Pro wrestler Ric Flair stops at Crystal Lake dispensary to meet fans, promote marijuana product line

About 100 people made their way out to Ivy Hall on Saturday to meet the wrestling icon

Jarrett Lopez, left, takes a photo with wrestling icon Ric Flair, right, on Saturday, April 15, 2023, at Ivy Hall Dispenary in Crystal Lake. Flair was in attendance to both meet fans and promote a new line of marijuana products, "Ric Flair Drip."

Wearing a Ric Flair T-shirt and standing in line on Saturday at Ivy Hall Dispensary in Crystal Lake, Wonder Lake resident Mike Rossi said he was nervous to meet who he considers the greatest wrestler of all time.

Rossi said he first saw Flair wrestle in-person when he was still a child. In the years since, Rossi has developed into a super fan. He’s read Flair’s autobiography and knows all the key moments from the former wrestler’s career.

“I felt like a kid going to Disney World yesterday,” Rossi said. “I don’t know what I should say.”

Rossi was one of about 100 people who lined up on Saturday to meet Flair, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time after a 50-year career.

Flair made a stop in Crystal Lake on Saturday to promote a new line of marijuana products that bear his name and in the process, meet a number of fans for photo opportunities.

Debuting in 1972, Flair, also known as “The Nature Boy,” is a World Wrestling Entertainment 16-time champion and has many other accolades to go along with it, including being named to a few different wrestling-centered hall of fames, and being the first wrestler to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice, according to his WWE profile.

I felt like a kid going to Disney World yesterday.

—  Wonder Lake resident Mike Rossi ahead of meeting wrestler Ric Flair

In the lead-up to Flair’s appearance on Saturday morning, a line with dozens of people formed, with some having been there since 6 a.m. to get one of the first spots.

Fans throughout the morning chatted and shared wrestling stories with one another, and threw out an occasional “Woo!” – a catchphrase Flair is well-known for – to those passing by.

People stand in line on Saturday, April 15, 2023 outside of Ivy Hall Dispensary in Crystal Lake to meet wrestling icon Ric Flair. Flair was in attendance to both meet fans and promote a new line of marijuana products, "Ric Flair Drip."

While some older fans remembered Flair in his prime fondly, having even attended some of his events, others said they either caught the tail-end of his career or have seen the highlights.

McHenry resident Jeffrey Beggs said he’s been a fan of wrestling all his life, but being 24, he only saw Flair toward the end of his career. Despite this, he thinks of Flair as a “legend.”

Woodstock resident Carlos Pedroza said he has been watching wrestling since the 1970s – the decade Flair made his debut. He said he couldn’t believe Flair was coming to Crystal Lake. His favorite memories of Flair include some of his most famous moments, such as his rivalry with wrestler Dusty Rhodes.

“When you think of wrestling, you think of Ric Flair,” Pedroza said. “He’s on Mount Rushmore for me.”

Schaumburg resident Paula Roney, 50, and Barrington resident Jennifer DeLeon, 45, were attending the event together. They said they’ve been watching wrestling – and more specifically, Flair – since the 1980s. Roney said there are “so many memories” she has of Flair.

“To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man,” Roney said, quoting one of Flair’s most famous catchphrases. “He’s the man. He’s the best of the best.”

To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.

—  Schaumburg resident Paula Roney quoting wrestler Ric Flair

Inside the dispensary, guests had the chance to get their photo taken with Flair before perusing the store.

For Flair, he said he never tires of meeting fans, who he said never cease to throw a “Wooo!” his way.

“The love and respect is unbelievable,” Flair said.

Ivy Hall opened in February as Crystal Lake’s first dispensary in town, and the second to open in McHenry County. It brands itself as a “sensory dispensary,” with staff in the past having compared it to a “speakeasy” from the early 20th century, or a “ski lodge.”

Ivy Hall’s marketing manager Jonny Boucher said part of the motivation for bringing Flair to Crystal Lake was in an effort “to do things differently.”

“We’re trying to give people a different experience when it comes to [marijuana],” Boucher said. “Everybody’s having a great time. There’s smiles. It’s awesome.”

CORRECTION: This story originally misstated Ric Flair wrestled in a WrestleMania that he did not compete in.

Ric Flair looks at products on Saturday, April 15, 2023, at Ivy Hall Dispensary in Crystal Lake. Flair was in attendance to both meet fans and promote a new line of marijuana products, "Ric Flair Drip."
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