Event organizers hastily prepared this manipulated photo of Grand County Council members Lynn Jackson, left, and Chris Baird, for a promotional poster of a steel cage match at the Old Spanish Trail Arena on April 1. [Courtesy image]

After many months of public accusations, recrimination and general unpleasantness between Grand County Council members Lynn Jackson and Chris Baird, the pair announced that they intend to settle their differences once and for all with a WWE-style steel cage match at the Old Spanish Trail Arena on April 1. 

Fellow council member Elizabeth Tubbs will serve as referee for the fight. She indicated that the rules of the match state that if Jackson wins, construction will begin immediately on a six-lane Book Cliffs Highway, while a Baird victory would require Jackson to address Baird as “Your Excellency” during all county meetings.

No sooner had the brawl been announced than trash-talking by the councilmen began.

“That hippie punk is toast. Probably gluten-free toast in his case,” Jackson told the Moab Sun News, as he sparred with a coach during a training session last Friday evening at the South Town Gym. Despite having nearly two decades on his nemesis, Jackson looked spry as worked a heavy bag at 7 a.m.

“My prediction for the fight: Pain. Baird’s not gonna recall anything after I’m through with him,” Jackson explained.

Baird, meanwhile, said he is making no special preparations for the brawl and expects to dispatch his opponent with ease.

“It’s game-over for that potash pusher,” said Baird. “This will be a walk in the park. Or shall we say – a walk in the ‘national monument,’” he added with air quotes and a menacing grin.

There will be no disqualifications or count-outs as the only way to win is via pinfall, submission, or escape from the cage. The steel cage format is specifically designed both to keep intruders out, and to keep combatants in.

Acrimony between Jackson and Baird dates back to the run-up to the 2014 elections, when candidate Baird accused council member Jackson of impropriety surrounding Jackson’s alleged influence over local board meetings.

Jackson denied any wrongdoing and asserted that Baird had not a shred of evidence to back his claims. But Baird still maintains that he had a highly reliable source for his assertions.

“I know what (Jackson) did because I got all my facts from a guy who knew this other guy who was friends with the roommate of our babysitter.”

Jackson explained that he could not possibly have been present at any of the three days of board meetings in question.

“I’ve got an ironclad alibi,” Jackson said. “On the Wednesday I was in Salt Lake for the petroleum lobby’s annual dinner, Thursday I was tied up with mentoring young roughnecks, and on Friday I was out in the backcountry just doing some recreational natural gas fracking.”

While the political gulf between the two men couldn’t be wider, the planned wrestling spectacle appears to have the potential to bring together the town’s often politically divided residents.

“We’ve already sold nearly 1,000 tickets,” Grand County Council Administrator Ruth Dillon said. “Young and old, rich and poor, liberal and conservative – they’re all going to be there.”

“There’s really nothing like a vengeance-fueled smackdown between long-time enemies to bring the community together.”

County councilmen agree to go toe-to-toe at Old Spanish Trail Arena