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Top Guy Weekend heads to the Rocket City

Top Guy Weekend is coming to the Rocket City this summer. The event by AdFreeShows.com brings hundreds of professional wrestling fans together for one epic weekend.

“It’s a gathering of our most ardent listeners to our podcasts,” said founder Conrad Thompson.

Thompson, frequently referred to as “The Podfather” online, began podcasting in 2015 about “old-school, nostalgia pro wrestling” first with legendary cohost Rick Flair and later with Bruce Prichard.

“It really took off with Bruce Prichard, who used to be Vince McMahon’s right-hand man back when that was the thing,” said Thompson.

It was after an ad campaign Thompson and Prichard started talking about a wrestling match from the year 2000.

“We had a back and forth for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. I said ‘That’s a podcast’,” he said.

Thompson said Prichard didn’t think there would be any interest.

“But I convinced him, let’s just try it,” Thompson said. “And that was in 2016. We dropped our first show at the very beginning of 2016, and man, by January we were doing like 2 million impressions a month.

“And I knew that we had something. It was just up to us to figure out how to capture that lightning in a bottle.”

Thompson’s podcast network pulls in 1 million listeners a week.  Is he surprised by his podcasting success?

“Yes and no. I knew that the content or my idea would work,” he said. “But wind up getting paid to go to Australia and England and Ireland? No, I would have never imagined that we would do international podcasts or have a TV show or all of the silliness that’s happened as a result. This is all just a happy accident.

“I thought people will listen. Maybe we’ll sell T-shirts, maybe I’ll sell some mortgages outside of my state, but that’s as far as I got.”

Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson, 2015 (Conrad Thompson/Facebook)

Thompson and his team offer Patreon levels of support to their fans on AdFreeShows.com, the highest level offered being “Top Guy”.

“We use sort of wrestling terminology for those different tiers,” he said. “And top guy is our highest and most exclusive level. Of course, we call it top guy because in the world of wrestling, top guy means you’re the guy who goes on last year the main event you’re vying for the championship, you’re the guy who saw the most tickets and generating most television ratings.

“So you are, you know, the special attraction of the group.”

It’s these fans, these Top Guy fans, from around the world who will travel to the Rocket City June 23-25.

“I expect about 250 top guys and gals to come from all over the world,” Thompson said. “There are a lot of people coming from Australia and people coming from New York and California, I mean, literally all over the world.

“And they come together over this one thing they all have in common – their love of old school professional wrestling.”

Thompson said previous Top Guy Weekends were featured around wrestling events but this one will be a little different.

“We did a poll and asked folks what they liked to see in Nashville, in Chicago, or in Huntsville,” he said. “And to my surprise, Huntsville won overwhelmingly. So normally we take you back to a major wrestling event, and we’re not doing that here, it’s a standalone event in June.

“And people from all over the world will be coming to visiting Huntsville to talk about old school nostalgia wrestling.”

And, Thompson said, the fans will get some wrestling atmosphere and more.

“We rent out a hotel and we just use a local vendor and set up stages and lighting and all that,” he said. “And so we have one big room where we will do lots of Q&A and make great photo ops and interactive games and things like that. This year we’re going to do it a little different.

“We’re going to do a lot of stuff. We are going to give people a chance to see the Space and Rocket Center. We are fortunate enough to be able to rent out a couple of local restaurants for the day. We’re going to show them a little bit of Huntsville and at the same time, let them get what they came for, which is to rub elbows with some of their childhood heroes.

A Guntersville native and Huntsville resident, Thompson wants to show off his hometown in the best possible light.

“But I just I never imagined that, you know, folks from Australia would say, yeah, I’m looking for Huntsville, but they did. So now I feel the pressure to sort of show them a good time. I’ve got a lot of pressure on me to not let Huntsville down and represent us well here.”

(Conrad Thompson/Facebook)

In between being “The Podfather” and running a podcast network, Thompson also runs a mortgage company, 1st Family Mortgage, in Huntsville.

“I’ve been really fortunate and really blessed to surround myself with really smart, smarter than me, hardworking people, both on the mortgage side and on the podcast side,” he said. “And everybody’s sort of equally yoked and when everybody’s pulling in the same direction, things just fall into place.”

Top Guy Weekend is one of those things.

“We actually started in the very beginning of March 2020, right before the pandemic became a thing,” Thompson. “We had no idea what we were going to wind up doing is creating almost like a support system.

‘We created almost like a little network of friends. And so that’s what’s been the most rewarding part is our timing by accident wound up being phenomenal.”


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