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The Prayers of a Praying Momma!

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff
The Truth Network Radio
May 22, 2021 12:00 pm

The Prayers of a Praying Momma!

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff

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May 22, 2021 12:00 pm

Nikita is with Kannapolis, NC based entrepreneur Rocky Wagner, a friend of many years, talking about his involvement in the NASCAR scene, as well as his miraculous conversion to Christ at 62-years-old, after a lifetime of prayers from his mother.


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1-800-YES-WORD. Hi, I'm Matthew. My co-hosts, Brianna, Michael, Paul, and I have found life beyond Mormonism to be brighter than we were told it would be.

Join us for discussions about our journeys from Mormon to Jesus. Once a world champion wrestler, now a champion for Christ. Once the Russian nightmare, now the devil's worst nightmare. And your tag team partner, Nikita Kolov. It's time to man up.

The prayers of a praying mama come to fruition 62 years later. Stay tuned for today's story. Welcome back to It's Time to Man Up with the Russian, why do I always say that, the devil's nightmare, Nikita Kolov. And it's a privilege, a privilege, a pleasure to have this man in the studio with me today, Rocky Wagner.

We go way back. Rocky, welcome to It's Time to Man Up. Thank you, Nikita. I'm glad to be here.

It's great to have you here. You know, I'm always intrigued. You got a fascinating story, and it's why I wanted to have you in the studio. In fact, we were talking before we went on air with our main man, Robbie, here, and we were just talking about, you know, people when they give their life to Jesus, you know, kind of the age range on that. And I don't know if an anomaly is the right term, but maybe it is, or at least in a small percentage, but I want to talk about that story of how you came to the Lord. But before I get there, we go back, any idea how far we go back, 10, 15 years?

Probably around 10 or 12 years at least. Okay. And we've met through mutual friends, and we kind of live near each other. Yes. And we've been involved over the years in some different business ventures, some things together.

Exactly. We sure have. You have been gracious enough. I know, of course, you know, people have heard me, our listeners have heard me talk about Man Camp and over and over and over again. But you're a marketplace guy. You're out there in the world.

You're grinding it every day, and you've done a variety of things over the years. But one of the things you had for many, many years was a t-shirt business. And of course, you've provided our Man Camp with shirts, of which I'm very, very grateful and thankful for. But tell us about it, because you've got a history with NASCAR, right?

Yes, sir. Tell us a little bit about that story. Well, Nikita, we started out in a little sporting goods store in Kannapolis back in the 70s. I worked for my father. His name was Bob Wagner, and he was a baseball coach, football coach. Everybody knew Daddy. And my brother, Bobby, is seven years younger than me.

He went to Daytona following Dale Earnhardt Sr. And, you know, in a little hometown of Kannapolis, we had a little sporting goods store, and we were doing team business. And we were getting by. I mean, my first paycheck I remember after taxes was $97. Ninety-seven dollars?

Ninety-seven dollars. That's back in the 70s. But anyway, my brother went to Daytona, and he came back home, and he said, we are in the wrong business.

I said, what's going on down there, Bobby? He said, man, he said, I never saw so many people in my life. And they were buying shirts and hats and t-shirts. And so we found some folks that were NASCAR or car-related artists, and we got involved in printing our own t-shirts and things like that with race cars. And so we just took off out there on the circuit, and we found out pretty quick that our artists and our artwork that we had was well received.

And we started getting all kind of little orders here and there, and then with one race after another. And then a few years later, I ran into a guy named Bill Battle, who started Collegiate Concepts in Atlanta. And he did licensing for all the college folks. And NASCAR hired him to do their marks. And we ran into Bill actually in Daytona at a race, and he said, Rocky, you need to come to Atlanta. These designs you have are awesome. But next year, these things are going to be licensed product.

If you don't have a license, you'll be in the bootleg business. So I basically said, hey, I need to go to Atlanta. That's what we did. We went to Atlanta. Bill was super nice. Gave me my—I was the second one to get an apparel license with NASCAR.

