Professional wrestling fans in Wyoming are probably familiar with Cody native Eric Bischoff, the former President of WCW Nitro and General Manager of WWE Raw. Some fans may even remember former AWA great Greg Gagne, who once played quarterback for the University of Wyoming football team.

But there's only one man who can lay claim to the title of Wyoming's professional wrestling champion.

Friday night at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds in Lusk, Wyoming, Ronin "The Rock N' Roll Vampire" will defend his Big Sky Wrestling title at the Tournament of Champions.

Ronin is one of many wrestlers on the independent circuit who are part of the Wyoming-based Big Sky Wrestling organization. Now living just outside of Denver, Ronin, whose real name is Raziel Talos, travels across the region competing for several upstart promotions.

The self-proclaimed descendant of the Clan Sabretooth has been wrestling since 2004 and claims to be the "only true vampire" in the Rocky Mountain region.

Along with winning the Big Sky Championship last summer, his most memorable night was a coffin match in 2014. According to Ronin, he personally built the coffin for the match and still proudly displays it at his home.

While some wrestlers on the indy circuit aspire to become WWE superstars one day, Ronin is content with his career.

"At this point, I'll be happy to get out in one piece. I've contemplated retirement a few times. My priorities in life are shifting, but I can still put on good matches," Ronin said.

He'll be barely make enough money this weekend to buy gas for the eight-hour round trip from Denver to eastern Wyoming, but the sacrifice is still worth it for the Big Sky Champion.

"When i feel my performance isn't what it used to be, I'll know it's time to leave. But not just yet."


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