Book DetailsAuthor: Gary P. West
Forewords by Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart
Hardcover: 224 pages
Product Dimensions: 6" x 9"
Retail Price: 24.95
Book DescriptionIn the 1980s, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) was at its peak as a driving force in the multimillion dollar sports entertainment business. Stars of the WWF became household names, even with folks who didn’t follow wrestling…names like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Randy “The Macho Man” Savage were as well-known as anyone from Hollywood.
One of those stars was Jim Morris, aka Hillbilly Jim, from Bowling Green, Kentucky. Billed as a country mountain hick from Mudlick, Hillbilly Jim burst upon the WWF scene in 1984. With a toothy smile, baby face and big blue eyes sitting on top of his 6-foot-7-inch 300 lb. frame, complete with a scraggly beard, bib overalls and slouch hat to match, Jim’s outgoing personality and natural showmanship were a big hit with the fans.
Growing up poor in central Kentucky, Jim had more in common with Motown than mountain men, but his street-wise savvy and an intense work ethic kept him out of trouble in his youth, and later helped him succeed as a star high school basketball player and, following high school, a champion weightlifter.Hillbilly Jim – The Incredible Story of a Wrestling Superstar
is the true story of Hillbilly Jim Morris, from his humble beginnings in Bowling Green, KY to his glory days as one of the most loveable characters in the WWF, and on to his current gig as the host of Hillbilly Jim’s Moonshine Matinee on Sirius Satellite Radio.
GARY P. WEST
has simple criteria when it comes to writing books. “I only take on a project that I will enjoy writing about and I only write about something I think people will enjoy reading,” he says.
West grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and attended Western Kentucky University before graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1967 with a journalism degree. At U.K. he was a daily sports editor for the Kentucky Kernel
Later he served as editor for the nation’s largest civilian enterprise military newspaper at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. From there he was employed in the corporate advertising office of one of the country’s largest insurance companies, State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Illinois, where he was a copywriter.
He returned to Kentucky in 1972 where he began an advertising and publishing business.
Along the way, for twelve years, he was the executive director of the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation at Western Kentucky University, and provided color commentary for Wes Strader on the Hilltopper Basketball Network.
In 1993, he became the executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He retired from there in 2006 to devote more time to his writing.
He is a freelance writer for several magazines in addition to writing a syndicated newspaper travel column, Out & About...Kentucky Style
, for several papers across the state. Gary is in demand as a speaker and for book signings throughout Kentucky. This is his tenth book.
Gary and his wife, Deborah, live in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Hillbilly Jim and his biographer Gary P. West were featured guests at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort recently.
The Acclaim Press sports stars, authors and entourage holding court at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort recently. L–R: St. Louis Cardinal veteran Corky Withrow, Ky Basketball legends Jerry Fultz and J.R. VanHoos, author Charlie Thurman, WWF star Hillbilly Jim Morris, and authors Sherrill Williams and Gary P. West.
“Jim arrived at a good time for me. He was instrumental in driving the entertainment side of the WWF and played a major part of the Hulkamania thing. I was at a point that I really needed to pull the switch on entertainment. I was just starting to figure it out and was now not afraid to make a fool of myself.”
—Hulk Hogan, wrestling superstar
“I was in Memphis. This guy (Jim Morris) walks in the room and I had to look twice, no, maybe three times. I couldn’t believe it. It was a rubberneck moment. Oh sure, I’d seen guys as big or bigger, but none with the personality, charisma and showmanship to go along with his size.”
—Jimmy Hart (Mouth of the South)
“MTV’s highest rated videos were those that involved the WWF characters. The “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video was recognized by VH1, Rolling Stone and MTV as the greatest music video of all-time.”
—David Wolff, manager and producer for Cyndi Lauper
“He was working as a bouncer at one of the places in Bowling Green. And then when I saw him working out at the gym, I didn’t know what kind of business he was doing, but I knew it was the wrong one.”
—“Beautiful Bruce” Swayze, former wrestling star
“Courtesy is as much a virtue in the mountains as bravery … Jim maintains his dignity, and manners, treating his tormentors with a politeness they do not deserve. Although their life (mountain men) can be cruel, they have an innate sense of fair play.”
in promoting the Hillbilly Jim character
Proceeds from the sale of this book will also help other communities and organizations preserve their history through Our American Heritage Project, a non-profit organization.