GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WKRG) – Every few months, wrestlers from across the region converge at the George County Fairgrounds to put on a show.
Fans gather to cheer on their favorite performers. One of the audience favorites is a hometown man: Wildcat.
“Just knowing that you have a big performance coming up, the adrenaline goes to pumping, the creativity comes out and then hopefully you can produce a great show,” said Kevin McLeod, Wildcat’s alter ego.
Wildcat is still fresh to the pro wrestling scene. He wrestled his first match at 45-years-old in September 2021 after five months of training. In the last year and a half, he’s lost nearly 40 pounds. At 47-years-old now, he’s billed at 180 pounds and feels like he’s in the best shape of his life, never backing down from a challenge.
“Most 90% of my matches this past year was with guys twice my size and it took all they could to get the Wildcat pinned. And some of them that beat me know I’m targeting them and I’m coming back to get that next round and to prove myself to everybody. They can’t just beat the Wildcat and get away with it,” McLeod said.
Performing comes with risks. McLeod’s worked through a broken collarbone, foot, toe and bruises all over his body. He plans to stay involved with the sport as long as he can hold his own.
He competed in 23 matches in 2022, wrestling for six different promoters throughout Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. He hopes to keep the same workload and compete in Tennessee later this year.
“It’s a work of art,” McLeod said, “It ain’t easy. But if this is a dream you have, pursue it. I don’t care what it is really, if it’s a dream, pursue it. I feel like everybody that wants to work in this business has a spot to get in, fit in. If I can do it, anybody can probably do it if you got to drive. You’ve gotta really have the drive.”
After shows, his favorite part is greeting fans of all ages and signing anything they bring to him: pictures, casts, shoes, shirts or foreheads. He’s also been featured in a video game and podcast and has gotten to wrestle in events broadcast live on television.
The Wildcat ring name came from his roots in Greene County and always being active and an outdoorsman.
McLeod will also be featured in an independent movie (not about wrestling) released this year. He originally signed on to do stunt work and fight scenes but the producers kept him to do additional acting work.
When he’s not on the road with his wife Sandy, he’s at home with family and continues to work as a master home builder and mechanic.
“Most of my life, in one way or another, I have built everybody else’s dreams. Whether it was a home or building an engine for their vehicle. And now I feel like I’m building my own dream so I can actually live it, and it feels good,” he said.
Fans can stay up to date with Wildcat’s appearances on his Facebook page.