And then it took off from there. Yeah, I know. And getting to know you over the years, I mean, I knew you were doing major, major business. And of course, living in Kannapolis, North Carolina, you're in the mecca of NASCAR racing. In fact, correct me if I'm wrong, Del Earnhardt Sr., born and raised in Kannapolis, yeah?

Exactly. He was working out of his house over on, I believe it's Coach Street, and I think his mom, Martha, I'm pretty sure that she's still living in the same house. But his dad got started there, and then he came up through the channels, and he got started there, and he just turned into a superstar.

Yeah, he did. I mean, I'm not a big NASCAR fan or follower per se, but I live with you. I live in the heart of it. And for those listening out there, if you're ever traveling through Kannapolis, North Carolina, be sure to stop at the Del Earnhardt Plaza and have your picture taken with his broad statue, right? Exactly. So you have this race, this racing, and how many races a year would you go to back then? I mean, in the heyday? Yeah, back in the heyday, there was a race almost every weekend somewhere. I think they had a weekend off maybe for Mother's Day and things like that. But it started in February in Daytona, and it ended in maybe Homestead, Florida late in the season as maybe 32, 33 races, 36. It's almost every weekend.

Wow. And of course, you traveled to all the races, right? We had a corporate trailer that we ran, and we sat on track property, and then we had another little trailer that we had, and we sat across the street on private property. But with our NASCAR licensing, we were able to sell product on both sides of the street, and it worked out really well for us. Of course, we was able to do Daytona 500 merchandise, Talladega Super Speedway merchandise, Darlington.

And back in the day when they had all the characters, you know, he had Awesome Bill from Dawsonville, and Del Earnhardt the Intimidator, and Darryl Waltrip and those guys. It was really, really popular back then, and you didn't know from one race to the other who was going to hit the other one or bang the other one or throw a helmet or whatever, and so it was neat. The fans just went crazy over that stuff, and it was hard to get a ticket. I remember going to Bristol at the night race, and somebody said that that rivaled a Super Bowl ticket back in the day. It was hard to get a ticket.

That's amazing. I know I went to one race back in the day, the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, and I was up in the Coca-Cola suite, and kind of to your point, I'm watching the crowd in the suite. They're not really watching the race. They're talking and eating until there was the potential of a wreck, and then everyone raced over to the windows to see if they could see the wreck or the potential wreck. I thought, well, isn't that interesting? It's kind of like those who used to go to, in the old days, a hockey game to see the fight.

Not so much to see the game, but to see the fight, right? Did you get the opportunity to then meet a lot of the guys, a lot of the racers? We, in our travels, we would see... Because, I mean, kind of when you're out there on the race circuit, it's kind of everybody kind of sticking together, and it's a close-knit family, even though the race car drivers, when it got racing time. I tell you what, Dale Earnhardt, he was a really nice man, but when it came race day, that's why they called him the Intimidator. He was serious. Things flipped.

Everything flipped. Hey, Dale, how you doing? He may look at you and may not. He may not even grunt at you, but he was... He may not even acknowledge you. Acknowledge you, yes. He was quite the character, but he was a really nice man.

He did a lot of things behind the scenes with churches and folks that a lot of people didn't hear about, know about, but he was a really good guy. That's amazing. That would have made a good wrestling name for me, the Intimidator. I had the Russian nightmare, the shi-toi-ta, but the Intimidator... Because here's what's funny, Rocky, is, I mean, not every day, but... I did an autograph signing recently in Hickory, North Carolina, and this guy comes up and he's like, dude, you scared me to death when I was a kid. I was so scared.

He's so afraid of you. I said, well, I hope you're not now, but apparently I did a little intimidating of my own back then. So that reminded me, come match time, it was game face on for me, too. So I get that.

