Spanning generations

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March 06, 2007

On April 1, WrestleMania returns to Detroit with the tagline "All Grown Up", an homage to the maturity of sports-entertainment's greatest event. Among those who will be there to personally commemorate the occasion is 74-year-old Ruth Legault, a lifelong WWE fan who has aged as gracefully as the "Granddaddy of Them All."

Twenty years ago at WrestleMania III, many unforgettable moments took place in the Motor City, one of them being the record-setting attendance in the Pontiac Silverdome -- 93,173.

Ruth is proud to have been counted among that staggering number of WWE fans. A Detroit Lions season ticket holder since 1975, she attended WrestleMania III in 1987 with her late husband René, daughter Linda, and grandson Jason. She also worked in the Silverdome for some of WrestleMania III.

Having three generations of family represented at WrestleMania is quite a feat for anyone, but Ruth is going above that for WrestleMania 23. In addition to returning with Linda and Jason this year, she's bringing along Jason's sons -- her great-grandsons Colin and Matthew -- bringing the total up to an amazing four generations.

"There will be ten of us total going this year," she said. "We are hoping to surprise the kids and get a limo. I am glad I can still hang in there and go with them kids," she jokingly added.

The septuagenarian's love for sports-entertainment goes all the way back to 1949. "When I was dating René, we would go to the Shubert-Lafayette Theater in Detroit," she said. "The wrestling then was done up on a stage." As for who was on those wrestling cards, she saw some of the biggest names in wrestling history. "I remember seeing The Sheik, Dick the Bruiser, and Leapin' Larry Shane, to name just a few."

Returning to her equally-fond memories of WrestleMania III, Ruth recalled how her husband "really loved the midgets. He liked the little guys. He enjoyed Hillbilly Jim against King Kong Bundy. I can remember him saying, ‘Oh, watch out, those little guys are gonna get killed.'"

As for Ruth, like many other WWE fans, one particular WrestleMania III match stands out the most. "Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant was my favorite match," she said. "I've seen Lions and Detroit Tigers games, but to be a part of Hulk versus Andre…well, that was the best."

Sadly, the one thing that will be different this year is that René will not be with Ruth and the family. "He would be going with us again this year," she explained "he passed away. Still, I am sure he will be there with us in some way."

Despite having seen countless Superstars in her time, Ruth points to a select few among her favorites. "You have to say Hulk Hogan, if you saw wrestling in the '80s," she said. "I also liked ‘Macho Man' Randy Savage back then. As for today's WWE Superstars, I would have to say that Triple H is my favorite."

The injured Game won't be competing when WrestleMania 23 takes place in Detroit April 1, but that's okay with Ruth Legault. As the matriarch of her family, what matters most is that her daughter, grandson and great-grandchildren will be watching the sports-entertainment spectacle with her in Ford Field -- All Grown Up.

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