Tales From America: Rat Wrestling in Iowa

A Post By: Big Jim Ryder

There are two things I care about in life:

1) My momma

2) Rat wrestlin’

I’ve been rat wrestlin’ on the amateur circuit for 5 years now. It all started like a dream. With Rat Wrestling Thursdays at Fat Al’s Bar. I was the best around. Fat Al was this fat idiot everyone knew, but he could pour a cold one, and on Thursdays he would fence off the smoking section and release 15 live corn rats into the “pen”. Contestants had two minutes to kill as many rats as possible. If you were going too fast, Fat Al would drop in The King, which was a 28 pound sewer rat he raised from a baby. I was good. I tangled with The King nine times. People from all over the county used to come and watch me and say to their kids “you can only hope to wrestle half as good as Jim one day.” I would snap rats in half and they’d cheer and whistle. It was like being dead and goin’ to Heaven, but right here in Iowa. Which…is kinda like Heaven. But with more corn. I would know, on the account that my cousin Darla got run over by a tractor when she was nine and she met Jesus, and was legally dead for 34 minutes.

But you can only stay the Rat Wrestlin’ King at Fat Al’s for so long. Then you gotta move on to bigger and better things. You gotta make a name for yourself. So I decided to try and make it on the pro circuit. First, I need a sponsorship. I asked John Dear which is the foremost provider of stationary in Iowa. Alls I had to do was put a sticker on my truck, and tattoo the logo onto my dog, Ronald. When the checks started comin’ in, I got the supplies I needed. A harness, a club, and an industrial flashlight. Pro Rat Wrestlin’ consists of being lowered into an empty corn silo on a harness armed with a small club and a flashlight. This might not seem dangerous, but them rats are some big fuckers. When the silo is empty they spend the entire time just eating corn and growin’ big. In fact, Delmarma, the vet in town, said they would probably keep growin’ if us rat wrestlers didn’t club em to god damn death. One time, in the middle of a match between me and Reilly O’Tater (who’s the best rat wrestler between here and Aimes) I saw a rat that was 3 feet long, no joke. That thing came snarling at me and bit my left collar-bone clean off. I was beating that thing in the head with my club and it’s skull started caving in and it was screaming and it was nuts. My adrenaline was going so hard I didn’t sleep for three straight days.

One day, I’ll be the best. I’ll bring home the cup. I’ll beat Reilly O’Tater. Cause I believe in my dreams and I know Grandmammy is watching over me every day.

I’ve never read your magazine or website or whatever, but if I had to say one thing for your America series…I guess I would say “kill rats and love your momma”.

-Big Jim Ryder


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