Gimme Some Sugar
Citizens in the Sunshine State were concerned because the price of gasoline had soared to the
alarming rate of over a dollar a gallon in the summer of 1979. That didn’t deter the Suncoast
wrestling fans, however, from attending the weekly wrestling matches in Tampa’s Fort Home
Hesterly Armory. Every Tuesday night, over five-thousand die-hards paid admission to the
Armory to see their favorite grapplers in action.
It was a time when the evil manager, Sonny King, terrorized all the good guys like Jack Brisco,
Steve Keirn, Jimmy Garvin and the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. The good guys received
some help at the time from a rising tag-team performer; he began as wrestler Skip Young before
donning a mask and emerging as “Sweet Brown Sugar” and immediately battled members of
King’s stable such as Joe Le Duc, King Curtis, Killer Kahn and Bugsy McGraw.
Fans were delighted as they watched Sweet Brown Sugar rise high above the canvass and
demolish “heel” opponents with his phenomenal drop kick. As his popularity soared, Sweet
Brown Sugar made appearances in Tampa, Key West and Orlando on the same cards featuring
the NWA world title matches between Harley Race and Dusty Rhodes.
By the summer of 1982, all the wrestling fans in Florida knew about Sweet Brown Sugar and the
many title belts that he had won. Tony Fabrizio described Sweet Brown Sugar (Skip Young) in a
column for the Clearwater Sun:
“Young isn’t what many would expect a pro rassler to be. He doesn’t spend most of his free
time in biker bars or cruising the beaches. He’s different not so much because he is a former
high school all-state football, track and baseball player, but because he appears intelligent even
articulate. He has a double- major college degree in business and physical education from West
Texas State University and has solid plans for the future for him and his family.”
Skip Young left the Florida territory the following year to wrestle in Japan and later for the Von
Erichs in Texas. Last December, professional wrestling lost one of its former exciting performers
when Skip Young passed away.
More information about the Golden Years of wrestling can be found in “The Solie Chronicles;
The Life and Times of Gordon Solie.”