This year’s Relay for Life looked to give cancer a body slam.
For the first time in its 11-year history in this community, Relay for Life was filled with the high-flying action of professional wrestling. The card saw local resident Tim Jernigan make his pro wrestling debut and win a tag team match with partner Brent Powers, also from McMinnville.
“This wrestling is the best part,” said Matt Rains while recording portions of a match on his cellphone.
Action inside the ring was just one of many activities taking place around the track at Nunley Stadium on Friday night. McMinnville Public Works had a silent auction featuring a traffic signal and a parking meter.
McMinnville Public Works assistant director Brad Hennessee joked that the department considered offering another popular item for a raffle.
“We talked about including a streetlight,” said Hennessee. “For $1, you’d get a chance to have a new streetlight outside your house. That probably would have raised around $1,000.”
McMinnville Alderman Jimmy Bonner was among the people who climbed atop a dunking booth for the Mary’s Little Lamb team at Stewart Pharmacy. Bonner said his specialty was heckling the players.
“I made them so mad they couldn’t throw the ball,” said Bonner. “One boy was so mad he didn’t care about the target. He threw the ball at me.”
Fortunately for Bonner, he was behind a cage.
With temperatures dipping into the 60s as the night wore on, Alan Lalonde said he was pretty cold after a few dunks.
“It’s warmer in the water than it is up here,” Lalonde said from the dunking booth seat. “We’ve had a steady line since 6 p.m.”
Relay for Life offers a wide selection of food options as there was everything from homemade ice cream to smoked sausage. At the Big Texas Brisket booth operated by Westwood Church of Christ, BBQ nachos were going fast. Youth minister Matt Wilson was in charge of manning the grill.
“I started with 106 pounds and now I’m down to my last brisket,” said Wilson. “I was kind of hoping to have a little to take home, but that’s not going to happen.”
Wilson said it took about 16 hours to slow cook the brisket that was all gobbled up in about four hours.
The Citizens Tri-County Bank booth offered chicken salad that was homemade by Carla Savage and Jewel Groves. Their slogan was “Banking on a Cure.”
Over at the EMS booth, Teresa Garrison was waiting in line for a chocolate-covered banana. EMS employees estimated they had served over 100 of them and had to make a run for more bananas.
“It’s chocolate, but you feel a little better about eating it because it’s around a banana,” Garrison rationalized.
Among the mascots in attendance were the Irving College Tiger and Finley Fish from Captain D’s. Ethan Turner and his brother, Keaton, looked like mascots in their enormous sumo wrestler costumes. They were taking part in the theme of “Dream Big, Hope Big, Relay Big.”
“They said come big so we look maybe 400 or 500 pounds,” said Ethan.
River Park Hospital had a unique booth which allowed visitors to get their picture made wearing funny costumes. The camera took a series of four pictures very quickly and participants were asked to change costumes between each shot.
“We wanted to provide a cool Relay keepsake,” said hospital employee Ashley Wright.
In a change from years past, Relay for Life did not extend well into Saturday morning. Instead it ended Friday at midnight.