Back to school with Harley Race

Fall is almost here and while for some that conjures up thoughts of reading, writing and arithmetic, for others it means going to school for wrestling. WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race will hold his annual World League Wrestling tryout camp Sept 19-23 at the Eldon Community Center in Eldon, Mo. and this year looks to have the highest attendance yet.

"I think we're going to top out at 60," Race told from the WLW headquarters. "Right now I'd say we're in the high 40s in what we have for applications."

Race raised the cap to 60 people after last year's success. At the end of the camp, the Hall of Famer will choose about 12-14 to perform on Saturday night.

"The ones I select to do the event on Saturday night are the ones that I start focusing on to try to bring them in here to my school," he said.

But that's not all, talent scouts from WWE and Japan will be there to check out the students as well.

"You really get a chance to evaluate their potential," said Race. "No one can really learn everything in a week's time, but you get a good look at what their potential is."

John Laurinaitis, WWE's Vice President of Talent Relations, went to the camp last year and hired Kenny Omega who is currently training at WWE's facility at Deep South Wrestling in Atlanta, Ga. RAW Superstar Trevor Murdoch also came to WWE right out of a camp based on Race's suggestion that he would be a good fit.

"Harley has the experience and the knowledge of a veteran and also a Hall of Famer to be able to spot talent," said Laurinaitis. "Harley continually communicates with me and my office about different talents when he sees them that might be good for the WWE."

So what is a typical day of camp like?

"Each one of them starts off with about an hour's worth of cardio," explained Race. "The most important thing to me in wrestling is if you're in shape cardio-wise, the odds of either guy getting hurt in the ring are cut dramatically. That's how a lot of the kids nowadays get hurt. They've worked out just enough and they've learned just enough they think they can get in there and do about anything and when they run out of gas, that's when people get hurt. I really, really work on that hard."

After the cardio, the trainers start working on moves based on each person's level of experience, from simple basics to complex combinations.

"You just take it one step at a time, and the next thing you know you've got a wrestler," laughed Race. "I guess my favorite thing is seeing all these young guys with the heart and the drive... The opportunity is there for quite a few kids and it's just up to them and their drive and where they want to go for them to excel in it. I really enjoy running this thing every year because my heart and my being has been wrestling for almost 50 years. And to keep wrestling alive, if there isn't somebody doing this to keep the young kids interested in it, we're all going to run out of it."

For more information on the camp, click here.

Related content:
Harley Race's Hall of Fame profile

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