RICHIE FRIEMAN | CHILDREN’S CANCER FOUNDATION
Richie, a pro wrestler and a pro artist, is a writer/illustrator from the Baltimore area. Richie enjoys sharing unique food experiences and art experiences with his wife and children, and encourages new Baltimoreans to get to know Baltimore as “Smalltimore.”
Email Richie: rfrieman[at]gmail[dot]com How interesting!: For over eight years as a professional wrestler, Richie was (and still is) know as Thrill From Israel Buster Maccabi!
What brought you to Baltimore? Growing up in Baltimore, I loved the Orioles, and then the Ravens, as well as spending time in different areas around the city. From the food, to the culture, to the harbor, I learned to love everything about Charm City. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed different areas for different reasons and remain a constant advocate for what I believe Charm City can be. I married my high school sweetheart, Jamie, and we have two amazing children, Maddy and Cole, and one extremely hyper puppy, Tucker.
What’s your connection to Baltimore? When I’m not busy with family and work, I enjoy anything outside, as well as exercise and art. I’ve been an artist my entire life and try to pass that onto my kids. Growing up I wanted to be just two things: an artist and a professional wrestler. Seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand those are two opposite sides of the spectrum, but I said it when I was five and held onto that plan into adulthood. Those two passions turned into careers, with the arts allowing me to become a professional author (6 books), illustrator and artist, and wrestling in the “squared circle” as “The Thrill from Israel–Buster Maccabi” for 8+ years. I retired from wrestling when my wife was pregnant with our daughter, Maddy in 2008, but remain a big supporter for all my “family” of the ring. Wrestling is an art form. I am probably the only person who can make that claim without an argument, since I’m both a professional artist, and a pro wrestler. It’s the greatest show on earth! Presently, my main passion is writing. I’ve written and illustrated six books, one of which became a #1 best seller. My new middle grade fiction book, “Maddy & Cole: The Food Truck Grand Prix (Vol 1)” is on sale now, and it takes place in Baltimore. This book is about a courageous little girl, who helps her grandfather win a Baltimore food truck competition. It’s the ultimate underdog story, and shows little girls that they can be leaders, entrepreneurs and stand up to the doubters. This is volume one, and I hope for many more. Most importantly, for this book, I’ve committed 10% of my own profits to benefit the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF). Even with the reputation of Baltimore, that doesn’t mean I love my city any less. We need people to go to bat for the city and erase the stigma. I hope to do this through my books as well.
What do you like about Baltimore? When you live in Baltimore, you learn that the city is called “Smalltimore” for a reason. Everyone knows everyone, or knows someone who knows someone. You can’t escape it—just embrace it! But that’s a great part of the city. I love when I can network with someone for any ideas and also do my part to help them out. I also think when it comes to food, Baltimore is highly underrated. We have some of the best varieties of food around, other than just crab cakes (which are the best, of course).
New Baltimoreans should definitely check out: It’s all about embracing the Smalltimore mentality. If you want something done in this city, all you have to do is ask. It’s literally the network of networks; ask around, get referred and next thing you know, you’re up and running!
Connect with Richie online: Website