Jerry Thomas: A Devotion to Promotion

Toughman Contest

Promoter, Jerry Thomas explained that he will be the biggest fan in attendance at the start of the (35th) annual Toughman Contest, which begins Friday, January 24th and conclude Saturday night, January 25th. Thomas will have the best view during this weekend’s event at Clarksburg’s Nathan Goff Armory, as he will be announcing each fight that takes place. Thomas, who is known for his legendary “Come on Down” introductions, explained that people have been looking forward to this event for months.

With expectations of filling the Armory with 3,000 animated spectators, Thomas explained that the weekend takes a lot of preparation, with help from eight ring girls, ten trainers, ten police officers, four firefighters, two doctors, and a number of paramedics. Along with those who do a lot of work behind the scenes, fans can look forward to witnessing over 130 registered fighters. Although some of the fighters will drop out due to failure at weigh-ins (and others who have followed Colonel Sander’s recipe), fans will not be let down and can expect an exciting time.

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Thomas explained, “My career started in 1977 when my younger brother Tommy wanted to be a boxer. I couldn’t talk him out of it so I decided I would help him instead. I began with helping him spar and then moved toward turning it into a business. I formed a company in 1980 called West Virginia Sports Promotion Incorporated and took the boxing to the next level.” Thomas went on to identify that he has been a part of over 1000 events including MMA fights, Professional Wrestling, Amateur and Professional Boxing, Meadowlark Lemon’s Buccaneers (Harlem Globe Trotters spin-off) and of course thirty-five (35) years of working with the Original Toughman Contest.

Best Job in the World

In his thirty five years of working as a promoter, Thomas believes that the best part of his job is the sense of accomplishment that he receives the night of his events. Thomas stated, “It’s a tremendous amount of work and it takes a lot of people to make it happen. When the lights go down and the event starts I am very excited, however, on the second night I get emotional because you don’t want to see it end.” Tickets for the event are still available at the Toughman ticket locations or on the Toughman website.