Former cowboy Nolan Boyd to fight in ‘Smokes and Guns’ charity event

Most people wouldn’t have the courage to step into a ring to engage in an MMA-style fight for any reason. But for Nolan Boyd, it was an opportunity to be part of something special.

Boyd, a two-time American wrestler and 2017 Oklahoma State graduate, is set to represent the Tulsa Fire Department at the seventh annual Smoke & Guns Fight Night on April 23.rd at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

The event involves members of the local fire departments and police officers competing in a series of MMA-style matches in a competitive fundraiser, with the winning team earning 60% of the proceeds for their organization charities with the losing team winning the remaining 40%.

This year, firefighters are fighting for Firefighters Burn Camp, which helps young burn victims, while police are looking to benefit the Special Olympics of Oklahoma.

Boyd is thrilled to step into the cage for such a worthy cause and represent the Tulsa Fire Department, but it was a long and winding road that eventually led him to this position.

“[My dad] told me he always thought it would be a great job to be a dentist,” Boyd said. And then it all looped back, and I ended up going back to what I thought was cool work as a kid.”

Boyd was still on his way to becoming a firefighter, but advice from Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt during a chance encounter at an American Ninja Warrior event in Oklahoma City convinced him.

“He was like, ‘You have to apply to Tulsa. They’re the best,'” Boyd said. “I was like, ‘Okay. I’ll do it.’ I mean, if the Governor tells you to apply somewhere, you have to do it.”

It wasn’t the first time Boyd had been recommended to the Tulsa Fire Department, but it was the icing on the cake of a decision he felt was the right one.

“I just felt like God was leading me there,” Boyd said. “And just the way things went, I just thought, ‘Okay, this is where I’m supposed to be. “”

Now that he’s established himself at the department and gearing up for his next fight, Boyd is leaning on his wrestling background to help him be ready.

“I think that would be a huge help, just because that’s really all I have,” Boyd said. “Wrestling just feels huge. Just being able to control someone when you put them down, and help you knock them down.”

Having now been taken half a decade away from his collegiate wrestling career, Boyd had to revert to his old training methods for his fight. One of them is returning to his old stomping grounds and helping young Cowboys while preparing.

“I tried to help out here,” Boyd said, referring to Oklahoma State’s wrestling training facility. “I’ll try to convince them to live, just to get some extra conditioning. It’s cool because you can help them and they help you. It seems like the best workout you can get.”

Boyd also says he practiced jiu jitsu before work, as well as running and weightlifting to prepare.

Another big factor Boyd has going for him is having a familiar face in his corner. Legendary wrestler and Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith will be at the event and coaching Boyd.

“I’m thrilled to be coaching Nolan in this fight,” Smith said. “I really enjoyed coaching him while he was here at OSU. He was a great leader, a great spiritual leader, and I’m really proud of what he’s doing now.”

For Boyd, Smith’s presence not only gives him a boost, but he also feels it elevates the event as a whole.

“It takes it to a new level, I feel like, because of its intensity,” Boyd said. “I think it helps the whole event, to have a legendary coach and wrestler. It just makes the event feel like a more professional event.”

Even with the intensity of the fights and the big names that will be in attendance, it’s important to remember why this is happening. Boyd does just that and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be a part of something so special.

“It just kind of feels like it was calling my name,” Boyd said. “I just think it’s a huge blessing to have this opportunity and I almost couldn’t pass it up. I think I’d kick myself if I was like, ‘I could pass this one up. “”

Tickets for Smokes and Guns can be purchased at ticket masterand are the donations that will be made to charities.

Joseph K. Bennett