Candidates seeking votes in local elections will “Smack Down the Vote” this Saturday, April 9, with an event that combines wrestling entertainment, a voter registration drive and the chance to meet and learn more about those running for office.
American Premier Wrestling, partnering with Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology, or CCAT, along with several other local businesses, is offering a free two-hour wrestling show along with a “meet and greet” and voter registration drive beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, said Dr. Tom Caiazzo, political science professor at East Georgia State College and chairman of the CCAT Governing Board.
The "professional wrestling sports entertainment show (is) to encourage the citizens of Bulloch County to become active participants in their democracy," he said. "This is the most epic civic engagement event to ever come to Bulloch County that combines community awareness with sports entertainment. It all is an effort to register people to vote and to offer the public a chance to meet and talk with the candidates running for office in an informal and genuine manner."
There are 20 confirmed candidates participating, including all three candidates for the Bulloch County sheriff's seat and all five contenders for the Bulloch County probate judge position, he said.
That so many candidates "have taken time out of their busy schedules to attend this unprecedented event" is impressive, he said.
"Their willingness to attend this civic event speaks volumes about their genuine care and concern for all the people of this community."
Each candidate will have the chance to "give a brief overview of who they are and their campaign from inside the ring," he said.
Candidates scheduled to attend the event include Jared Akins, Keith Howard and Noel Brown for the Bulloch County sheriff's seat; Charlie Aaron, Lonnie Ellis, Martin "Marty" Waters, Kevin Wadley and Lorna Glisson DeLoach for Bulloch County probate judge; Heather Mims for Bulloch County School Board District 7; and Eugene Yu for U.S. Congress. Also present will be Cheri Wagner, Shalah Hendrix and H. Lee Jones for Bulloch County School Board District 1; Daniel Almond for Georgia State House of Representatives District 159; Richard Mallard for Ogeechee Judicial Circuit district attorney; Michael Muldrew, Martha Hall and Mickey Kicklighter for Ogeechee Judicial Circuit superior court judge; Jimmy Hayes for Bulloch County commissioner seat 2A; and James "Major" Woodall for State Representative District 160.
The two-hour wrestling show will feature many American Premier Wrestling stars, including Cujo, The New ERA, The Terk, Tattoo, Armor and World Heavyweight Champion Adonis, Caiazzo said.
"Southern champion and national superstar The Iron Mann is flying in specifically to help his friend Cujo make sure the ‘Smack Down the Vote’ is a success," Caiazzo said.
There will be complimentary chips and salsa provided by El Sombrero, as well as light snacks and drinks available for purchase. Local sponsors of the event include D&R Car Care, Ocean Galley, El Sombrero and Burger King.
CCAT is located at 149 Northside Drive East in Statesboro. The doors will open at 5 p.m. for the meet and greet and voter registration drive, and bell time for the wrestling show is 6 p.m. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted, with all proceeds going to the GSU Relay for Life.
For more information, visit apwonline.net.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.