USA Nevada Wrestling Final in Winnemucca
When you think of Winnemucca, you normally don't think of wrestling. That is, unless you have a wrestler in the family.
My grandkids, who live in Las Vegas, recently competed in the state Greco-Roman/Freestyle wrestling finals in Winnemucca's Events Complex. The indoor arena was covered with thick plastic flooring where cowboys and bullriders normally compete. Topped with red, yellow, green, and blue wrestling mats, the center looked like a big gym. Even so, you could occasionally catch a faint whiff of manure at the edges.
Winnemucca, thanks to its geographic location in north central Nevada, draws wrestlers from the Western states for major tournaments. Angie, my granddaughter (yes, girls compete in this sport!) wrestled here in a girls' tournament when she lived in the Bay Area. Now she and her brother, Andrew, are students at Arbor View High School, and the two drove with their Dad, Mickey, to the meet March 7-9.
Wrestling tournaments are a source of endless fascination. Tiny guys weighing no more than 35 pounds and wearing head gear resembling giant earphones twist their arms and legs around each other, trying to take each other down. Teenaged wrestlers with their more refined technique show the results of lots of practice and workouts. I don't always catch the finer points of how the sport is scored, but I love to watch the kids throw their heart and soul into a few minutes on the mat. Sometimes I rejoice when the underdog scores on points or when a truly fine wrestler pins his (or her) opponent in the first few seconds. At this meet, Angie and Andrew took first in their weight classes. Angie also began refereeing, which she wants to continue as she heads toward graduation and, she hopes, wrestling in college.
Before the competitors wrestle, there's a time-honored tradition of self-imposed fasting, as parents of athletes know too well. The wrestlers have to “make weight.” That is, they eat practically nothing for a couple of days so that they can weigh as little as possible. Weigh-ins are first thing in the morning of the first day of the tournament. After that, all bets are off. Angie and Andrew slammed into a pancake breakfast at The Griddle, then feasted on nachos from the concession stands as they waited for their matches. After the meet, dinner at the Ormachea's Dinner House came next, then a few games at Spare Time Bowling Center.
With a couple of hundred wrestlers and their parents and well-wishers like me in town, Winnemucca also scores. “It's fantastic for Winnemucca,” says Darrel Field, event and marketing coordinator for the Winnemucca Convention and Visitors Authority. “Out-of-towners come and eat and stay. The infrastructure like the Events Complex is a big benefit for Winnemucca.”
And covering up the rodeo arena, while a big job, is worth the time it takes, Field says. “Our guys work above and beyond the call of duty to get it done. It's fantastic.”