West Texas was an exciting professional wrestling territory for decades from the era of
pioneers Dutch Mantell and Cal Farley to the legendary Funk Family. There was always
top-notch competition, including scientific grappling and intense brawling that was
"extreme" in every sense of the word. With sound leadership behind-the-scenes and
always a high-level of wrestlers touring through, West Texas was a region that stood
among the best grappling territories in the world.
Ex-Amarillo broadcaster Bob Izzard, in an article in the Amarillo Globe-News on September
7, 1997, claimed that wrestling in Amarillo began with Cal Farley and Dutch Mantell (Alfred
Albert Joe de re la Gardieur) and that the latter was only 14 when he arrived in the city.
The Amarillo Globe on May 28, 1940 reported that Lubbock promoter Sled Allen was going
to resume wrestling operations after being forced to close up shop "considerably more than
a year ago." Dory Detton of Amarillo was going to be one of the principals on his first show
on June 5.
On the front page of the Amarillo Globe, Friday, January 31, 1941, it read: "Dutch Mantell
is Dead." He died that morning at 10:20. He was said to be a "wrestler, showman and
promoter." Mantell was born in Luxembourg on July 25 and would have been 60 that July.
His birth name was "Alfred Albert Joe de re la Gardieur." He got the name "Mantell" from
actor Alfred Mantell, who advised him while in Australia. He began wrestling and boxing
while in Australia. Pallbearers were the Amarillo Mayor and Chief of Police. He became
sick in October 1940 and retired. He remained optimistic while recovering.
On Saturday, February 2, 1946, the Amarillo Daily News stated that Dory Detton was
reviving professional wrestling "here," and that he was a "high-class young man." Texas
State Labor Commissioner Leonard Carlton approved Roy Greenhill, an insurance man
from Amarillo, to be the local boxing and wrestling commissioner. Greenhill served in the
Navy during World War I and exited World War II as a lieutenant commander. He held the
boxing and wrestling post from 1934 to '37.
The Big Spring Herald (Big Spring, Texas) on Tuesday, February 12, 1946 reported that
Detton had established a promotion in Amarillo and planned to stage shows in Big Spring
as part of a combine with Sled Allen of Lubbock and Mance Allen. If things went as
planned, Mance would move to Big Spring to handle operations. Dory recently moved to
Amarillo from the West Coast, and he planned to use light and junior heavyweights
On Thursday, March 14, 1946, Detton staged his inaugural wrestling show at the Tri-State
Fairgrounds Automobile Building and the Amarillo Globe stated that it was the "first
professional mat card scheduled here in more than five years." In the main event was
Detton's brother Dean aganst Jack Carter. George Curtis would wrestle Tarzan Lopez and
Lobo Brown against Laredo Cyclone. The referees were Olan Boynton and Dutch Jones.
Sled Allen was a longtime promoter in Lubbock, Texas. After 26 years in business, he was
forced to sell out to Judge D.W. Bartlett. His real name was Fletcher Manson Allen and he
was born on August 23, 1886 and died on October 16, 1959 at the age of 73.
Drummond W. Bartlett was born on January 20, 1895 and died on March 29, 1963. Bartlett
co-owned the Tucson and Lubbock wrestling promotions with Dr. Karl Sarpolis.
Rex Mobley reportedly claimed to have won the World Light Heavyweight championship
from Red Berry at Jackson, Mississippi in 1941. Mobley worked at Galveston County Jail
for seven years.
Guy Kauffman was an assistant to Amarillo promoter Jerry Kozak from 1972 to 1983.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|West Texas Wrestling Territory