Reno Gannon2In 1987, Reno Gannon, a bartender at Tucson bar Rumor Hazzit, returned from a vacation in Mexico with an exciting new idea for a fundraising event. The concept? Jell-O Wrestling!

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 Gannon1

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.


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The mission of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation is to cultivate a healthy and stigma-free society through transformative action.