It takes a lot of nerve to stand up in front of people in a skinny costume just to be slapped flat on your back, but that’s what wrestlers with CanAm Wrestling insist on giving them joy.

“It’s like family,” says Ehva Jones, who calls the name EV. “It feels great 24/7.

“It can be painful and it can be rough, but it’s definitely one of the best times I’ve ever had.”

A photo of wrestler Ehva Jones, who goes by the ring name EV

Tom Andriuk / Global News

Jones joined CanAm Wrestling in Calgary just six months ago. It gave her a safe place to do what she loves.

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“I’m a proud transgender wrestler,” Jones said. “I went through a lot of discrimination in my life and a lot of people criticized me, but people at CanAm Wrestling were absolutely open-minded. They were the best allies. “

At four-foot-eight, Bruce Rutter is a fierce competitor in the ring. The Calgary man has been wrestling for 17 years.

“I get in that ring with guys who are six feet (tall), or my height, or 300 pounds,” Rutter said. “You put your thoughts on it.

“Do not let anyone tell you you can not do it.”

Both Rutter and Jones have been targets of bullying throughout their lives and both have gained strength and confidence through wrestling.

Calgary wrestler Bruce Rutter at an event in Strathmore, Alta., On January 29, 2022.

Tom Andriuk / Global News

“The way wrestling has helped me in my life to deal with bullying and teasing is to show people that I’m small and I went for my dream – which I always wanted when I was a kid – to ‘ to be a professional wrestler, and see where I am at the moment, ”said Rutter.

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“I did not let teasing and bullying stop me from doing what I wanted to do.”

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CanAm Wrestling recently partnered with Bikers are Buddies Canada, a bullying prevention group. The groups work together to bring an anti-bullying message and program to schools and communities.

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A wrestling scholarship has been established for the Alberta Wrestling Academy named after Calgary professional wrestler Steve Gillespie, who passed away two years ago.

“He was my mentor and my coach,” said Otto Gentile, CEO of the Alberta Wrestling Academy.

“It’s important to me because I have two daughters, and I just do not like to see bullying at all,” Gentile said. “It is not necessary.

“We must build a loving community.”

On Saturday night at a wrestling event in Strathmore, Alta., A boy with a love of wrestling who experienced bullying was handed the scholarship. Gentile said it’s all about letting young people know they are not alone and that there are adults who look after them and offer them support.

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“To be transgender is to break down barriers and allow other people to see that it is more than just male and female wrestlers – there are all. There is a spectrum of us, ”Jones said.

“I try my best to be a role model for the trans community. I would like to see more people at the shows. ”

At Saturday’s event, Rutter won the Alberta Wrestling Academy / Bikers are Buddies event and will now be an ambassador for the organizations’ efforts against bullying.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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