Snow doesn’t stop WWE wrestling fans from meeting one of their heroes in Taylorsville
Mar 16, 2020 03:07PM
● By Carl Fauver
Store Manager Eric Cater (L) and brothers Todd and Troy Daugaard (R) pose with WWE superstar Charlotte Flair inside the Taylorsville Cricket Wireless store. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
Just hours after the Kansas City Chiefs came from behind to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, snow began to blanket the Salt Lake Valley. A lot of snow — a record-breaking amount of snow — fell all night long.
By morning, the heavy snowstorm was closing schools and snarling traffic. A foot of white powder was measured in Taylorsville.
But none of that deterred brothers Troy and Todd Daugaard of West Valley City from being first in line to meet their World Wrestling Entertainment hero Charlotte Flair, as she made a personal appearance at the Taylorsville Cricket Wireless store (5312 South Redwood Road).
“I got here at 10 this morning, to be first in line,” Troy said, while standing outside the store, wearing shorts. “I like wrestling, and this will be my fourth WWE wrestler to meet in person.”
The Daugaard brothers were at the store, along with dozens of others, but all in full-length pants, long before Flair arrived. Cricket Wireless Territory Sales Manager Will Palmer was not at all surprised, despite Old Man Winter’s visit.
“Cricket Wireless has had a partnership with the WWE for a couple of years now; and all of these events across the country, have had good crowds,” he said. “This is the second tour stop of 2020 and the first ever here in Utah. We’re very excited.”
Maddie Lockridge, with the public relations firm coordinating the nationwide WWE-Cricket Wireless tour, offered more context about the partnership.
“This is the fourth year Cricket Wireless has sponsored our WWE tour stops,” she said. “Both male and female WWE wresters make these personal appearances. In 2018, the WWE named Cricket Wireless it’s ‘Business Partner of the Year.’ So, it has been very successful.”
The high-profile event was also a kind of baptism by fire for Taylorsville Cricket Wireless Store Manager Eric Cater, who had only been on the job a few weeks before the WWE event.
“I graduated from Hunter High School in 2009 and now have a wife and four kids, all living here in Taylorsville with me,” Cater said. “When I first learned we were hosting this tour stop, I was ecstatic. We are one of the newer Cricket stores in the area, and I am sure this will help make more people aware of us.”
Despite all the snow, Charlotte Flair arrived at the store — across Redwood Road from Taylorsville High School — only a couple of minutes late for her two-hour appearance.
“I did not pack for this kind of weather,” Flair said, as she waded through the snow into the store. “This is the best part of what we (WWE wrestlers) do. If it was not for our audience, we wouldn’t have anything. I am always excited to meet our fans.”
Flair, 33, takes her performing name from the city she grew up in. Born April 5, 1986, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Flair is the daughter of former professional wrestler Ric Flair. Fifteen years ago, her high school volleyball teams won two North Carolina state championships. She also played two years of college volleyball at Appalachian State University in her home state.
In 2016, the magazine “Pro Wrestling Illustrated” named Flair their “Woman of the Year” and that year’s “World’s Top Female Professional Wrestler.”
“My dad and I are the first father and daughter to both win WWE Royal Rumbles,” Charlotte added. “I just won mine last weekend (in Houston), while my dad won his in the early ’90s (1992).”
You can bet those fans who stood outside Cricket Wireless knew all about when and where Charlotte Flair claimed her WWE titles. And she appeared genuinely pleased to be back with her Beehive State fans.
“I normally wrestle here in Utah once or twice a year, and I have always felt well received,” she said. “But I don’t remember it ever being this snowy before.”
For the record, it never has been. The Feb. 3 snow storm was the heaviest in the Salt Lake Valley since before Flair began her WWE career.
One of the photos Flair posed for during her Cricket Wireless appearance was alongside three generations of WWE fans. Or, perhaps more accurately, it was one superfan, along with his supportive mother and grandmother.
Aaron Pearson, 18, lives in the small community of Gillette, Wyoming, up in the northeast part of the Cowboy State, about 60 miles from Devil’s Tower National Monument.
But the 530 miles Aaron covered in order to meet is wrestling hero is nothing compared to how far Mom and Grandma travelled.
“We flew down to Salt Lake from our home in Wasilla, Alaska,” said Michele Brevard, Aaron’s grandmother. “This WWE tour stop was not the only reason we came down. We are also looking for a home in Utah. But we did time our trip so we could be here, with Aaron, to meet [Flair].”
For his part, Pearson showed up at the Cricket Wireless store with two still-in-the-box Charlotte Flair dolls for her to autograph.
“I have been a fan since I was a little kid,” Aaron said. “I am the youngest of three brothers, and we used to all be WWE fans. My brothers have gotten away from it a little, but it’s stuck with me.”
Until recently, Pearson lived with his mother and grandmother in Alaska. Now living with his father in Wyoming, he has personal possessions packed to be moved down. Brevard said that is proof positive of just what a WWE fan her grandson is.
“We have a 26-foot U-Haul trailer packed full of Aaron’s belongings up in Wasilla, ready to bring down,” she said. “And at least half of it is full of WWE stuff: belts, signed shirts, you name it. I think Aaron buys stuff every day.”
With his autographed Charlotte Flair doll boxes in hand, Aaron, Mom and Grandma made their way out of the Taylorsville Cricket Wireless store about a half hour after their wrestling hero’s tour stop began. But as they waded back through the snow to their rental car, the line outside in the cold had grown even more.