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Catching up with Ken Patera: Part 2
In April of 1984, Ken Patera and fellow competitor Masa Saito were arrested in Waukesha, Wis. following a violent confrontation with police officers in a motel. According to Patera, the incident occurred after he was falsely accused of tossing a boulder through the window of a local McDonald's.
"The whole thing was bogus," Patera said. "It was unnecessary."
Following a trial that Patera believed was mishandled by an incompetent defense attorney, the competitor was sentenced to two years in prison.
"I hired another law firm for an appeal," Patera told WWE.com. "Do you know what they said? It was a travesty of justice. There was no need for me to go to prison for this. I should have gotten a $350 fine."
In the end, the former Olympian served a year and half before being released for good behavior. In 1987, he returned to WWE. (PHOTOS)
Now sporting his natural brown hair and a more positive attitude, Patera became a favorite of the fans thanks to his rivalry with former manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. But the powerful Superstar's final stint in WWE didn't last long. Now in his 40s, Patera was noticeably slower in the ring and experienced far less success than he had earlier in his career. In November of 1988, the big man competed in his final match for WWE at Survivor Series.
"After that, I really never looked back," the former Intercontinental Champion said. "It was time to move on."
Although he continued to compete in smaller promotions across the world for a short time, Patera focused the majority of his attention on a wide variety of business ventures.
"I opened up a health club in St. Paul, started a limousine service, started a tanning salon, opened up a sports nutrition company," Patera said. "I made buckets of money."
By early 2000, the 67-year-old had sold or closed all of these companies and began a new career as a salesman for one of the leading industrial suppliers in the Midwest.
"I have a customer base of almost 600 clients, so I drive 1500 miles a week," Patera revealed. "But I love being out on the road."
Divorced three times, the former Superstar is currently single, but he spends much of his time with his two daughters.
"People say, 'Why are you still working?' The answer is my kids," Patera cracked. "My oldest daughter, I bought her a house last June and I bought my youngest daughter a car this time last year for her birthday. It's never-ending!"
Since much of his day is spent on the job or with his children, the strongman doesn't pursue many hobbies, although he is an occasional golfer. Patera is also an animal lover with a young golden retriever.
"That little dog I have, she's sad when I leave and when I come back she's the happiest puppy in the world," he said with a smile.
Now enjoying a quiet life in The Twin Cities area, Patera enjoys reflecting on the sports-entertainment career he left behind over two decades ago.
"You know what I miss most is the people, a lot of friends," he said. "If you're with a bunch of people you love, you can have a hell of a party."
And although he can be self-deprecating, the man who once competed at the top level in both weightlifting and professional wrestling is able to admit that he's had an amazing ride.
"What I did in my lifetime, people would die for," he said. "I have nothing to regret and nothing to be upset about. I'm happy and I'm content. "
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