Wrestling legend Ric Flair®, who modestly bills himself as “a limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’, kiss-stealin’, wheelin’-dealin’, son-of-a-gun,” will be the official starter for the First Ever 17th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, 2017, in downtown Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
“Ric Flair’s flamboyantly outrageous personality and his reputation for having a fun-loving great time fit perfectly with our little parade’s guiding spirit,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, the city’s convention and visitors bureau. “We’ve had some colorful celebrities as participants over the years, but Ric may just be the most colorful personality to ever join us here in Hot Springs.”
Flair is recognized worldwide as a 16-time World Heavyweight Champion. Known as The Nature Boy, Flair is among the most famous and well-known wrestlers in the world, and has been one of wrestling’s biggest stars since the late 1970s, which continues today. He became popular with the crowd due to his in-ring antics, including rule-breaking (earning him the distinction of being “the dirtiest player in the game”), his cocky interview style, his strutting and his shouting of “WOOOOO!™”
The “WOOOOO!,” now a trademarked phrase, is often shouted by the crowds when they see him or when another a wrestler performs one of Flair’s signature wrestling moves.
His biography says he survived being struck by lightning twice and on October 4, 1975, he was among five passengers injured after an improperly fueled Cessna 310Q twin-engine plane suffered mechanical failure and crashed in Wilmington, N.C. Doctors told Flair, who had broken his back in three places, he would never wrestle again. He ignored the doctors and become a ring legend with a “flair” for championship gold.
“I wish I could say that the plane crash humbled me,” he says, “but I just started living the life of the ‘Nature Boy’ and didn’t look back. I took my insurance settlement and bought my first new Cadillac.”
During his four-decade career Flair wrote a best-selling autobiography, “To Be the Man,” and released multiple DVD sets chronicling his storied time in the wrestling business.
Flair is the only two-time WWE Hall of Fame inductee in history, first inducted in 2008 for his individual career and for a second time in 2012 as a member of the Four Horsemen. His robe, trunks and boots worn at Wrestlemania XXIV are permanently exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.
Currently Flair makes regular TV appearances with WWE, helps mentor his daughter (WWE Women’s Division phenom “Charlotte”), has a weekly podcast on MLW Radio called “The Ric Flair Show,” and travels the globe doing meet-and-greets with fans. Presently in production, an ESPN “30 For 30” film about Flair’s rise to greatness and ongoing legacy. The film is set for 2017 release. Flair is represented by Melinda Morris Zanoni of Legacy Talent and Entertainment (www.ricflair.com).
The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been held every year since 2003 on 98-foot Bridge Street in the heart of downtown Hot Springs. It annually features floats, zany marching units, bands, Irish wolfhounds and guest celebrities. Crowds estimated at 30,000 attend the annual festivities, which closely resemble the spirit of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebration.