published Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Off the Couch: War hero to be featured at World of Wheels

BARRY COURTER: Lisa, it's going to be a reality-star weekend in the area, and I know you are excited. We are definitely starting the new year off right by having Billy the Exterminator come a-calling. He will be joined by Liz Cavalier from "Swamp People" at the O'Reilly World of Wheels event this weekend at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

I understand that Channel 3 and US101 are sponsoring a Billy look-alike contest. I've been to a few WOW events, and I predict that will be a tough competition to win.

LISA DENTON: I think maybe the haircut is meant to scare the critters into submission. I know I sit dazed every time his show comes on. Sometimes I contemplate styling my own hair into a spiky mullet. I could handle the haircut easier than I could handle the snakes and such. (For those who don't know, Billy is the main character in an A&E network program. His studded-leather attire is an interesting wardrobe for someone who chases Louisiana varmints for a living.)

It's too bad his brother Ricky couldn't come along. They'd make a good tag team against Ricky Morton and Luke Gallows, who'll be in wrestling matches throughout the weekend.

BARRY: I just figured he let the critters he catches -- squirrels, raccoons, alligators -- chew on his hair to get that look. Not judging, as it works for him.

Also on Saturday, the city of Dalton will be throwing a parade for "Dancing With the Stars" winner J.R. Martinez. That is really cool, and he deserves it. His story is truly inspiring, and he seems to be a good guy.

LISA: There does seem to be a real joy about him, which is incredible considering the trauma he suffered in the Iraq War. It makes me proud that he considers Dalton home, even though he didn't move to the area until his senior year of high school. Dalton -- the whole tri-state, for that matter -- couldn't ask for a better ambassador.

For those who want to go, his welcome-home parade will go through downtown Dalton starting at 1 p.m., and there will be a reception at the Northwest Georgia Trade & Convention Center at 3:30 p.m.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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