From staff reports

TIFTON -- For the past three years, Tifton native Chad Barfield has traveled many of Georgia's back roads to wrestle in small promotions all over the state. This weekend, that road leads back to South Georgia where he will face off against a former world heavyweight champion.

Barfield will take part in the first promotion of Spinebusters Championship Wrestling, a new promotion based in Valdosta with local attorney Jody Peterman serving as promoter. The card, which will be held Saturday at the Lowndes County Civic Center on Highway 84 east of Valdosta, will feature seven matches. Headlining the card, which begins at 8 p.m., will be Barfield, who wrestles under the moniker of Big Bank Barfield, and his teammates, dubbed Big Bank Inc. In the night's big attraction, Barfield will confront his former teacher, former world heavyweight champion Dory Funk, Jr., and his stable of wrestlers.

"I've worked with Dory's promotion several times and it's real big in Ocala," Barfield said. "Actually, I'm going to be going down there Sunday to do some television tapings. It's shown all over Florida."

Barfield, who lives and works in Dublin, said he considered getting into wrestling for a long time. Before he did, he became an avid weightlifter before joining a wrestling school. While the crowds and money are not the same as the WWE lifestyle, he maintains that the action is similar.

"Wrestling's wrestling no matter where you do it," he said. "Just like there's minor league baseball, this is minor league wrestling but it's still professional wrestling. We bust our butts to put on a good show and we get good crowds in the cities we work in. A lot of people follow us in the places we wrestle a lot."

Barfield is a Tift County High graduate and went to college at ABAC and Valdosta State. Using the ring persona of a wealthy wrestler, Barfield makes the most of that image with his finishing maneuver dubbed, "The Stock Market Crash" in which he drops his competitor to the canvas face-first

Joining Barfield Saturday night will be the other members of his group, Dave Holiday and the Platinum Playboy as they face Funk's stable of Adam Windsor, Magnum the Giant, the Claw and Funk's wife Marti. Dory Funk Jr. held the NWA title for four years in the early 1970s and has held dozens of regional titles over the years. His father and brother, Terry Funk, comprise one of the sport's most heralded families.

Other wrestlers competing on the card will be Mike Cross, Les Fortunate, Matt Kumma, the Freak, Rico Casanova, the Mario Brothers, Big Brooks Rogers, Jarrod Michaels, Rebel Rob Lee and Barney Rubble. Barfield, who is a two-time GPW tag-team champion, also credited GIWA Champion Mean Mike Stratus with his training.

"It's going to be a big night in Valdosta," Barfield said. "Dory Funk Jr. is the Living Legend and he's trained a lot of guys who were champions. This will be a chance for people to see what big-time wrestling is all about."

Tickets will be available at the door or by calling 229-247-0386.

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