Reno spoke with Rumor Hazzitt owner Bruce Peg and his management staff of Peter Sittig and Michael Bennett about putting on the event as a fundraiser to help people living with HIV/AIDS. Bruce, Peter, and Michael liked the idea and organized the first Jell-O Wrestling Extravaganza in 1987. Shanti, one of the 3 local AIDS Service Organizations that would later merge to form the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), was the recipient of event proceeds.
Reno was an energetic, fun-loving, intelligent man in his early 20s when he brought this idea to the community. Committed to doing something to help, he and the owners and management of Rumor Hazzit made the event a reality. At age 23, Reno died from AIDS. The year following his death, the event became a memorial to him.
Reno’s legacy of hope and dedication to raising public awareness about HIV/AIDS continues through this wonderful event. In the past 9 years alone, Jell-O Wrestling has raised more than $300,000 for the programs and services of SAAF.
HIV, LGBTQ+ individuals, and communities marginalized by society.