More than a few involve Bill Kelly and his pseudo personality, Norton J. Crippletree Jr. the Fifth, better known as “Snortin’ Norton.” Bill was an announcer at WCHK for years. He had a fun-loving personality that served him well in his profession. For that matter, it still does.
WCHK listener and Canton resident Andrew Brown called WCHK every day to talk with Snortin’ Norton a.k.a. Kelly on the air. Each day listeners would hear them fussing and insulting one another. Snortin’ Norton would call Andrew Brown “the ugliest man in Canton.”
Tim Cavender, a WCHK announcer at the time, described Andrew Brown as country as cornbread. He always wore overalls and a little straw hat. Snortin’ Norton made Brown somewhat a part of his show. Off the air they became good friends.
Recently, I talked with Bill Kelly and asked him about the boxing match I had heard about between Snortin’ Norton and Andrew.
Brown supposedly got mad at him. After that, when Andrew called the station they talked about fighting it out. They decided to have a boxing match.
It was a good publicity gimmick for Kelly and WCHK. Most of Bill’s listeners had never seen him in person. They had just heard him on the radio.
So when the date was set and the day finally arrived for the event, a huge crowd was there. Referring to it as “the big fight,” Bill said it was on a Saturday morning.
Bill estimates there were 200 people while Harold Westbrook remembers that the parking lot and the adjacent hillside at his store, Stacy’s, was filled with spectators.
Bob Blalock at Cherokee Furniture just down the road from WCHK remembers that cars were lined up and down the highway for the fight.
Harold said since they always had fun stuff going on at Stacy’s, building a boxing ring of rope, tin cans and posts in the store’s parking lot was another fun thing to do.
To get a clear picture of what was taking place, you need to know that Snortin’ Norton weighed about 300 pounds while Andrew probably did not weigh 100 pounds dripping wet.
Divisions in boxing are determined by weight. Andrew and Norton were definitely not in the same division. Brown weighed in as a pinweight while Snortin’ Norton was a heavyweight. The odds were definitely in Norton’s favor.
There are certain things boxers cannot do to their opponent. Hitting below the belt, holding, tripping, kicking, head butting, wrestling, spitting on, pushing or biting your opponent are not allowed.
Other than a pinweight fighting a heavyweight, the bout between Snortin’ Norton and the alleged ugliest man in Canton was a fair fight. There were no shenanigans like illegal rabbit punches or kidney punches.
However, it should be noted that Norton was not wearing a regulation boxing glove. His was a big, inflatable one.
Cavender said when the match started, Snortin’ Norton and Andrew Brown danced around the ring and sort of jabbed at one another. When Andrew thought he was about to be hit he would draw up his body and squint his eyes in anticipation of the blow.
I do not know what plans Andrew Brown had made or how he trained in preparation for Norton vs. Brown. Whatever it was, it worked.
I am told there was only one real punch thrown. Tiny Andrew Brown, dressed in a “Killer’s” shirt, totally flattened humongous Norton J. Crippletree, Jr. the Fifth.
According to Boxrec Boxing Encyclopaedia, when a boxer is knocked down, he or she has 10 seconds to get up before losing the bout by a knockout. For Snortin’ Norton, it took longer than that.
While there was not an official referee, Harold Westbrook and others standing around the ring rightfully declared Brown the winner.
The fight did not change anything. On the following Monday Snortin’ Norton and victorious Andrew Brown were back on the air insulting one another.
That was not the only time Snortin’ Norton was involved in a sporting event. He mud wrestled in Canton, too. But that is another story for another day.
Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.