ST. JOSEPH-- Chad Patton tries to get to every one of his son's games. It is tough because he is always traveling for business. But if you look around the Spartans' basketball court, he may have the most unique gig around.
"Even today, I still tell people about the job and usually the first reaction is 'no way, you are lying to me,'" said St. Joseph-Ogden guard Chase Patton.
When his father has to go out of town, he trades in his jeans, polos and dress shoes for jet black pants, zebra stripes and black shoes.
That is because Chad Patton is a WWE referee.
"I have been choke slammed by Big Show, by Kane," the longtime WWE veteran said, as he lists off all of his "accomplishments." "I have been stunned by Stone Cold, Rock Bottom'ed by Rock. I have taken a lot of the top guys' finishes and stuff."
Patton got his start through a local friend. He would set up the ring or manage the wardrobe. Like many of the stars he officiates, he got his big break all of a sudden.
"The ring announcer did not come to the show," he said. "They said, 'he we need someone to ring announce the show tonight. So of course, I have only done this show a couple times."
But he stepped inside the ring in Rosemont, IL, surrounded by 5,000 people. Since then, he did not look back.
As you can imagine, Patton has had some pretty gruesome injuries. In one of too many examples, he took a hit from Chyna and dislocated his jaw. The doctors on site pushed it back into place. Patton, who lives in St. Joseph, has also suffered broken ribs and a broken nose.
"Knock on wood, nothing else happens," he laughs. "But it is all part of the job."
But there are perks to the job. If you walk into his office, you will see it well-decorated. Look to the right, and there Wrestlemania hats from years ago. To the left, picture after picture of famous stars.
Cedric the Entertainer.
"We got Bob Barker," he said as he proudly pointed to his picture. "He loved every bit of it, too. He was great. He really got into it. I never knew he was a wrestling fan. That was kind of the funny thing."
The most odd one up there, aside from Jerry Springer, was Paul Reubens a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman.
"To this day, he still sends me a Christmas card."
"My friends come over and they are excited to see it (all)," Chase said. "You have big superstars on the wall like Tim Duncan and Ben Roethlisberger. Those are super star athletes. And he has even met my favorite player, Kevin Durant."
There also plates from the countries Chad has visited displayed on the shelves. He has been to Korea, India and Australia. You will also notice keepsakes from the middle east. Patton, along with other WWE members went to Iraq to visit troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"I think it gives them a different perspective on things," the referee explains. "Now you look (at them) and say, 'Wow. Those guys do a lot for the troops. They go overseas and they are risking their lives to fly over there and be with the military."
Patton has a ton of stories, but they may not be as good as the one Chase has. When the SJ-O senior was younger, he would hold on to the wrestlers' props until they returned from the ring. On this particular day, Ric Flair asked Chase to take his robe to the back. Before Chase went over, another superstar wrestler, Randy Orton, told Chase to kick Flair in the shins.
"I'm thinking this is not a good idea," the younger Patton said. "I'm going to get my dad in trouble because this is one of my first times being at a show."
Patton would fulfill Orton's request. Sure enough, he gave Flair a nice kick to the shins.
"He starts hopping around and yelling every word at the book at me. Then I took the robe back like nothing happened."
Chase said his father "got some heat for that." As Chase is talking, you could see his father in the corner smiling and shaking his head at the same time, appearing to still be embarrassed by the incident.
Chad is on the road many days out of the year. But still keeps track of Chase's games by either calling or texting his mother. He said he makes it to most of his football and basketball games this year because the WWE has enough referees to fill in.
In the next few years, you could see Chase join his father in the WWE referee. The high school senior said he would like to be a part of the company, though likely on the business side (he is too tall to be a referee).
With Chase being a stand out in athletics, we posed this question to both father and son: who would win in a fight in the ring?
Chase felt very confident. But his father had a big grin on his face, hinting otherwise.
"I'm still Dad. And Dad can still handle business."