SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Thousands of young wrestlers and their families are in Sioux Falls. A Minnesota state wrestling tournament made its way across the border because South Dakota isn’t restricting crowds.
Thousands of fans are packing into the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center for the Minnesota Youth Wrestling Championships.
“It’s high level. It’s the best Minnesota has to offer at this age group,” NYWA President Corey Olson said.
Minnesota-based Northland Youth Wrestling Association organizes the tournament. President Corey Olson says Minnesotans are hungry for wrestling.
“We have 64 teams competing in the team part and it filled up in two hours,” Olson said.
“Since they decided to come here it was going to be just in the Arena and with the explosion of registrations they’ve added additional space into the convention hall as well,” PREMIER Center General Manager Mike Krewson said.
This year’s tournament features 2,100 participants. The event has been a staple in Rochester, Minnesota for more than two decades, but Olson made the move to Sioux Falls due to past COVID restrictions in his home state.
“I just found out yesterday the Governor of Minnesota allowed 3,000 people in a venue at one time, but they already missed the boat, so we came here and these people have been great to work with,” Olson said.
The three-day event will also provide a shot in the arm for the local economy.
“Timing couldn’t be better. We all know that communities are hurting right now from COVID, Sioux Falls is no different. We’re ecstatic to have our hotel rooms filling, restaurants getting business, you know they’re going to be out shopping,” Experience Sioux Falls Executive Director Teri Schmidt said.
This won’t be the organization’s lone trip to Sioux Falls. Olson is working on a regional event to feature wrestlers from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“We’ll still run our state tournament in Minnesota, but this has allowed us to be mobile. For 25 years we were in Rochester, now we’ve done it here and now we know how to be mobile, so we could move it around Minnesota and then do a bigger regional event here. This is a perfect location for that,” Olson said.
The Minnesota Youth Wrestling Championships run through Saturday. The event is open to the public. Daily admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids.