Old Glory

Unreal catches up with the winner of the Miss Nursing Home Pageant, wrestles with Bruiser Brody's legacy and cheers on Chilly Willie.

Late last month Sylvia Brickman Slone, a 94-year-old resident of the Miller County Care and Rehabilitation Center in Tuscumbia, Missouri, was named the winner of the Missouri Health Care Association's 26th Annual Miss Nursing Home Pageant. Slone is described by her daughter Lolly as "a little country girl who grew up to be kind of special." After being widowed by her husband of more than 50 years, Brickman Slone remarried at the age of 90, breaking the pacemaker-propelled hearts of countless men. Unreal managed last week to track down the pageant's queen. It wasn't difficult.

Unreal: Did you enter any beauty pageants when you were younger?

Sylvia Brickman Slone: No, I lived on a farm, way out in the country. I'm 94 years old and that was a long time ago. You sound nice.

Dan Zettwoch

You sound pretty lovely yourself. What made you decide to enter this contest?

I didn't know I did. I didn't know I entered a contest.

Well, you won.

Yes, yes I did. Here at Miller County Care, they put me in it. You sound great!

Um, thanks. What types of events were there in the competition? Did you have a talent?

They asked about my family, where I lived. They asked me a lot of questions. It seemed like I answered them well. I'm a very happy person. I'm an especially happy person.

How did you prepare for the swimsuit part of the contest?

There wasn't one. No, that wouldn't be very pretty for a 94-year-old. We were all elderly. They decided for me, I guess they liked me. I certainly enjoyed it. My family was there in the audience. It was real nice.

So now that you're the most eligible woman in your nursing home, you must be beating the men away with a cane, er, stick.

I don't think so. I'd like to be. I think it's great. I have so many nice people here. I couldn't live in a place and be treated any nicer.

So what's next? Miss America? Playboy?

If they'd asked me, but I don't know anything about that.

Do you have any children or grandchildren?

I have four daughters, twelve grandchildren, and... [Asks someone else: "How many great grandchildren do I have?"] A bunch.

Any wisdom for aspiring young beauty queens out there?

Yes, to be themselves. Answer very truthfully all the questions. I think that always helps.

Honor Thy Brawler
Can you believe that it has been nearly twenty years since Bruiser Brody was stabbed to death inside a steamy Puerto Rican shower?

Arguably the greatest professional wrestler in the history of that august sport, Brody stood 6-foot-8-inches tall, with a wild shock of curly brown hair (and beard to match) and a forehead glossy with self-inflicted razor-blade scars. Always a formidable opponent, his suplex powerslam is legendary, while his atomic drop left more than a few opponents with burst hemorrhoids.

A force of nature in the ring, Brody, who wrestled in St. Louis under the nom de guerre King Kong Brody, was equally tumultuous in life. It's said the man wouldn't "job" — that is, to take a fall against an opponent. And why would he? The dude could wrassle! By 1985 he was supposedly the world's highest paid wrestler, pulling in $14,000 per week, which in 2007 dollars is a whole lot of dough.

But success breeds contempt, and Brody's refusal to job supposedly upset fellow wrestler and booking agent Jose "Invader I" Huertas. The night of his death on July 17, 1988, Brody was slated to wrestle he of the formidable man-breasts, Abdullah the Butcher. Huertas called him into the shower before the bout, where he supposedly attacked Bruiser Brody, grabbing him by the mane and repeatedly plunging a hunting knife into the giant's torso.

Huertas was charged with murder and brought to trial. But when the prosecution's star witness refused to testify, he was acquitted and continued wrestling in Puerto Rico until he retired in 2006 to pursue political office.

We may never know why Bruiser died, but one thing is beyond dispute: King Kong Brody was a great one. Thrice crowned the NWA International Heavyweight Champion, Brody also once held the WWA World Heavyweight Championship, and Wrestling Observer Newsletter named him "Best Brawler" five years in a row. What's more, two Brody biographies have been published in 2007 alone.

But perhaps the greatest honor came to Brody last Friday night at the Pro Wrestling Shirt Shop in Westfield South County Mall. That's when Brody was posthumously inducted into the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame, joining such wrestling luminaries as Ric Flair and "Wild Bill" Longson.

What, Unreal wonders, would King Kong Brody have thought of the festivities? Probably something like he once told an interviewer: "I'm happy to be hereŠBruiser Brody will always come in touch with people in every community, from coast to coast."

Weve Got the Willies
For the second year in a row, St. Louisans Curt Hoeft and Dave White will be competing in next month's Red Bull Soapbox Race, this time down College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island. Last year they finished nineteenth in a field of 42, but they have much higher hopes for their current entry, the penguin-shaped Chilly Willy Wagon.

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