I get how Earnhardt kind of flipped the mindset there. Well, that's wild. Now, I know, too, you've got some pretty... I want to talk a minute, shift to a minute to your family. I know your lovely wife, your lovely bride, Shelly, and, of course, some of your children. I know you've had some... Not only have you had success in the marketplace, but you had, I know, at least once a very athletic son that had had some success at the pro baseball level, right? Am I right?

Yes, sir. All of my boys were athletically gifted, and there's five of them total, and they all played different sports. Chris played quarterback. He was a quarterback at the high school. John was a golfer. Daniel played baseball. Zach played basketball. Hunter was a wrestler.

Every one of them was a different... Oh, my gosh. And Daniel, he liked music. He ended up going to Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Okay. Great university. And he played baseball there, and his junior year he got drafted in the 16th round by the Chicago White Sox. And so he did. He played pro ball. He played in the minor leagues for six years. He made it all the way to AAA. And after that season was over with, he decided he wanted to get into some other businesses that he had dreams about, and he ended up partnering up with one of his teammates, a guy named Joe Dipinto. He was from LA.

They started a business in LA, and that's where they're at now, and Daniel just recently got married. We've got another grandbaby on the way, but yes, all of my boys played sports, and they all were really good athletes at everything that they did, and they're all good boys. I guess I didn't realize you had all boys where I had all girls, so I tell people I didn't swim in the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean or even the Indian Ocean, but I swam for years in the estrogen ocean.

You had a mother with all that testosterone racing through your home where I had estrogen racing through mine. And so he's followed in dad's footsteps in terms of being a businessman and successful out there in the marketplace. Pretty much all of them have. They've got different fields. Chris is a real estate agent. John has a screen printing and embroidery company. He's got a partner, Marty Cox. Great family. My son, Zach, he works with John. Of course, Daniel's in LA. Hunter is a welder for a company called Alcar, but they've all been successful in business, and they work hard.

They're hard workers. That's amazing. Hold that thought. I want to pick up right there when we come back.

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It's time to Man Up. I'm here talking in the studio with Rocky Wagner, a dear, dear friend of mine. Rocky, we were just talking about your boys. Here's what's interesting to me as well. So they all play different sports, and now they're essentially all involved in different businesses as well. That's kind of an interesting parallel there.

It is. You don't know when you're coming up a lot of times what you're going to get into or what direction you're going to when you're young, but they found their way. Zach, he did a lot of different kind of jobs.

He worked at a pizza place and just different things, and Chris started out mowing grass and ended up in the real estate business. So they all did different little jobs, but I always told them, I said, if you've got a job, keep that job until you find something better. Don't quit. Keep working. Always work hard. Always, whether you're sweeping floors or whatever, give it your best effort.

Somebody will notice you, and all good things come out of that. Just work hard. Well, it sounds like they had some great advice from you, and of course, in the time I've known you, you've had a strong work ethic, and so obviously that has parlayed to your sons. And of course, that has certainly led to their success. And it's interesting, Rock, for me, as we've gotten to know each other over the years, and one of the reasons I wanted to have you in, have you on the show, what I'm really intrigued by is I want to transition here and talk about from your family to talk really about your faith as a man out in the marketplace who's a man of faith. And you have a pretty amazing story, because I know statistically, and I don't know all the exact numbers for all the listeners out there, don't quote me on these numbers, because I don't know the exact numbers, but I do know this, that the opportunity or the chance of someone coming to faith in Jesus Christ, the odds or the percentages are, I probably should have researched this, but they're much higher when somebody's younger, like say in their youth or their teenage or early years, and then the numbers begin to really kind of dwindle down, and they say, whoever they, right, the experts, they say the older you get, the less likely or the smaller percentage or less likely chance that somebody will come to faith in the Lord. But you have a pretty unique story in that you grew up around it, and you kind of talked about faith in Jesus, but something happened just a few years ago at the age of 62.

Yes, sir. Something happened that really transformed your life. Can you share a little bit of that story with our listeners? Nikita, the first thing I'd like to think is my mom, she's 89 years old, and she prayed for me from the time I was born, so to the listeners, don't ever give up praying for someone that you love or you care about.

