Cheap Thrills

SLAMMERS: It all started with a phone call. Kathy English, promotions director for Tucson Greyhound Park, was kicking around ideas for dragging more folks out to the track. Seems things were going to the dogs, business-wise, when her boss mentioned the best track-side promo he'd ever witnessed was pugilists pounding their respective noggins to the roar of an erstwhile betting crowd

Suddenly, in a act of true jockstrap providence, the telephone lit up with someone wondering if the park might be interested in hosting wrestling. "And the rest is history," says English.

Now the southside track is home to "skull-crunching combat," as delicate chaps like Section 8, Big Daddy AWOL, Navajo Kid and Ripper practice their craft to the blood-thirsty roar of an appreciative crowd. And the action gets even thicker this week, when Rage Cage Wrestling presents "High Incident" fighting, touted as "The MOST DANGEROUS match in professional wrestling!!!"

And that can only mean one thing: "A 15-foot scaffold with TABLES AND WEAPONS inside the ring!!!"

But, according to English, "That doesn't mean guns or knives or anything like that. Basically, the weapons are their props. The guys are trying to make it a surprise, so they're not telling me anything else about it."

And she says the matches have been one humongous success, luring folks who might otherwise be watching PBS or out shopping for opera glasses. "All I know is the last event we had, it started out with a crowd of 100. But by the time it was over, there were 300 people out there yelling beside the ring. And let me tell you, that's 300 people who wouldn't be here otherwise."

While some of the scrappers come from L.A.'s booming Ultimate Fighting scene, this week's combatants are all homegrown, she says. And when you toss in draft Budweiser at a buck-a-pop, you've got yourself a regular ol' kick-in-the-shorts. Still, despite English's obvious affection for the big boys and their butt-whomping ways, those feelings stop at the turnstile, she says: "Actually, I'd like to find someone who's not so tattooed."

Rage In The Cage runs from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. Friday, March 28, at Tucson Greyhound Park, 2601 S. Third Ave. Admission is free. For information, call 884-7576.

SPACE COWBOYS: On a lighter note, the Sierra Club helps clarify just what county pols have in mind by placing a $362-million bond proposal before voters. Gayle Hartmann, of Friends of the Sonoran Desert, and Pima County Charter Commissioner John Kromko outline the many grim--and some not so grim--facts surrounding the behemoth proposal. Through discussions and slides, they'll describe the open spaces, historic preservation and park acquisition the county is after if the bond passes.

Free event is 7:45 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Room 220 of the UA Physics and Atmospheric Sciences Building, located on Fourth Street east of Park Avenue. For information, call 621-6874. TW

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