CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Cheers, whistles, gasps and even boos could be heard from a mile away as residents at Caraday Nursing and Assisted Living Facility watched live wrestling as it was brought to them.
Administrator of Caraday Ernest de La Garza reached out to Gulf Coast Wrestling Alliance (GCWA) asking if the owner and his group could speak to his residents about wrestling, but owner and promoter of GCWA wanted to do something bigger.
"He held the first ever wrestling event in a nursing home in the state of Texas today. So this is Texas history being made today at 9 in the morning for our residents," De La Garza said.
The Coffee, Donuts and Body Slams show was free for residents, their families and friends, many of which are veterans. This was something new and exciting for residents, which Caraday focuses heavily on.
"There’s nothing we like doing more as wrestlers than fighting for the people who fought for us. We came and entertained. We love doing stuff for the community and try to give back as much as they give to us," owner of GCWA Ben Galvan said.
Galvan and the GCWA were awarded a plaque by Caraday as a token of appreciation for their wrestlers working hard in the heat and their acts of kindness towards residents and veterans, like Lazario O Camarillo III.
Camarillo was one face in the crowd that was familiar with the sport. He lived at Caraday for about a month when he fell ill. He's a Vietnam Veteran who grew up watching wrestling. He even traveled to Matamoros with his family when he was younger to watch shows.
"The wrestling is awesome. I didn’t know I was going to watch this. This is awesome for us to come out of our rooms and be here for a while. I like it. I like the way they present themselves because I noticed everyone is having a good time," Camarillo said.
Some residents like Camarillo were fueled to watch live wrestling again, while others were first timers, however, the excitement was all the same.
"It was definitely a change. Our crowd goes from crazy, loud, young people to these elderly residents who are a little calmer but I guarantee you these residents still had a fight and a kick to them and we loved every bit of it," Galvan said.
GCWA will have their next show on Friday, September 8 at the Valencia Event Center. They will also be returning to the ring at Caraday next year, turning the first steps of Texas history into an annual event.