Suquamish gets back in the wrestling ring

Ron “The Iron Buddha” Sutherland (far right) operates the newly configured Suquamish Championship Wrestling.  - Kelly Joines/Staff Photo
Ron “The Iron Buddha” Sutherland (far right) operates the newly configured Suquamish Championship Wrestling.
— image credit: Kelly Joines/Staff Photo

SUQUAMISH — Suquamish is grappling in its own wrestling ring once again — one belonging to Suquamish Championship Wrestling.

For the last year and a half the organization was known and operated a bit differently as International Championship Wrestling. However, after a professional falling out, it’s back again, owned and operated in part by the black-and-white-painted Ron “The Iron Buddha” Sutherland.

The final straw that broke the buddha’s back was when last month’s competition was pulled the night of — before the onlooking, sobbing eyes of children who’d come to adore the monthly matches.

“The little kids were all around the ring and they were just bawling. My kids, their kids, everyone was just bawling. It was really just a heart-ripper for me,” Sutherland said.

The competition ring, however, was not his. The decision had been made and that night’s matches were pulled, including the much-anticipated match against Tim Flowers, who was to celebrate his 30 years in the business that night.

Like all who face struggles in the entertainment industry, Sutherland believes the show must go on and it will at 7 p.m. tonight at the Suquamish Tribal Gym on Sandy Hook Road.

Sutherland already has his own ring.

The converted boxing ring is one of the many changes in how the organization will run from here on out, he said.

For Sutherland and his wrestlers, monthly matches were never about making money.

The overarching goal is to provide the community entertainment, an escape into a plot where good always prevails above evil.

“That’s what it’s all about is entertaining people where they can get into someone else’s storyline and forget about their problems,” he said.

Tickets for ICW were unnecessarily $10 per person, he said. “Oh god, I hated that.”

Now, under his authority, ticket fares for SCW are reduced to $4 for children and $7 for adults — starting after this competition when everyone gets in for the child price — he said.

Sutherland also donated 100 free tickets throughout the community and 50 to the Suquamish tribe.

“The thing about Ron is he’s never done it for the money,” said Charles Deam, who works for the recreation department for the Suquamish tribe.

“Some people go crazy if they aren’t able to play the sport they love to do. It’s not about the money, it’s about the kids, the community and the guys getting to wrestle.”

Deam said he is grateful for the wrestling events as it gives Suquamish residents entertainment to look forward to.

“It gives them a good place to be on a Saturday night — a safe place — it’s good entertainment for them,” he said. “He does a great thing out there. When Ron first came to me the event started out really small. There were between 20 and 25 people. I would say there was 200 to 250 that showed up to the event before this last one.”

The 19-foot ring in tonight’s competition will be surrounded by lumberjacks with straps ready for the unfortunate contestants who fall out.

“It adds a bit of extra drama,” Sutherland said.

Travis “The Sure Thing” Marcum, who is active duty in the Navy, is set to take on the world heavyweight champion Dash Venture.

“I’ve been wrestling for almost 10 years,” Marcum said. “I’m bringing pride to the military.”

Marcum said he joined SCW because of the competition.

“It’s better here than anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest and I want to prove that I am the best by beating the best,” he said. “I hope that we bring a positive influence to the kids that if you believe in your dream anything can happen and the tribe has been wonderful to us.”

Sutherland agrees and said taking on the wrestling role in Suquamish is something he does out of love for the sport and the community. What started out as a character has consumed his life, on a local and emotional level.

“The Buddha is more than a wrestling character, this is me,” he said.

“I’m like Charles Barkely, you don’t have to be a role model to say and do the right thing. You just got to be human.”

To see some of Marcum’s finishing moves, known to his fans as the “Whiskey Lullaby” and “Starstruck” visit, because, like he said, “You can never bet against a sure thing.”

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