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#039;Springer#039; security man to appear at Ironton retailer Friday

Even if the hundreds of people expected to be at Hoss Cat Clothing Friday do show up, the situation will probably be a lot more peaceful than what Steve Wilkos is accustomed to.

Steve, the popular security guard on the "Jerry Springer Show," will sign autographs at the store from 3 to 8 p.m. tomorrow.

Owner Donnie Townsend said it is a thrill to welcome Wilkos to his store. The idea emerged when Steve bought some shirts from Hoss Cat over the Internet.

"I knew Steve wore my shirts, so I contacted him (about a visit)," he said. "He jumped at the opportunity."

Although his fame came from his job on the "Jerry Springer Show," Wilkos is a Chicago native who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for seven years. He received an honorable discharge in 1989.

Wilkos serves as a full-time police officer in Chicago.

In 1994, he started working as a security guard for the show and has become a celebrity.

However, Townsend said there is a lot more to Wilkos than what people see on the show.

"Steve is an upright, honest, sincere citizen and I guarantee the people who come out to see him will be impressed with his personality," Townsend said. "He wants people to see the real Steve. He doesn’t like the mean-guy stereotype."

"I’m not promoting Jerry Springer," Townsend said. "I am promoting a guy that is on television and who is a typical Hoss Cat customer."

Hoss Cat opened in October of 2001 and Townsend says the store has generated more than $500,000 in commerce.

"I was told I was a fool for opening a store in Ironton, Ohio-- for economic reasons," Townsend said. "I believe in this community more than they believe in themselves."

Townsend emphasized that this is only the beginning in regards to hosting guests at his store.

"Hoss Cat is not stopping here. I plan on getting other entertainers and professional athletes," he said. "If Steve isn’t somebody they want to meet, at some point there will something for everybody."

Although no details are confirmed, Townsend hopes to have ex-Chicago Bear William "Refrigerator" Perry sometime soon. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune