Pine Ridge Wrestling Brings Pride, Achievement, and Fun to Youth
You may remember our Lakota original art piece raffle that was held to raise funds to send the Pine Ridge Native Wrestling Team to the AAU Nationals. Thanks to all of you who bid on this artwork, we were able to help this team achieve their dream. Of course, any trip across the state with this many children is bound to be an adventure!
Pine Ridge Wrestling Coach, David Michaud, recounts some of the adventures, fun, disappointments and achievements of the team. "Yeah, I've learned over the past 25 years things like the no rooms are just part of the journey of life with these kids. Worst part was, they charged my credit card for both weeks because they swore I gave em the wrong date but oh well, what can you do? Couldn't just go home with the kids, right? We had max run for a while, then run up and down the bleachers, then wrestle with some of the other boys to burn calories and keep his sweat going. It took about 25 minutes, was all, so nothing too bad..."
"There were plenty of extra things like the little 1st grader heavyweight who only packed underwear and munchies that had to wear my shirt and pants the next day or the high school 160 pound boy who forgot his wrestling shoes so I had to run and buy him some. There were more such happenings but all of that just adds to the experience. And it was an experience that would not have happened without your kindness, so thank you again."
All the wrestlers who were participating in the 2nd Annual Great Plains Region National AAU Wrestling Tournament met at the wrestling gym at 8:00 am on Friday. There were both elementary and high school wrestlers who participated.
We left the gym at 8:30 am Central time in 2 suburbans and 2 cars for the 500 mile drive across the state of South Dakotafrom Pine Ridge (located southwest corner) to Sisseton (located northeast corner). We stopped in Chamberlain which is located in the middle of the state on the Missouri River after 236 miles of driving for the boys to eat at Subway. We continued on to Sisseton where we arrived at 5:30 pm Standard Time.
We drove directly to the gym at the high school where weigh-ins were being conducted. All but 1 of the wrestlers made the weight they were supposed to except for Max Broken Nose who had to work-out for 25 minutes in order to lose an additional 1 1/2 pounds.
While we were waiting for Max to lose the weight I paired each of our elementary wrestlers up with one of the high school wrestlers so everyone had what we call a lookout buddy. After Max was weighed in, the tournament officials brought food for the wrestlers to eat. They provided fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, rolls, butter and drinks. The wrestlers loved this because it was all you could eat and a few had gone without eating today to make weight.
After we left the gym we drove to the Super 8 motel and checked into our rooms. This took a while due to the person who had taken our reservations, wrote it down for the week before and all the rooms were filled. They had to open a wing that wasn't being used and get it ready for our occupancy. While they were doing this I had the wrestlers change in the bathrooms at the pool, then I made sure each knew who their lookout buddy was, then we all swam for an hour and a half. We then went to our rooms, showered, brushed our teeth and went to bed.
We woke the wrestlers at 6:30 and fed them, went back to our rooms to put on our wrestling singlets, then we packed our stuff and headed to the gym. Once at the gym the wrestlers put on their wrestling shoes and went down to the mats to where they jogged as a team around the inside of the gym for 5 minutes then circled up and did 10 minutes of team warm up exercises. They then did some light wrestling with each other to get their bodies ready to wrestle so they wouldn't pull any muscles.
I called them up to where we were sitting and had a quick team meeting where we talked about doing our best and whether we win or lose, we enjoy ourselves and participate with pride and honor.
As the tournament got underway, the younger wrestlers lost the 1st 4 matches and the whole team was feeling dejected and sad without any wins. The 5th wrestler went out and pinned the opponent in 45 seconds and this got us on a roll, a side note, this is our only girl wrestler who was also a state champion this year at our state AAU tournament the week before. We had 1 other state Elementary Finalist along with 1 State High School Champion this year.
After her win we won the next 13 matches before another loss. Our record for the tournament was 66 wins and 21 losses. We had 6 champions, 5 runner ups, 6 3rd place, and 2 4th place finishes. We recorded 44 pins, 2 technical falls, 5 major decisions, and 15 decisions.
We went to Subway to eat after the tournament was over. The ride home was very uneventful, mostly due to all the wrestlers being exhausted. We stopped a few hours down the road, woke the wrestlers and went into Pizza Ranch. The kids like this place to eat, due to it being an all you can eat pizza buffet along with an arcade. We stayed for 90 minutes then again they all fell asleep on the remainder of the ride.
Maurice Broken Nose, Stephen Dixon Justin Bear Runner, Max Broken Nose, Shayla Bravo, Delbert Peters,
Trevor DeSersa, Jess Trueblood, Rich Smallwood, Andrew Quick Bear, Dante Bravo, Misun Mills, Jeff Pourier,
Kolbe Steele, Wes Jacobs, Danny Davis, Koltlen Yellow Horse, (not pictured Cody Provost)
"We would like to thank all the people who helped make this tournament possible through their caring and generous donations."
- by Dave Michaud, Pine Ridge Native Wrestling Coach
Because of your donations, these Lakota children were able to participate at the National level:
Shayla Bravo (Elementary Champ)
Justin Bear Runner
Max Broken Nose
Jess Trueblood (State High School Champ)
Delbert Peters (Elementary State Runner Up)
Koltlen Yellow Horse
THANK YOU, ONE SPIRIT FAMILY!