Nearly 150 fighters had registered as of late last week for the 34th annual Southern West Virginia Beckley Auto Mall Toughman Contest.
Veteran promoter Jerry Thomas, of West Virginia Sports Promotions, and Power Country 105.9 are making final preparations for the event, which is set for April 5-6 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. Co-sponsors will be Advance Auto Parts, A-Bail Bonds, Suddenlink Media and Network WV. The host hotel is the Days Inn.
“I want to make this year’s event the biggest and best event ever held in Beckley; we already have set a record for the number of entries. Who knows - we may have 200 fighters this year,” said Thomas, who has promoted every event in Beckley.
As of March 27, local fighters who had signed up to fight included:
— Men’s heavyweight (185 to 400 pounds) — Gravey Bennett, Fayetteville; Kevin Canterbury, Fayetteville; Chris Canterbury, Scarbro; Jacob Claypool, Fayetteville; Corey Crist, Hico; and Travis Jones, Oak Hill.
— Men’s light heavyweight (160 to 184) — Troy Addis, Mount Hope; Jerry Adkins, Oak Hill; Dennis Kelly, Scarbro; Tyler “Top Gun” Nunn, Oak Hill; Winfred Shoemaker, Oak Hill; Seth Shuff, Oak Hill; Brian “Hard Head” Smith, Oak Hill; and Jeffrey Williams, Mount Hope.
— Men’s middleweight (140 to 159) — Devin Eastman, Ansted; Travis Eastman, Ansted; Austin Gunter, Mount Hope; Nathaniel Kincaid, Oak Hill; David Massey, Mount Hope; and Levi Pridemore, Victor.
— Men’s lightweight (up to 139) — Robert Carte, Hico; Steven Carte, Victor; and Robert Forren, Pax.
— Women’s middleweight (140 to 155) — Jennifer Havens, Mount Hope; and Bobbie Woodrum, Oak Hill.
— Women’s lightweight (139-and-under) — Vickie Browning, Pax; Tamara Kelly, Scarbro; and Kristen “Little Bit” Thompson, Oak Hill.
According to Thomas, advance ticket sales have been very strong; however, good seats are still available and are on sale at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center or online at wvtoughman.com. Ticket prices are $15 general admission, $20 reserved and $30 for VIP ringside (first four rows). Additional fees may apply.
The event has been sanctioned and will be supervised by the West Virginia State Athletic Commission.
Fighters and ring girls may enter by calling 1-800-296-3897 or online at wvtoughman.com.