Sidney Wrestling Club To Co-Host Montana State AAU Tournament

The Sidney Wrestling Club will co-host the Montana State AAU Folkstyle Wrestling Tournament with the Huntley Project Wrestling Club. The tournament will take place March 18-20 at Metra Park, Billings. Both boys and girls will be competing in age groups:Tots through Elite.

Hosting the state tournament is decided through a bid process. All of the wrestling clubs that participate in the state AAU convention vote on bid packages submitted by the clubs interested in putting on the tournament. The host clubs handle all planning and logistics involved in running the three-day tournament. “We were approached by Huntley Project to be a partner,” said Sidney Wrestling Club Coach Shane Gorder. “Covid really opened up the Metra’s dates. Tim (Kaczmarek), Huntley Project AAU and high school head coach, was able to identify that. He locked in the date right away and contacted us to be a partner with him.”

Kaczmarek chose to reach out to the Sidney Wrestling Club because our their log history of involvement in Montana wrestling. “Obviously they have a lot of ties to the wrestling community and AAU in general,” said Kaczmarek. “Through the years working with them we felt our clubs would work together real well.”

The relationship was forged of over the years with the state wide Montana teams that travel to tournaments across the county. “They took a lot of kids from all over state to wrestling in tournaments. We traveled to Iowa and some of those other tournaments together. Its been for a long time now,” stated Kaczmarek.

Billings is an ideal location for the statewide tournament due to its centralized location. Metra Park is one of the few venues in the state that has the room to accommodate a tournament of this size. The host clubs plan to run 14 wrestling mats consecutively and the Metra provides ample room for table workers, tournament staff, coaches and participants as opposed to high school gyms, smaller civic centers or field houses. Each club will have 50 volunteer workers and there will be 21 officials refereeing the matches.

“We always want to show people how to run a good tournament,” stated AAU and high school wrestling coach Ty Graves. “We pride ourselves on it. “

“For us in Sidney, we were pretty honored when Huntley Project chose to partner with us. We’re known to have a large club with lots of workers,” added Gorder.

The last time Sidney hosted the AAU Montana State Tournament was 1991. That year, the tournament was freestyle wrestling unlike folkstyle this year. The rules and scoring differ between the two wrestling styles. Folkstyle rules are similar to high school and college wrestling. Freestyle rules are similar to those used in world and Olympic wrestling.

In 1991, the Sidney Wrestling Club president was Terry Williams and head coach was Wayne Swigart. That year, Colstrip AAU Wrestling, Stars and Stripes Wrestling (Billings) and Sidney Wrestling teamed up to host the tournament in Billings. The group was named Tri-Wrestling. “Back then we used to go to Butte,” stated Williams. “The east clubs kind of got tired of traveling over there so they decided to put a tournament together at the Metra.”

Sidney had some notable participants in the1991 Montana State AAU Tournament. A total of 13 future high school individual state champions were in attendance. In the Bantam age group future state champions included Josh Prevost, Nathan Williams and Phillip Williams. High school state champions Rick Hambro, Ryan Hagen, Clancy Harris and Levi Prevost competed in the Midget age group. State champion Jessie Jimison wrestled in the School Boy age division. Future high school champs Casey Thomas, Shane Cundiff, Jody Wells and Brandon Eggum were in the Cadet age group that year. State champion Scott Pemberton wrestled in the Elite age group.

The hope is for the Sidney and Huntley Project clubs to host the tournament next year as well. “We have the dates secured for next year too. So if everything goes well, we are hoping to do it for as long as we can,” said Gorder.

This year’s Sidney Wrestling Club team has started out strong. Over 100 kids have started out the 2022 season. The team has competed in a dual tournament in Huntley Project and individual tournaments in Glasgow, Bozeman and Glendive. On March 5, Lewistown will host the Montana Middle School Championships. Sidney will host the 2022 Brodie Gorder Memorial Iron Eagle tournament at the Sidney High School on March 13.


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