God may not answer those prayers on your time, but He does it on His time. I was in and out of church all of my life. I had two or three different times when I was called to the altar, and I didn't go. I almost went, but I didn't go. I was straddling the fence, you might say, or I was afraid I was going to miss a party or an event or something, and I wasn't sure how my friends would take it if I professed to be a Christian or this and that.

So I just went on about my life and just working. I worked hard, but I wasn't a very good father in the faith department. I never did really teach my kids a lot about Jesus. I wish I would have.

I do now. But as time went on and life goes on, you only get so many opportunities to come to the Lord. And what happened to me is my preacher now at Jackson Park Baptist Church in Kannapolis had me to do some church for a mission trip. And I did the church for them.

They loved them. And one of the guys that I used to play softball with, Harry Mills, said, Rocky, why don't you come to church with us? You'd love our Sunday school class.

We have a great time. Why don't you come with us? Well, during all this time that he was asking me to come to church and I were doing all these church, I was having a rough time at home. Me and my wife was struggling.

My fault. I just wasn't living like I needed to be living. And so basically, I went to church that morning. I went to Sunday school that morning. And I was sitting in my Sunday school class and Harry Mills was sitting behind me and my other my Sunday school teacher, Lefty DeWiggins, who was a great ballplayer in his own right. Both of these guys were all Americans in sports.

They were great ballplayers. But Harry sitting behind me and he said, when I was out in the world doing what I wanted to do, I didn't have a conscience. And I said, I said to myself, I said, that's me. That's the way I am.

I just do what I want to and really don't have a conscience about things that I do. So I left church that morning. I was miserable, Nikita.

And like I said, my wife had she was planning on leaving. The next week, we had a terrible fuss on a Saturday night and I didn't made up my mind I wasn't going back to church and. But I got up that morning, I went to church, and when I went to my Sunday school class that morning, my Sunday school teacher, Lefty DeWiggins, broke out the Ten Commandments and I'm sitting in my seat and I heard the Spirit of the Lord.

Said, Rocky, if you don't come to me today, I'm done with you. And I started shaking in my chair and shortly after that, our class was over with and I was I was a total wreck. And I asked Lefty, I said, Lefty, I need to talk to you in private. We went in a little room beside our Sunday school class where the ladies were and everybody was headed to the church and you could hear the choir singing. And so we got in this little room and Lefty shut the door and he said, what?

What's going on? I said, I need Jesus. I said, if I die right now, I'm going to hell.

And I know it in my heart. And he said, well, let's pray. And so he started praying for me, Nikita. And when I said, Lord, I need you.

I will be obedient to you and I'll live for you the rest of my life. Please, dear Jesus, come into my heart and save me. And when I said that at that particular moment, that little room that we're in, it just got completely silent in there. I didn't hear the choir singing anymore. All I felt was the Holy Spirit. And I knew right then that I had gotten saved. And when I left that room and went into the church. And the preacher gave the altar call and I had already been saved, you know, just a few minutes or so prior. But when he gave that altar call, Nikita, I'm not sure exactly how I got up to the front of that church. I don't know if I ran, dove. I just know I got up there really fast. Sprinted and...

Yes, sir. But you want to make that public confession. I fell on the altar and my preacher came over and he said, what's going on, Rocky? I said, I just got saved outside my Sunday school class. I couldn't wait to tell everybody about what had happened to me. And I'm going to be 66 the 22nd of this month.

It's going to be four years. I got saved on 7-23 of 17. And I've been like this since.

And thank the Lord. Well, and I want to just interject right there, Rocky, and kind of our last few minutes together. Because what blesses my heart is in the time we've spent together since. And we spent lots of time together prior.

