The Jarkaster Journey: Laboring through September

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Photo / Pro Wrestling Illustrated

With Empire State Wrestling’s “4th and Gold” now in the books, my focus turned to September. Due to outside circumstances, September was an off month from reffing for me. Friends from out of the area came in for Labor Day weekend and I also hosted my fantasy football draft (now in its 19th season) so I could not make the last Southern Tier Wrestling show in Jamestown, N.Y.  I cannot make the next Empire State Wrestling show in Salamanca, N.Y. due to my day job as I am laboring through September.

But wrestling-oriented work still kept me busy. As ESW’s publicist, I wrote up press releases for the next two shows: Friday, September 29 in Salamanca, N.Y. at the Seneca Salamanca Falling Leaves Festival and Saturday, October 6 at St. Johnsburg Fire Hall in North Tonawanda, N.Y. for “Overdrive”. These are available on Pro Wrestling Post at these links:

https://prowrestlingpost.com/empire-state-wrestling-returns-to-falling-leaves-festival/

https://prowrestlingpost.com/empire-state-wrestling-presents-overdrive/

I started crafting press releases about two years ago. Around that time, I started working regularly as a referee for ESW, and saw on one of my local TV news stations a press conference for a different newly formed promotion in Western New York for one of its shows.

Seeing that on the news made be a little tiffed. ESW originally formed in 2002 and continues to run regularly, with draws at St. Johnsburg regularly reaching capacity crowds of over 400 and even touching the 1,000 mark at bigger venues such as the Kenan Center in Lockport, N.Y.

I asked myself, “How did this promotion get on the news without doing much, when ESW’s resume is so much more extensive?”

This motivated me to start helping ESW;s public relations. I went to school for journalism, not public relations, but I dealt with PR reps and sports communications departments previously in my work, so I somewhat understood their duties.

I began writing press releases like actual news articles in PDF formats. Then I would include a picture or poster for the event in the file and get it edited by Brandon Thurston. With his longtime background in ESW and wrestling journalism experience, I trust him as a second set of eyes on my work. Now I write them in the body of the email and mention that they can request for a picture if desired. This increases the odds of the recipients of reading the release by removing the step of downloading a file and also appears less of an advertising request by not including the photo.

I then send the press release out in two blasts. I send the email to myself and blind carbon copy local news outlets such as TV stations, newspapers, radio stations and online news outlets. Then I send a second blast consisting of online wrestling news websites. Over the last two years, I also developed relationships with certain outlets and taylor my communications specifically toward with them.

I then post the press release on numerous online calendars. These consist of Craigslist, local TV stations and some online outlets.

My next step is to then find anything published from my releases and post it on social media. ESW’s most followed platform is Facebook so I normally schedule a post linking the piece on it first. I will also tag ESW on Twitter for anything I find there. I try to tag, mention and hashtag as much as possible in my social media posts. These are simple ways to increase social media exposure.

On the podcast front, I helped put together two episodes of “Inside the Empire” featuring Daniel Garcia and a separate one with Bill Collier. For Garcia’s episode,  I was not able to make it to the recording session at Grapplers Anonymous. Unfortunately, my daughter got sick that night and I needed to stay home with her (no worries, she’s ok). However, I highly recommend listening to this episode. Thurston and Chris Gullo are doing a great job hosting and engineering the podcast and I am very proud of their work and I think it shines very well in this episode.

You can listen to the episode here: https://eswwrestling.podbean.com/e/daniel-garcia/

I made my return to the podcast a few weeks later for Collier’s episode. We all met at a Tim Horton’s in North Tonawanda, well past my regular workweek bedtime. I was a little weary going into it since it was at an abnormal time for me, but it ended up being well worth it. Collier possesses a ton of wrestling psychology knowledge and the business as a whole. If you are a young wrestler looking to learn more about how to work, you should definitely listen to this episode.

You can listen to the episode here: https://eswwrestling.podbean.com/e/bill-collier/

Finally, I wanted to bring up something cool and out of the ordinary for me. Pro Wrestling Illustrated released its annual PWI 500, in which it lists their top 500 wrestlers worldwide for 2018. A plethora of Western New York wrestlers made the list, including Buffalo’s own Puf at No. 500. With earning the last spot in the listing, there was a feature photo for Puf and to my surprise, it also included me! I made it within the pages of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated!

I know making it in the magazine is completely coincidental. I give all the credit to Puf for being one of the top up-and-coming young wrestlers in the area. But it was still awesome to see me in there. Back in middle school, I talked my mom into subscribing to PWI for me. When the magazine arrived in our mailbox, I was elated, especially for the 500 (my first one was Malenko getting the top spot). So when I saw that photo with me in it, I can admit I rushed to tell a bunch of my old friends and family that I made it in!

That sums up my September for me. My only booking in October will be with ESW, so my next blog will likely be me chronically my time at “Overdrive” much like I did with “4th and Gold”. I do not have a ton of time like I used to, but I am still very open to more bookings. If you would like a solid referee on your show who may also give your it and your promotion some publicity, send me an email at davidjarka@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!