Despite Fewer Teams, “Rumble on the Red” Still Thrives

The tournament lost more than 30 teams as a result of this week's blizzard

FARGO, N.D. — In the days leading up to the “Rumble on the Red” wrestling tournament, Steve Saxlund kept his eyes glued to the weather forecast.

“You’re making a decision based on how these teams are going to travel, and they’d have to make a decision on how they’re getting here. Are they going to be here Friday morning, or could we delay it until Friday afternoon, which ultimately is what we did,” said Saxlund, the organizer for “Rumble on the Red”.

Before Mother Nature left her mark on the metro, there were 88 teams from across the region set to compete in the Fargodome.

However, more than thirty squads saw the weather in Fargo, and decided to stay put.

“For a lot of schools, the bus companies made the decisions for them, saying we’re not traveling Thursday or Friday morning, so the ones that couldn’t get a bus or get transportation were most of the ones that said they were not coming,” Saxlund said.

However, for one small school in southeastern Minnesota, getting the chance to compete in Fargo was worth the six–hour trek through the snow.

“We knew did not want to miss this tournament. On Friday morning, we hit the road at 5:00 in the morning, and yeah, we ran into some rough roads, some bus trouble, stuff like that, but you know when you got a bus full of kids that want to compete, that was our goal, to get them here and on the mat,” said Mike Mathison, the Head Coach of the wrestling team at Saint James High School.

By the time the tournament began, several coaches said driving through the snow was worth the risk to have their wrestlers compete.

“The level of competition is second to none, so if you place in this tournament, you’re pretty tough,” said Davis Kosen, the Head Coach of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (DGF)’s wrestling team.

Some were just grateful to be able to compete far from home.

“Everybody found success from our team, always well worth the trip,” Mathison said.

Despite the last–minute changes, Saxlund says he’s glad the tournament has run smoothly.

“We know it’s gotta get done, you just gotta make sure everyone’s in the right place and here’s what we’re doing, so it’s pretty much business as usual,” Saxlund said.

55 high schools from across the region competed in this year’s tournament.

Perham took home this year’s championship, followed by Apple Valley and Bismarck High School.

The Yellowjackets received a trophy as well as a “Rumble on the Red’ championship belt.

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