In fact, I'd invited you to camps and some of the man camps and different things I've been involved in in the past. And you're like, yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe I'll do that. But to see your life transformation, like a real encounter and transformation, just blesses my heart. And I know too, one thing I know from you is, and you share this with me now many times, is that every morning you get up, you're like, Lord, bring somebody across my path that I can share this story with.

And he does, right? He brings somebody across your path. Nikita, almost every day without fail, somebody comes my way. And it's kind of neat because most of the time I get to see these folks, maybe it's somebody I've done business with before, and I get to tell them my story.

It's always in a little place where we're off to the side maybe. And I really get to witness to them about the Lord and tell them what the Lord did for me. And it's just a blessing, and he just keeps blessing me. And I try to do the best I can on a daily basis, but I put him first in everything that I do.

And when I did that and I got out of the way, he took over. Man, that's a great way to phrase that right there. And let me just say, too, before we run out of time, I want to just for our listeners, God completely restored your marriage. I guess I'm just going to have to have you back sometime.

We have to talk more about this. Because God completely restored your marriage once you made that decision. And so that's another testimony in and of itself. And then all the opportunities you're having, that's a message to all of us. I mean, you're not a preacher. You didn't go to seminary. You're out in the marketplace every day but being a witness for Jesus. Which, really, anyone and all of us should be doing more of that, not just leaving it up to the preacher on a Sunday morning or maybe a broadcast or even a podcast. That all of us, if we have that real genuine relationship with Jesus like you're doing, it's just out there just sharing your story. And I know we don't have a lot of time left, but I know you've seen in sowing those seeds and being a witness, I know it's impacted a lot of people's lives.

Nikita, let me say this to the listeners. It's not a head change. It's a heart change. When He gets a hold of your heart, you won't want to do the things that you used to do. You won't want to act like you used to act. He changes you in the blink of an eye. He changes your heart, and that's where it's at.

It's a heart transformation. Man, that's good, Rocky. That's a great way to kind of wrap up our show today that parallels, it kind of reminds me of my story when that story moved 18 inches from my head down to my heart. 17 October 1993, my life changed. And 62 years old, so just be encouraged.

You hear what Rocky said. Don't ever stop praying for others, praying for those loved ones, praying for those co-workers, praying for your friends. Don't ever stop praying. And whether you're 62 or you're six or two, at any age that God moves upon your heart, you can come to Jesus and surrender your life to Jesus. And today would be as good a day as any to make today your day of salvation. Rocky, thanks for coming to the studio. I really appreciate you coming on the show. Thank you, Nikita.

Thank you. I feel fortunate to be here and thankful and thanking the Lord that I'm able to share my story to a lot of different people this morning. Well, you're a great friend, and I'm trusting and believing as this show travels around the world that somebody's going to listen to your story, relate to your story, and Lord only knows it may only be in heaven when we finally realize the results of our testimony and our witness to others. But I want to thank you for joining. It's time to man up today and tune in next week for another great interview.

God bless you all. Men, I would like to challenge each of you to consider spending five days with Lex Luger and I at Man Camp, pursuing the heart of God. Ladies, if you're listening, we'll send your men home better equipped to be men of God, godly husbands, and godly fathers.

That appeals to you. Give them your blessing and encourage them to sign up today at Pastors, if you would like to bring Koloff for Christ Ministries and Man Up Conference to your community, go to and email me.

Remember this, it's time to man up. We so appreciate our listeners. If you will support this program with a financial gift of any amount, I will send you a personalized copy of my latest book, Nikita, A Tale of the Ring and Redemption. Go to, that's,, and make your contribution today. Now key to Koloff, the Russian nightmare here for Crescent Automotive. If buying a car is a nightmare for you, my friends Brian and Jamie Johnson at Crescent Automotive make it simple to find your pre-owned dream car with no hassle, affordable windshield pricing. No matter where you live, they will get your American dream car to you, baby. is all you need to know. Their whole inventory is right there with the right price. Everybody drives a Crescent you should too.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-15 11:24:27 / 2023-11-15 11:35:57 / 12

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