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Big Time Wrestling

Big Time Wrestling brings its traveling circus to Missoula

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Bret "Hitman" Hart

Bret "Hitman" Hart will appear at a wrestling show in Missoula on June 12.

Nathan Ward is a self-described king of travel sites Kayak.com and Priceline.com.

When your profession is shuttling wrestlers and wrestling equipment to far-flung cities across the nation, navigating your way through lists of air fares and hotel prices is a necessary skill to have.

Ward, a jack-of-all trades with Big Time Wrestling, the organization that brings its event to Missoula's Ogren-Allegiance Park at 7 p.m. Friday, used to represent talent. Now, he makes sure guys like Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Scotty 2 Hotty and Gangrel know what cities they have to be in and when they have to be there.

"We’ll go anywhere; We just got back from Scranton, Pennsylvania and we did a show at CitiField in New York City," Ward said Tuesday afternoon. "We’ve been as far north as Montreal and as far south as Charleston (South Carolina) and as far east as Plymouth, Massachusetts and as far west as San Jose, California."

With two ringside tables and "plenty" of reserved and general admission tickets still available, the show comes to Missoula with a lineup that includes former WWF champions, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound monster who drinks blood and then spits it through vampire fangs, and a man who goes by the nickname "Big Poppa Pump" and has biceps he claims are 26 inches around.

The six-bout card also boasts a hardcore match between former WCW Hardcore and WCW and WWF Tag Team Champion "Nasty Boy" Brian Knobbs against Mister TA.

The event will look like a scaled down version of what WWE presents weekly on television. However, there is one big difference: Big Time is more about wrestling and less about soap opera drama.

"We don’t have the television program or anything to really support story lines or anything like that," said Ward, who added that he didn't believe any of Big Time's current belt holders will make the trip to Missoula.

Ward and Big Time owner Steve Perkins rely heavily on social media to get the word out about upcoming shows. Online ads, radio spots and news briefs advertising the Missoula show began appearing nearly three months before its scheduled date.

Thus far, the reliance on social media, radio and newspapers has worked well for the fledgling organization.

"We draw more than some of the biggest wrestling companies in the world – or those who claim they are," Ward said. "We did a show in Bristol, Tennessee and comparative pictures between the crowd they drew and the one we drew and we out drew them at least 4 to 1.

"We have a very large fan base on Facebook. As you know, social media has taken over a lot of publicity for everything."

Ward said Big Time's big draws are Hart, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and Rick "The Nature Boy" Flair, considered one of the sport's largest stars during his 40-year career. 

Though The Hitman, a one-time holder of numerous championship belts, including the WWF World Heavyweight title belt, won't wrestle -- he retired from competition in 2000 -- he will act as an emcee of sorts. 

"Bret Hart will come out and set the night for the five or six matches," Ward said.

He -- and the rest of the card -- will be available to the public for a two-hour meet and greet that begins at 5 p.m.

"I think it’s a really positive experience for anyone to come to the meet and greet," Ward said. "They’ve watched these guys on TV for years now and it’s finally an opportunity to meet these guys." 

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