Learn what real wrestling is about March 10, April 8

When you hear of wrestling, do you automatically get visions of Hulk Hogan or “The Rock” in your head? If so, there are two upcoming events that may help you erase those images and find out what the real sport of wrestling is about.

Friday, March 10, the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation State Championship Tournament comes to the MetroCentre for a weekend of amateur wrestling. The tournament begins at 7 a.m., Friday, and goes throughout the day. Wrestling action begins again Saturday at the same time. To be eligible for this tournament, entrants must be in eighth grade or younger, and live in Illinois.

If you happen to be older than eighth grade or don’t live in Illinois, and you still would like to take to the mats, don’t fret. Coming up Saturday, April 8, the Harlem Wrestling Club will hold its 21st Annual Old-Timer Wrestling Tournament at the Harlem High School Gymnasium. This tournament is open to all men or women who are at least 18 or older and are not currently a member of a college team. Weigh-ins begin at 6:30 a.m., and continue until 8 a.m. The first matches are scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

According to event organizer Kevin Daughtry, as many as 85 to 100 wrestlers and their families show up every year to compete. The wrestlers are divided into three age divisions. The junior division is for competitors younger than 30 as of April 8. The senior division is open to anyone 30 to 39 as of April 8. The Old-Timer division is for anyone 40 and older as of April 8.

The divisions are further broken down by weight class. The top three from each weight class in each division will receive Olympic-style medals. A trophy will be presented to the person recording the “Quickest Pin” and a plaque will be awarded to the “Oldest” wrestler. Even though the tournament is competitive, Daughtry said: “It’s all about the fun. We all have to go to work on Monday morning.”

If you’d like to see what real wrestling is all about, check out either of these two events. Or, if you’d like to take it one step further and participate in the Old-Timer Tournament, you can get more information by calling Daughtry at 815-389-8632. Remember, the Old-Timer tournament doesn’t take place until Saturday, April 8, so you have plenty of time to get in shape! Good luck!

Doug Halberstadt is a local resident and is track announcer at Rockford Speedway. He can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

From the March 1-7, 2006, issue

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