PROMOTER PAUL C. WINKHAUS
Winkhaus was the promoter
in Greenville SC and surrounding area
for Jim Crockett Sr. in the 1950s
through the early 1970s.
Edited E-mail to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Greenville wrestling historian Don Holbrook
Yes, I knew Mr. Winkhaus well. He was indeed
Crockett's man in Greenville. He also handled Columbia, Asheville,
Anderson back then and did a few other cities around here from time to
time like Greenwood at the ball park and others. He was already up in
years, we are talking late 1960's for a reference point here. He lived
in Matthews North Carolina, outside of Charlotte and he was originally
from Ohio I think. He told me that he was a sports writer for a
newspaper somewhere before he got into wrestling. One thing I remember
was how creative he was at writing press releases that he would send
over to the newspaper here in town to go along with the ad they ran
every week for Monday nights card.
Most of the years Billy Powell was ring
announcer, he actually worked for Winkhaus. Billy would walk in the back
door about 15 minutes before show time and he and Mr. Winkhaus would go
over the line up and any changes or announcements, etc.
I actually rode to the Anderson Recreation Center with Mr. Winkhaus a few times on
Thursdays. There was a period of time he was running a show there every
other week or so. This was before I was old enough to
drive. He used to stop by the Greenville Memorial Auditorium on Thursday
afternoons on his way to Anderson. He also would run the tape for
Saturday afternoon television by the WFBC-TV studio over on Rutherford
on some of the Thursdays. I can remember running it in to the lobby desk
at channel 4 for him a time or two.
He was a nice old man to me, but he had a
gruff sounding voice and back then wrestling was so believable that many
of the folks around here would be on him the minute they saw him,
complaining about the heels, one thing or the other. He was interesting
to talk to and he would tell me wrestling stories and at a young age. I
thought it was so cool to have this inside track on wrestling.
Mr. Winkhaus died not long after he
retired. After his death, there was a short period I don't think they
had anyone acting as local promoter. I can remember Johnny Ringley,
Crockett's son-in-law coming down a few times, and once I remember Jim
Sr. was here on Monday handling things. There may have been an interim
along that time, I don't remember, but the next one I do remember was
Sandy Scott. He actually lived in an apartment out on Wade Hampton Blvd.
for a long while and ran the same towns Winkhaus did but also helped
George Harbin with Spartanburg and more spot shows in Western N.C. Then
Danny Miller came in when Sandy went back to the Charlotte office.
- Don Holbrook, Greenville SC
Despite what the caption indicates,
promoter Paul Winkhaus is on the LEFT,
Billy Powell is on the right.
Snow Cancellation and
Asheville NC 1970
Greenville Memorial Auditorium, circa 1970
Front Left to Right:
Floyd Ulmer, promoter Paul Winkhaus, ring announcer Billy Powell, and
timekeeper Wayne Hamby. Back left against wall: Don Holbrook.
(Photo: Gene Gordon / c. Scooter Lesley)
A neat little story about
this photo. Scooter Lesley, who owns the copyrights to Gene Gordon's
photo library, came across this photo and knew I was interested in the
old local promoters, ring announcers, etc. I was interested in who the
two other people in this photo were (besides Winkhaus and Powell) but
Lesley didn't know. I hadn't paid much attention to the kid sitting at
the wall in the background.
At Fanfest in Charlotte in
2013, I showed the photo to Don Holbrook, a good friend and Gateway
contributor for many years. Don's mother worked at the Greenville
Auditorium box office, and he spent many Monday nights there as kid in
the 1970s. He even served as timekeeper occasionally. I thought maybe he
knew who the others were in the photo.
"Floyd Ulmer (squatting at
left) was a part time box office employee at GMA," Don told me. "He also
went to Anderson and Greenwood for Mr. Winkhaus and sold tickets at
those shows. Wayne Hamby (timekeeper at right) was John Hamby's son.
They both did timekeeping, rotated I guess."
Then Don's eyes narrowed as
he focused on the kid in the chair behind the table. "Oh my goodness,"
he said. "That's me." Don had the biggest smile on his face. Forty-three
years after that photo was taken he was seeing it for the first time.
That was a pretty cool moment.
I asked Don why the ring
announcers table was in the back of the arena as opposed to ringside.
"The table was always in the
back at in Greenville," he told me. "I can not say why for sure but one
reason might have been Mr. Winkhaus walked with a limp and from time to
time filled in for Billy Powell if he was on vacation or whatever.
Winkhaus never got in the ring, made all announcements sitting at the
table. Billy did go to the ring to intro each bout. The microphone cable
had to be long enough for him to pull it to and from the ring."
- Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway contributor Don
Holbrook in 2013 with the 1970 photo seen above. Don's right hand is
pointing to himself in the picture, sitting behind the timekeepers table
at the Greenville Auditorium.
(Photo: Dick Bourne)
The Passing of Paul Winkhaus
Paul Winkhaus died
November 1974. He was ill for several months prior to that and could
hardly walk the last 3 or 4 times he came to Greenville, so much so that
he couldn't even make it down the steps to the dressing rooms to talk to
the guys. So they had to send the referee upstairs to get the
instructions from Winkhaus who was in a small dressing room on the main
floor level. Mr. Winkhaus "resigned", moved to his hometown in Ohio and
died shortly afterward.
I remember that he
took great pride in the newspaper ads and the results and write ups. He
was a former newspaper writer and had a great ability so that is why the
ads and the write ups were so good. I used to see him at Greenville
Auditorium in an outer office typing his materials for the newspapers.
Asheville was one of his towns and he worked really hard to promote it.
He was the main reason WLOS had
such a good relationship with Crockett Wrestling.
- Don Holbrook, June 2012
Thanks to Don Holbrook for this information
on Paul Winkhaus, and to Carroll Hall of WrestlingMemories.com for the
photograph of Mr. Winkhaus from a
1960s issue of Wrestling Revue magazine. Thanks to Greg Price for
the magazine photos of Paul Winjhaus and Billy Powell. E-mail edited by Dick