Smackdown in Chippewa: Former pro-wrestler named jail captain

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There will soon be a new jail boss in town and he comes with a couple championship belts.

Art Crews is the soon to be jail captain in Chippewa County, formally known as the Blonde Bomber.

As the Blonde Bomber, he took on the likes of Ric Flair, Jesse “the Body” Ventura, Andre the Giant and, yes, even Hulk Hogan back in the 1980's. Now, his biggest fear is Wisconsin’s cold weather.

"You're to be up here on Saturday?" Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk asks his new jail captain on the phone.

Kowalczyk is looking forward to welcoming Crews up from Texas; he’s a man who comes with a couple championship belts.

"When I was in wrestling, I was in corrections and I didn't know it,” Crews tells us with a laugh over the phone. “In other words, you're dealing with people every single day and wrestling has a lot of crowd psychology."

Crews was in wrestling for a decade all through the 80’s. He's been working at jails and prisons ever since. Most recently as warden at Coastal Bend Detention Center, a private prison in Texas.

Crews said he resigned in August. Two weeks later local newspaper reports show the prison failed an inspection. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards told the Corpus Christi Caller Times it "borders really close to complete incompetence."

Crews said he knew it was bad when he left. He says that's why he left.

"I voiced my concerns to the company that there were going to be issues not meeting standards and compliances. They did not comply and I had no choice but to resign."

"He indicated they were undermanned, understaffed; he didn't have the budget he needed that he thought he could run the facility to the best of his ability."

Sheriff Kowalczyk says he doesn't know much of Crews' scorecard in the squared circle, but the sheriff says he has no doubt the man known for his reverse neck breaker will keep his jail in order.

"What I learned from wrestling is leadership, the ability to talk to people and communicate the truth,” Crews says. “I'm not used to the cold weather, but I look forward to (coming to Chippewa) a lot."

Crews is set to start his new role in Chippewa County on Monday, January 4. The sheriff says as jail captain, Crews will make $65,000 a year.

He also has a book in the works.

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