Hollywood, FLA — Rusty Tabler has died 147 times ... and lived to tell about each harrowing experience.
Tabler, formerly of Heath, was among those honored Sunday night at the 14th Annual Fakeys in Hollywood, Florida. The Fakeys award the best and brightest re-enactors the world over.
Tabler specializes in re-enactments of famous Civil War Battles. For his work in the The Battle of Cheat Mountain re-enactment, he was awarded the 2009 Fakey for Best Re-enactor.
"He was absolutely amazing ... I've never seen a guy take so many blanks and keep charging up the hill. Finally, when it was over, I imagined the pool of blood around his ragged body, soaking into the earth." remembered co-re-enactor Perry "Stonewall" Jackson, wiping away a phantom tear.
Tabler is known in the Living History community as "The Possum" and "The Human Death Scene."
"Watching him die is so beautiful sometimes. He puts so much intensity into it ... you really believe that his innards are being torn apart by small round metal balls." said Honorary Fakey chairman Bernard Madoff.
Tabler, 37, grew up on the outskirts of Heath, Ohio along the South Fork Licking River. The local terrain served as a training ground for the future re-enactor, where he honed his pretend combat skills, often using random sticks as guns. It's also — as an 11 year old — where he perfected his patented "Totally Awesome Death Spiral." He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he hosts his famous "Fake It and Make It" Workshops for struggling re-enactors.
"This is unbelievable. It's an honor to be nominated, let alone win." An exuberant Tabler said after hoisting the 14-carat Cubic Zirconia trophy. His excitement seemed to be genuine.
Adult film actress Leeza Lippzz garnered the top prize for "Most Believeable Orgasm", while Clarence Gravitz was posthumously honored for his lifetime of Re-enactment work on television shows such as America's Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries.
Tabler was previously nominated for "Best Bayonet Charge" and "Best Depiction of a Double Amputee" before taking home the top prize Sunday.