re gonna get ‘em. Make
those people sit there, because they’re
going to want your opponent to get out. But
you don’t let him get out…you stay with
that move. And finally, the people are gonna
get into it. They’ll hit that stage of
Valentine was a master of that…he
certainly practiced what he preached in that
Yeah, he did. And that’s the way it
should be done. And it will work today!
There are guys around today with a lot
of talent. They have Kurt Angle…and a
Do you keep up with any of your
colleagues from when you were wrestling?
Some local guys from around
here…that’s about it. A guy named Ricky
Yes, the father of Mark and Jay
Youngblood…who were with Crockett a number
of years after you left the territory.
In November, there will be the second
Mid-Atlantic Legends Reunion and Fanfest
held in Charlotte. I know I speak for a lot
of fans in that we would love to see you
I hope it will work out for me to be
there with everybody.
When you were in the Crockett area
wrestling, what were some of your favorite
towns and places to go?
I used to love going to Richmond and
Norfolk. I think they were my favorites.
We loved you in Richmond…I tell you
that! You made many a Friday night enjoyable
for us in Richmond. And I know
Thursdays down in Norfolk as well.
Yeah…they were my favorite towns of
all of them. And Charlotte…I enjoyed
Did you live in Charlotte while you were
campaigning in the territory?
Most of the boys lived in Charlotte,
Yes, they sure did.
, I wanted to mention something else if I
I have a daughter, Jessica, who is quite
Please tell us about her.
She was a great volleyball player. She
played in high school, and made varsity as a
sophomore. Then she got a ride to Waylon
Baptist University, in Plainview, Texas, and
she did great there playing volleyball. Now
she’s the Director of the High Plains
Volleyball Association in Amarillo…she
also coaches volleyball there. She’s got a
pretty good job.
That’s great…following in her
father’s athletic footsteps!
In a way, I guess!
Well, finishing up Rip, is there
anything you’d like to say to all the fans
Are you still taping this? (laughs)
(laughing) Yes! And please keep in mind,
members of the Rip Hawk Fan Club are still
lurking out there and listening to you now!
(laughing) I’ll definitely remember
that as I choose my words!
seriously, it’s just great to know after
all these years that you have people out
there that still remember you. Once in
awhile, I’ll hear from wrestling fans. The
other day, I got a picture sent to me from a
fan in Pennsylvania that he wanted me to
autograph. And of course I signed it, and
sent it back to him.
really nice to know that people haven’t
Believe me, you haven’t been
forgotten…far from it. We’ve had as much
or more interest in this interview with you,
than any one we’ve ever done.
That’s really nice to hear.
It’s been a true pleasure to speak
with you tonight, Rip. I greatly appreciate
all the time you’ve given the Mid-Atlantic
Gateway on a busy evening for you. I hope we
can do this again soon.
Sure…anytime you want to,
. Maybe a number of times…I might want to
live another 20 years! (laughs)
(laughs) You have enough memories and
stories to keep our site going at least that
Well, I really appreciate everything.
I’m really happy you called.