Wrestling fans will have the chance to be entertained and help support a number of worthy children’s charities this weekend in the Okanagan.
Invasion Championship Wrestling returns with wrestling cards planned for Friday, Oct. 20, at Rutland Centennial Hall and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Vernon Recreation Centre.
This will be the fifth annual children’s charity fundraiser staged by Invasion Championship Wrestling, past events having raised more than $100,000.
At the event announcement in Kelowna, donations were announced for the Okanagan YMCA Strong Kids program ($2,500); NONA Child Development Centre in Vernon ($2,500), Mamas For Mamas ($4,000) and Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, $4,000.
The boys and girls club were also the recipient of donation from the Gateway To Kids charity supported by Lake City Casinos.
Invasion Championship Wrestling is the brainchild of Kelowna residents Mike Rizzo and Mike Chisholm.
Rizzo is the general manager of Costco in Kelowna and has a past connection to the B.C. wrestling scene which carries on with Invasion Championship Wrestling events, while Chisholm is a senior marketing director for Costco and one of the managing partners of World Financial Group’s Kelowna office.
Chisholm says the event began with the driving idea to help raise money for children’s charities, an old-fashioned wrestling card held in Rutland Centennial Hall, a smaller venue operated by the Rutland Park Society that places the crowd intimately in the midst of the action inside and outside the ring.
“It’s been a great venue for us to get established and the Rutland Park Society has been a big supporter of ours from day one,” said Chisholm.
The star wrestler for the upcoming event will be Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase, a former American professional wrestler and manager, who is now an ordained minister.
DiBiase plans to meet with a men’s group Man Up during his visit to the Okanagan on Friday at Willow Park Church.
“We asked him what he would like to do during his time in the Okanagan between matches and his suggestion was to meet with a church men’s group so we worked to make that happen,” Chisholm said.
Wendy Swarbrick, treasurer of the Rutland Park Society, said the wrestlers invading Centennial Hall reinforce what the society’s intent behind building the hall back in 1939 was all about.
“This is a community event that brings people out to watch a fun night of wrestling while at the same time raising money to help children’s charities,” Swarbrick said.
She noted the event will also showcase improvements made to the hall this year including a new floor, interior painting and updated air conditioning system, with the next phase to be an extension to the facility with a new hall entrance accessible from Roxby Road.
Tickets are available online to the Kelowna or Vernon wrestling events at www.kelownainvasion.com.