NWA Member: Roy Welch
Admitted to Organization: November 26, 1949
Corporation Name: Midsouth Booking Office
Dyersburg Office: 700 E. Court Street; P.O. Box 581 (1954)
Phone Number: Dyersburg 309 (1955)
In Association with Nashville Booking Office
In the early 1950s, Roy Welch controlled the Mid-South Booking Office out of Dyersburg and
Nashville, Tennessee, which sent wrestlers to the following cities: Nick Gulas (Nashville,
Chattanooga, Columbua, Gallatin, Shelbyville), Scotty Williams (Owensboro, KY), Mickey Barnes
(Kingsport, TN), Virgil Hatfield (Jonesboro, AK), George Cazana (Knoxville), Herb Langston
(Jackson, Dyersburg), L.R. Thomas (Cape Girardeau, MO), Mike Meroney (Blytheville, AR),
Henry Cardy (Bristol), Jack Keiler (Paducah), Charlie Garvin (Bowling Green).
Cape Girardeau was booked by Sam Muchnick at one point, and Muchnick also sent talent to
Louisville through 1955, perhaps longer, before the city went to the Welch-Gulas faction.
On April 16, 1954, Welch wrote a letter to Muchnick notifying him that Dick Lever and Nick
Carter were running opposition in East Nashville at the New Dixie Arena on the same night they
ran at the Nashville Hippodrome Arena. Welch provided a listing of wrestlers working for Lever
and Carter and they included Tarzan White, Leo Jensen, Farmer Brown or Hillbilly Spunky,
Helen Blazes, Bertha Smith, Buddy LaRosa, Joe Cassins, Floyd Red Bird, and Elmer Davies.
Welch added: "These are the same wrestlers who are in opposition to us in the Alabama
territory," and "We have been informed by Les Wolf (sic) that they are contemplating on
opening in Memphis, Little Rock and other Arkansas towns."
On September 15, 1957, the Kingsport Times-News reported that Antone Leone was buying the
local wrestling franchise from Mickey Baarns for $9,000. Leone began promoting the city almost
immediately. Baarns bought the rights of Memphis for $30,000. Baarns had several stomach
operations in the last 18 months and Bill Canny of 1632 Fairfield Avenue, promoted for him.
Baarns' son Donald was a wrestler in 1961.
The Kingsport Times, on Monday, June 16, 1958, reported that Baarns had bought the Upper
East Tennessee wrestling franchise, which he had sold a year earlier. Baarns had left
Kingsport to run a larger operation in Memphis, and he was going to maintain his Memphis
business - but wanted to live in Kingsport (his home since 1944) because he disliked the big
city. He purchased the local franchise from Antone Leone, who had promoted wrestling in
Kingsport, Johnson city and Bristol since June 1957. Leone planned to return to the wrestling
ring. The newspaper indicated that the deal had been reached "last week."
In March 1963, Baarns sold the Kingsport territory to the Mid-South Wrestling office. The latter
would debut on Tuesday, March 19 with the debut of Jack and Johnny Long of St. Joseph.
George Grant was the matchmaker in Kingsport in September 1963.
In November 1964, Lester Welch was the president of Mid-South Wrestling Enterpises.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Dyersburg Booking Office