Nine Cochrane Cowboys had a chance to limber up for the season at the Golden Bear Takedown, last weekend at the University of Alberta.
The warmup event was the unofficial start to a season that now goes full bore with this weekend's Wetaskiwin Classic, explains Mike LaBelle, of the Cowboys.
"They've had a chance for a bit of practice, but this was an opportunity to shake off the rust."
Participating were: elementary wrestlers, Jack Edwards, Nolan Maguire, and Kayel LaBelle; junior high wrestlers, Grace Toner, Brendan Maguire, Nicholas Hooper, and Danyka LaBelle; and high school wrestler Jaityn LaBelle and Keith Dostaler.
The charge was lead by second-year Cowboy Jack Edwards, who competed in five full-length matches. He was regarded as the hardest working cowboy on the day.
Coach Curtis Hooper said it was a great start for the kids. Some have just moved up to either junior or senior high school level, and the new competition is welcomed.
"The team is only a couple weeks into the season, and you can see how much fun they are having on the mats," he says.
There's a new generation of wrestling rising into the club's older age groups to make their marks for the well-respected Cowboys organization. Over the years, the Cowboys have produced many top-level post-secondary athletes, like Connor Pointen, Grace Chambers, Hunter Smith, and the McKeage, McNeice and Springer brothers.
New feathers have been added to their cap by having nine wrestlers represent Alberta at the Western Canada Games last summer.
"It was pretty exciting for the whole organization," says LaBelle. "The Cochrane Cowboys have been well represented at every level, and I'd like to think they're just trying to keep it up."
In December, the club is hosting the tryouts for zone tryouts for the Alberta Winter Games being held in Airdrie in February. The Cowboys were well represented on the mats in the 2018 winter games.