It’s no secret Ardmore has a historic past for hosting various concerts, events, and a multitude of special guests.

It’s no secret Ardmore has a historic past for hosting various concerts, events, and a multitude of special guests.

From venues like Heritage Hall, to the Goddard Center, Carter County residents have been treated to more than their fair share of action and entertainment throughout the years.

However, there is one arena which holds its own proud history of hosting and entertaining: The Hardy Murphy Coliseum.

Built in the 1930’s, the historic arena has seen more than its fair share of rodeo events, bull fights, and even pro wrestling stars come through its’ doors.

Names such as the legendary Von Erich family, Sting, Lex Luger, and many others have passed through the doors of the historic venue recently,  putting plenty of fans in the seats and sending them home with smiles and lasting memories.

 While the Hardy Murphy Coliseum might be a far cry from the big lights and cameras of World Wrestling Entertainment, or even the Ring of Honor promotion, many wrestlers still feel shows held at venues like the one in Ardmore provide something special not just to them, but to the fans as well who long for the glory days of wrestling.

“It’s absolutely special getting to do shows like this,” Ringling native and Imperial Wrestling Revolution talent “The American Outlaw” Dane Griffin said. “You grow up watching a lot of these guys, and then getting to interact with them and have matches with them is a dream come true.”

“This particular venue is extremely special to me because this is where I watched my first ever live wrestling event back around 2000-2001,” Griffin added. “Then to make it even more special the last time the IWR promotion was in this arena, I got to wrestle Kevin Nash in a tag team match. Venues like this hold some great memories for me.”

For other talent who might not be from Carter County or the surrounding area, they find that wrestling in Ardmore and the small communities around it can lead to much bigger things in life outside of the ring.

While former IWR Revolutionary Champion El Fuego Del Sol might have been born in Mobile, Alabama, he now makes his home in Carter County, working in Ardmore and living in Sulphur. He says having worked in the area and getting to perform makes him love what he does so much more.

“Two years ago we ran this venue, and it was my first ever big show,” he said. “Getting to come back here for one of the biggest events of the year right here in Ardmore, Oklahoma is very special for me. I feel like I’ve set my roots here, and I love seeing my hard work come to fruition. Here in Ardmore and the surrounding area, I’ve built a following and I love it.”

Fuego Del Sol added it’s important for promotions like the IWR to keep having performances at venues like the Hardy Murphy Coliseum because it gives talent like him and many others the chance to showcase themselves in the hopes of possibility getting noticed on a national level down the road, thus growing the business in the process.

“It’s paramount for companies like IWR to be here and to keep putting on shows,” he said. “I’m not a six foot tall type of guy that’s going to be instantly noticed by someone in another company. I have to scratch and claw to make something like that happen. Even getting to the IWR you have to scratch and claw your way into the promotion. The IWR is the most prominent organization in Oklahoma and in this area so getting to be here means everything to me and many others.”

Griffin added that while he’s recently moved to Texas, the fans are just as passionate in the Lone Star State as they are in the Sooner State no matter which venue they are performing in.

“There’s a prestige about wrestling in the south,” he said. “The fans have a connection with you in this part of the country and they are extremely passionate. Getting to put on a show of this magnitude in this area is mind boggling to me sometimes. There’s people in the crowd that I grew up with, and so many people I know at the show. It’s very special to me.”