WWE belt making class returns to Heights library

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Photo by Bob Oliver
Caroline Kennedy Library security guard Frank Neumann shows off a replicas of the WWE championship belts that he made. Neumann, a former amateur wrestler, taught a second class on how to build your own belt to a room full of young wrestling fans in the library on July 11. The attendance at the two classes combined was over 100 children.

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – There were so many kids trying to attend the first WWE Belt Making class that Caroline Kennedy Library organizers had to schedule a second one. The second was packed too, but the jury is out whether or not a third will be planned.

About 40 children crowded into the library’s Youth Program room for the second class on July 11. Ranging in ages from 5 years old to teenagers they filled every table and had library security guard and class organizer Frank Neumann working to bring in more seating and copies of the various belt designs so everyone could make one.

The large crowd of children wishing to participate wasn’t totally unexpected though, since the library had similar results at the first class June 27, which drew almost 100 participants.

“We were extremely surprised by the turnout at the first event,” Neumann said. “We were expecting maybe 40 kids, so we were excited by the turnout, but we had to hurry and make adjustments to accommodate as many kids as we could.”

There were so many people trying to attend the first class that almost 40 had to be turned away.

Gina Sherrill was one of the parents who attempted to attend the first class but did not make it in due to the large turnout. She went to the second class with two girls and two boys to let them build their own belts.

“It’s a lot of fun for them to make these belts,” Sherrill said. “They were very excited to attend.”

She added that though the boys may have been a little more excited for the opportunity to create the belts, the girls liked wrestling with the boys, so they were all having a good time.

Neumann used to be a local amateur wrestler and has stayed involved with the sport though he doesn’t wrestle anymore. He said he already was making replica belts and some of the children visiting the library asked him how to make them, so he pitched the idea for the class and it was accepted.

Neumann also said that several other wrestling-themed events have been planned for the library, including a viewing party of this year’s Wrestlemania on Oct. 3 and possibly two wrestlers visiting the library two weeks later on Oct. 17.

“We’re having local wrestlers Eddie Venom, who visited the library last year, and hopefully N8 Mattson, depending on his schedule, visit the library, which will be a thrill for the kids because they can meet them and ask questions about the sport,” Neumann said.

“We have a really exciting event on October 24, which will be the ‘King of the Ring’ tournament,” Neumann said. “That will be an elimination tournament using the video game ‘WWE 13’ and the winners will walk away with one of seven championship belts that I made. But the prerequisite to participating is that the player has to sign a pledge to read five books between October and April.”

Neumann said the program will also be step one for children trying to enroll for the Wrestlemania Reading Challenge. That challenge is a program that the American Library Association runs with the WWE to give 18 children nationwide a chance to win a trip to Wrestlemania. The contest is for students from fifth to 12th grade.

Considering the popularity of the new class, Neumann said he definitely would consider having more of them if the interest continues. He added that he especially liked to see the library full and busy.

“My main thing with these types of programs is to bring the library into the forefront,” Neumann said. “I want to help the library thrive and prosper because it’s a big part of the community.”

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)