In our 21stcentury world, the line between sport and entertainment continues to blur with each passing year. Many pick the birth of ESPN in 1979 as the beginning of this era of change; and, many more would say that it is not a coincidence that, in the formal name, Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, the word “entertainment” precedes the word “sports.” For some years now, the Festival has been approached about bringing in more representatives from the sports entertainment world; and, in the mind of Festival Organizers, there can be no area of sports entertainment that has been more consistently successful in the past 40 years than professional wrestling. It is, therefore, with great interest and enthusiasm that Festival President, Mike Stanfield, announces that “The Million Dollar Man,” Ted DiBiase, will visit the 2018 “Welcome Home” Festival.
Theodore Marvin DiBiase, Sr., (born January 18, 1954) is a retired American professional wrestler. He has always had a broad involvement with the professional wrestling industry, also working as a manager, a promoter, and a color commentator. He is currently signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) working in their Legends program. DiBiase achieved championship success in a number of wrestling promotions, holding thirty titles during his professional wrestling career. He is best recalled by mainstream audiences for his time in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where he wrestled as “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. He is regarded by many as one of the greatest villains in pro wrestling history. Extremely athletic, IGN (Imagine Games Network) called DiBiase “one of the most gifted technical wrestlers to ever grace the squared-circle”.
Among other accolades in the WWF, DiBiase was the first North American Heavyweight Champion, a three-time Tag Team Champion, and the 1988 King of the Ring. DiBiase also created his own championship, the Million Dollar Championship. He held the WWF World Heavyweight Championship belt in 1988 after “purchasing it” from Andre the Giant; but, this period is not recognized by the WWE as “official.” Nonetheless, DiBiase frequently headlined WWF cards, including WrestleMania IV and the first ever SummerSlam in 1988. DiBiase headlined the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony, being inducted by his sons, Ted Jr. and Brett.
DiBiase was born in Miami, Florida. He is the biological son of wrestler, Helen Nevins, and Ted Wills, an entertainer and singer. He is the adopted son of wrestler “Iron” Mike DiBiase. His adoptive father died of a heart attack in the ring when DiBiase was just 15. Seven-time NWA World Champion, Harley Race, rushed to the ring and performed CPR, but was unable to save “Iron” Mike’s life. As a consequence, DiBiase’s mother suffered from depression and her life spiraled steadily downward. DiBiase was moved to Wilcox, Arizona, to live with his grandparents. He attended Creighton Preparatory high school; and, then, attended West Texas State University on a football scholarship. Due to an injury in his senior year, he left the football team; and, dropped out of college. At this life-juncture, he already knew that he wanted to follow in “Iron” Mike’s footsteps and create a career in sports entertainment through the wildly interesting world of professional wrestling.
DiBiase is now a Christian minister. In 1999, he founded Heart of David Ministry and travels the world speaking to churches, camps, and conferences, including “Promise Keepers” and “Youth of the Nation.” He is also the author of Every Man Has His Price, an autobiographical Christian testimony. Ted DiBiase will attend the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast Presented by Grange Insurance; and, ride in the Grand Feature Parade.