Amarillo Territory

by Stephen Von Slagle

by Stephen Von Slagle

Western States Sports/Southwest States Enterprises (a.k.a. “Amarillo”)

Dory Detton (1946-1955)
Doc Sarpolis (1955-1967)
Dory Funk (1955-1973)
Dory Funk, Jr. (1973-1980)
Terry Funk (1973-1980)
Bob Windham (1980-1981)
Dick Murdoch (1980-1981)

Texas (Amarillo, El Paso, Abilene, Lubbock, Odessa, San Angelo)
Colorado (Colorado Springs, Pueblo)
Oklahoma (Guymon, Boise City)
New Mexico (Albuquerque)

North American Heavyweight title (1956-1969)
Western States Heavyweight title (1969-1981)
International Heavyweight title (1960-1961, 1974-1981)
Brass Knuckles title (1962-1981)
World Tag Team title (1955-1968)
International Tag Team title (1959-1975)
North American Tag Team title (1963-1967)
Western States Tag Team title (1969-1981)
World Heavyweight title (1962-1963)



Dory Dutton -

Dory Detton

Western States Sports (and its parent company Southwest States Enterprises) was founded in 1946 by Dory Detton and based in Amarillo, TX. While it would eventually expand to include cities in Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico, Detton’s group originally promoted professional wrestling throughout the western portion of Texas. A member of the National Wrestling Alliance beginning in 1951, a retiring Detton made the decision to sell his territory to Karl Sarpolis and Dory Funk in 1955. Although it was fairly expansive in geographic terms, the west Texas promotion was not among the highest grossing territories of the era. However, Western States Sports was nevertheless a very influential promotion creatively and Sarpolis himself served as the President of the NWA in 1962.

Karl Sarpolis -

Karl “Doc” Sarpolis

It was during this time period that Sarpolis and Funk had a falling out with the NWA that resulted in Western States Sports recognizing a World Heavyweight champion not affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance. At first, Gene Kiniski held the promotion’s version of the World title before losing the championship to Dory Funk, Jr. Things were eventually smoothed over between the two sides, though, and within a year the promotion resumed recognition of the NWA World title. But, on May 28, 1967, Sarpolis passed away unexpectedly due to a heart attack suffered after he was involved in a boating accident. The Funk family then went on to purchase his shares in the promotion from Sarpolis’ widow. In addition to being the full owner of Western States Sports, Dory Funk was also the group’s biggest star and when his two talented sons, Dory, Jr. and Terry, began their careers during the mid-1960s, the Amarillo territory entered its glory days. Expanding into new markets and solidifying a working agreement with Shohei Baba’s All Japan Pro Wrestling, the Western States promotion soon became a hotbed for professional wrestling, culminating in both Dory Funk, Jr. (1969-1973) and Terry Funk (1975-1977) becoming the NWA World Heavyweight champion.

Dory Funk, Jr. -

Terry Funk, Dory Funk, Jr., & Dory Funk, Sr.

Following the death of Dory Funk, Sr. in 1973, his sons inherited full ownership of the promotion. However, juggling their individual duties as NWA champion and, later, their frequent tours of Japan and other NWA territories cut into their ability to run the Amarillo promotion full-time. While the 1970s had begun with Western States Sports doing the best business in its history, by the end of the decade the promotion was struggling. Eventually, Dory Funk and Terry Funk saw the writing on the wall and decided that it would be in the best interest of both Western States Sports and themselves to go ahead and sell the promotion to someone who would be able to devote the time and energy needed to run the territory properly. So, in 1980 the duo of Bob Windham (Blackjack Mulligan) and Dick Murdoch purchased Western States Sports from the Funk brothers. The new owners tried their best to revive the failing promotion, however, they were unable to turns things around and, after losing money month after month on te promotional endeavor, they reluctantly shut down Western States Sports in 1981.

You may also like

Leave a Comment