WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - 300 young wrestlers from all over Texoma met at Kay Yeager Coliseum for what organizers called “just a small tournament.” The tournament might be considered small to some, but is a big deal for the city of Wichita Falls.
Saturday morning, the youngest wrestlers began their matches in the first wrestling tournament hosted by North Texas USA wrestling. The only requirement after signing up and paying the $17 registration fee was weighing-in on Friday night. “Red River Rumble” gave youth, ages four to 14, an opportunity they haven’t had before.
“My son has been wrestling for four years, and this is her first year,” said Courtney Ruiz who mentions it’s great to take a break from driving miles for matches.
“Having it in town is just great for us. We have traveled upwards of two-plus hours to Dallas every weekend for these guys to compete. Having one in town and local is just a great and a fun opportunity to get the locals involved and to see what these kids are up to and doing.”
No school in Wichita Falls offers wrestling so the event provided an opportunity for kids who don’t often get the chance to participate in major tournaments. This season kids living in Wichita Falls will get to test their skills before the state tournament. Jeff Frank, the North Region director, is hoping the response will grow the wrestling community in the area.
“We’re excited to bring wrestling to Wichita Falls, so hopefully people start getting used to it and grow the sport up in this area. Wichita Falls is probably our farthest club in the region, and we are excited about that,” said Frank.
He’s looking forward to bringing it back next year, but first, some of the wrestlers that competed Saturday will head to the state tournament in El Paso in just a couple of weeks.
Those interested in wrestling can join the Wichita Falls Wrestling Academy, which was started by a group of local airmen looking for a place to bring their kids when they were stationed in Wichita Falls.