Local favourite Irish Underdog may be stuck against the ropes in this shot, but ended up winning his match during the Champlain Carnival's wrestling event at VCI. Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand

Pro wrestling drop kicks-off the Champlain Winter Festival

“Welcome to Carnage at the Carnival!”

Those words rang true on the evening of Friday, February 2, 2018, when a pro wrestling event marked the beginning of the Champlain Winter Carnival weekend activities.

And what an event it was!

The free-to-attend event featured seven matches, including singles, triple threat and tag team, each fought out in the squared circle by a colourful roster of wrestlers of all shapes and sizes.

Among the roster was Glengarry’s favourite son, Ryan “The Irish Underdog” Donovan, who ended up winning his match before a cheering crowd.

“Wrestling has never been to Vankleek Hill before, so we want to put on a great show for the kids, with lots of excitement,” said Donovan, adding that “This is our first time doing Champlain Winter Carnival and I hope it won’t be our last!”

The many children in the audience seemed to be enjoying themselves, caught up in the over-the-top action while yelling classic wrestling taunts to the heels, or “bad guys”.

Among the crew was Josianne Tétreault, an event photographer with 10 years of experience shooting professional wrestling. When asked what kept the magic alive for her all these years, she answered:

“More than anything else, wrestling is a spectacle. It’s kind of like Christmas magic; if you can believe, for a moment, you’re sure to have a good time!”

The crowd certainly seemed to agree.

The carnival was off to a great start. In the words of Mayor Gary Burton, the evening’s chief magistrate, “Vive le carnaval! Enjoy yourselves!”

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