Long-time professional wrestler and Murfreesboro native, “Dirty” Dutch Mantell has seen it all during in his many years inside the business both in and out of the ring.
He has been a part of the three major wrestling organizations in the world, World Wrestling Entertainment, Total Nonstop Action and the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling.
However, none of those experiences could prepare him for what happened in August, when his 16-year-old granddaughter, Amelia Keown, was killed in a car accident in Maryville.
Since that horrific ordeal several months ago, it has been hard for the entire family, including Mantell himself.
And those that have followed his long career know he is not afraid to speak his mind.
This is no different, but he has kept silent until this past week when he posted on his popular blog, “The World According to Dutch,” for the first time since the family tragedy.
Here is a sampling of what he had to say about his granddaughter, who he loved like a daughter.
“The loss of Amelia devastated our family,” Mantell said in a Nov. 5 blog post and who repeated it to me in an interview last week.
“Our star was gone,” he wrote. “It’s been three months but even now, I have trouble talking about her for an extended period of time without emotion. Even writing this right now brings tears to my eyes. My wife and my daughter break down at unexpected times in crying spells. It has been a horrendous experience and I would not wish it upon my worst enemy.”
Now, Mantell is calling on his friends inside the wrestling business to help put on a show this Sunday to benefit his granddaughter at the FWA Arena on 1018 Seals Street here in Murfreesboro called “The Amelia Keown Memorial Benefit Card Battle in the Boro.” The wrestlers who will be on the card are a who’s who of some of best known competitors both nationally and locally.
Some of them include TNA’s stars – James Storm and Crimson; and other well-known stars, Ricky Morton, Brian Lee, Wolfie D, Jocephus Brody, Abriella the Amazonia, Jeremiah Plunkett, Kerry Awful, Lee Condrey, Chris Michaels and many more – will take part during the seven matches, starting at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Sometimes people outside the business only focus on the negative aspects of the wrestlers and deservedly so.
However, those same ones miss out on all the wonderful things these performers do in and out of the ring, especially when one of their own needs help in a situation like this.
Hopefully, an event like this in a couple days will help the healing process for Mantell and his family.
Other than gathering a host of some of the top performances who have competed all over the world, Mantell also wants to use this event to get a law passed here in Tennessee called “Amelia’s Law,” so another family will not have to go through what his family has gone through in the past few months.
“We want to keep repeat habitual offenders and DUI/impaired drivers in prison for longer sentences,” Mantell said. “The man who crashed into Amelia was a repeat offender with 20 felonies on his record and was allowed out of prison after committing five aggravated robberies in 2005. The law must be changed.”
Hopefully, this wrestling card will help bring fans from all over the world to Murfreesboro, not only to see great wrestling, but also to help a family who has been dealt a terrible hand by no fault of their own.
Instead, they are left to pick up the pieces. In the end, Mantell has fond memories of his granddaughter.
“Amelia was more my daughter than my granddaughter,” Mantell said. “I helped raise her from day one. I was there the day she was born and the day she left. I thank God for giving us 16 years with her. She was a gift that our creator gave us. There’s not a 15 minute period that goes by without me thinking of her. We loved Amelia, as did everybody that met her.”
Tickets for the event are $10 for Adults and $7 for children ages five to 10, and can be purchased through PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bell time is set for 6 p.m. and for more information on the card visit www.dutchmantell.com or by phone 615-243-7574.