SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls Arena is set to host a national youth wrestling event on Saturday.
The Wild West Championships had a home in Wyoming prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With Wyoming being shut down we moved it to Sioux Falls, a place where we’ve wanted to come to for quite a few years, 15 to be exact,” RMN Events CEO Ed Gutierrez said.
“Sioux Falls definitely has the name out in the sports community and the convention community as a place to come to because we know how to do it and the community rolls out the red carpet and that’s what planners are looking for,” Experience Sioux Falls Executive Director Teri Schmidt said.
Rocky Mountain Nationals Events is organizing the single-day tournament. 750 wrestlers from more than 20 states will participate and it’s all come together in less than four weeks.
“It’s almost like transplanting a tree. You don’t know if it’s going to stay healthy or continue to grow and we were just happy to transplant it, almost the last minute, and still have a very reasonable and respectable number that a lot of kids will get some good competition here,” Gutierrez said.
RMN Events in the largest youth wrestling series in the country and offers participants an opportunity to bring home a belt.
“Most of the time a person would have to go inside a cage and get kind of rearranged in the face a little bit to get a belt like that,” Gutierrez said. “Very unique, they’re heavy, custom made, and they really love them,” Gutierrez added.
Kids, ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, win the belts, but the city will earn a much-needed victory.
“Restaurants, hotels, shopping, buying gas, these are things that we’ve been missing for the past several months due to COVID, so this is a real happy weekend in Sioux Falls,” Schmidt said.
And this won’t be RMN Events’ one and only trip to Sioux Falls.
“We’re in for some good things in the future with Sioux Falls,” Gutierrez said.
Opening ceremonies begin Saturday morning at 9:00, with the tournament to follow. There are no restrictions on the number of fans allowed at the event, but COVID-19 protocols are in place and masks are required.