Tri-State Wrestling 1966 - Trying to Pinpoint the Missing Towns

Last week, I looked through the data we had for 1966 and surmised that there were definitely "missing" cards, and in all likelihood some of them were from weekly towns. This week, I'm going to see if I can do anything to narrow down the possibilities of what towns they might be.

McGuirk's territory in 1966 encompassed parts of 5 different states: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana and Texas. For this post, I'm going to focus solely on Arkansas and walk through the process of trying to identify missing weekly towns.

The first step was to find the most populated cities & towns in the state. I used census data from 1960 and 1970 and put together a list of the towns with the highest average population. The second step was to look and see if the newspapers for these towns are available on the three online newspaper archive sites (newspapers.com, newspaperarchive.com and genealogybank.com) and if we can find any ads or articles about wrestling shows in the town. The third step was to look at sites like wrestlingdata.com, cagematch.net, kayfabememories.com and any other historical wrestling sites to see if we know anything about these towns being run at any point in time.

The two largest cities, Little Rock and Fort Smith, are known weekly towns. We have the Little Rock newspaper on one of the online archive sites, so the ads/articles are available. Fort Smith is not available online, but I've got 1965-1969 from a trip I took earlier this year to Tulsa and Fort Smith.

The next largest is North Little Rock, which obviously is right next to Little Rock (to the north!). It's basically a suburb, so it's unrealistic for them to run two weekly towns so close to one another. In addition, when the promotion DID run North Little Rock instead of Little Rock (due to venue issues), these were advertised in the Little Rock paper. The absence of any other ads in the Little Rock paper for North Little Rock shows should rule it out as a weekly town.

The two next largest are Pine Bluff and Hot Springs:
In 1972 and 1977, Pine Bluff was run occasionally instead of the weekly Little Rock cards, again presumably due to venue issues in Little Rock. In these cases, the Pine Bluff cards were advertised in the Little Rock paper. However, in 1974 it appears that Pine Bluff was run weekly for at least a six month period as its' own town, and these shows are not advertised in the Little Rock paper. The Pine Bluff newspaper is not available online. It is entirely possible that at some other point in time Pine Bluff was run weekly, but it's a total crapshoot.
The Hot Springs newspaper is on one of the online newspaper archive sites, but only between 1962 and 1964. For that time period, Hot Springs was run weekly, on Tuesdays in 1962 and 1963, and on Thursdays in 1964. I'd be willing to wager that Hot Springs continued to run on Thursdays in 1965 and 1966, at the very least through August (at which point New Orleans was run on a couple of Thursdays and Longview opened up in November on Thursdays) and possibly longer.

Taking a look at the rest of the towns:
Jonesboro and Blytheville were Gulas towns. If West Memphis was run, it would have been a Gulas town as well.
Fayetteville, El Dorado, Benton and Camden have newspapers on one of the online archive sites, and were either run infrequently as spot towns or not at all (there were attempts to run Fayetteville regularly but it never lasted).
Texarkana and Springdale don't have papers on the archive sites, but appear to have been run very infrequently as spot towns.
I have no information on possible shows in Jacksonville and Conway. Jacksonville is a suburb of Little Rock so that probably rules it out. And Conway was probably too small to be run regularly; it was the second smallest of the towns we're discussing here.

So putting all that together, here's what we have:

1) Hot Springs is almost a certainty for a year and a half period in 1965 and 1966, and possibly longer, plus it was probably weekly prior to 1962.
2) Pine Bluff has six months of shows in 1974 that we can get ads/articles for, and it might be worth it to spot-check the paper for other times in the '60s, 70s and early 80s.
3) Fort Smith is definitely weekly, so there are shows after 1969 and before 1966 that we can get ads/articles for.

This week, I will be traveling to Little Rock to spend a few days at the State Archives. The Archives has a collection of local newspapers on microfilm. They have the papers for all three of the above towns (though for Fort Smith they may not have anything between 1970 and 1982). So hopefully I will be able to get as much as possible from those three cities while I'm there, and be able to answer the questions of how long Hot Springs was run weekly and if Pine Bluff was run weekly at any time other than 1974.

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