Photography by Jessica Turner.
It’s a cool fall morning in Kidd Springs Park.
Sleepyheads are walking their dogs. Ducks are quacking. And up on the dewy grass, four full-bodied men are counting in Japanese while vigorously stretching.
One of them is wearing a cowboy hat, a buttocks-baring loincloth and nothing else.
This is the Dallas Sumo Club.
The guy in the hat is 33-year-old Corey Morrison, who founded the club in January.
They meet here in the park’s Japanese garden every Wednesday.
Jared Tadlock drives from Fort Worth to attend practice. He’s a former amateur and professional wrestler who says the club helped him get into better shape and drop some pandemic weight.
He saw sumo wrestling for the first time in high school, the same way many Americans have been introduced to the sport, on ESPN at 3 a.m.
“You see this pageantry, and it’s so ornate, and then guys get in there and they’re just beating each other up,” Tadlock says. “It’s a whole other type of wrestling than what I was used to.”
Searching for a sumo club in the Dallas area back in 2015, he contacted Tom Zabel at Mighty Eagle Sumo in San Antonio, one of Texas’ three other sumo clubs, who put him on a mailing list in case of any other interest from Dallas/Fort Worth.
Fast forward to January 2019, when Morrison and his girlfriend, a burlesque performer named Siggy Sauer, watched their first livestream of a sumo tournament on Twitch. They haven’t missed one since.
Japanese pro tournaments are every other mont