George ”The Tax Man” Albright and Hall of Famer, Dory Funk Jr. talk trash before the Super Summer Sizzler Pro Wrestling Event at the Hilton Ocala. The match featured the real Marion County Tax Collector George Albright wrestling as George ”The Tax Man” Albright. The event was fundraiser of the Helping Hands, which helps the homeless and others in need of assistance.
Wrestling at the Hilton? With an elected county official? Albright hits the wrestling ring — and the mat — for Helping Hands
It may not sound like a typical fundraiser, but it turned out to be quite successful. June’s Super Summer Sizzler Pro Wrestling Event raised $10,700 for Helping Hands, which offers assistance to area homeless adults and children with housing, food, clothes, medical, transportation, jobs, education and counseling.
About 300 people attended the event, held June 29 in the large tent behind Hilton Ocala. Helping Hands partnered with lead sponsor Dory Funk Jr.’s BANG! Professional Wrestling in creating this event. Brad Dinkins, chairman and founder of Helping Hands, said Dory and Marty Funk were wonderful to work with.
Dinkins liked the idea of a wrestling event, but he had to come up with a local celebrity willing to get in the ring with Funk and his team of pro wrestlers.
“We needed someone who would be a big draw,” Dinkins said. “When I approached George Albright, he was all for it. He’s quite a character. He gladly accepted, and then we put his photo on all the billboards and posters.”
So while Funk and his team of professional wrestlers were the pro part of this event, Marion County Tax Collector George Albright added the celebrity factor. On this night, he was George “The Tax Man” Albright, assisted by his coach and trainer Jimmy Gooding.
“I’m glad I did it,” said Albright. “I learned about myself. I learned a lot about what a gentleman Dory Funk is. And I learned what a great group of kids he has there.”
Funds raised from this event came from ticket sales and sponsorships.
Dinkins said the professional ring, combined with the great lighting, the smoke machine and great sound system made for lots of excitement and drama under the big top.
In between bouts, those in attendance were treated to a variety of entertainment, including Jeromy Williams, owner and operator of the College Road Chick-Fil-A, who shot flying miniature cows into the audience.
“It’s so nice when you can support a charity and, at the same time, have a good time doing it,” Dinkins said. “I was really pleased that could happen. It was a lot of fun.”
The $10,700 raised went to the general fund for Helping Hands, which helped 86 residents in 2012 with housing, food, clothing and other services. Helping Hands currently owns and operates two apartment buildings in Ocala, which has a total of 18 two-bedroom units. The charity also operates two thrift stores — The Helpings Hands Thrift Store and The Treasure Shoppe — that help underwrite support services and expenses.
“Our primary focus is to give people a safe, loving, caring environment where they can change their life for the better,” Dinkins said. “We give time, money and effort. Our reward is when we see people experience a brand new life — one with hope and one with purpose. That’s why we do it. It’s all about giving them something better for the future.”
The group’s next fundraiser is a golf tournament and silent auction set for Nov. 22 at Golden Ocala.
On a final note: The Tax Man went down, losing to Funk — a WWE hall of famer.
Alan Youngblood / Staff photographer
By David Moore / Correspondent