Making the dough to go

What it takes for the wrestlers to go to Vegas

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LAS VEGAS -- When the summer sun was beating down and the dust was choking him all day at the Yampa Valley Sport Riders Club, Cory Vigil wasn't thinking much about wrestling in the middle of winter.

"It was blazing hot," he said. "We'd been out there all day, and I was tired."

The Moffat County sophomore joined other wrestling teammates to help flag at the motocross race in July. It was one of several fundraisers the Bulldogs worked to earn money for the annual trip to Las Vegas.

"Now that I think about it, the time we put in was worth this trip," he said. "Especially for me because I hadn't flown before."

Moffat coach Roman Gut-ierrez had always envisioned giving his small-town wrestlers a chance to fly to a larger city during the season. Initially, the school's athletic directors didn't agree.

Ten years ago, his begging paid off, and he was given permission for the trip -- the only condition was that he and the team raise all the money.

The wrestlers already raised some money every year for camp scholarships and other equipment needs, but it didn't come close to meeting the amount needed to finance a trip, including airfare.

"At first, when they told me (I had to raise all the money) I thought, 'How in the heck am I going to raise all of that money?'" he said.

Raising money through a prime rib dinner was the first idea. Then Gutierrez's wife, Vicki, suggested an auction.

"At first I really didn't think an auction would be that successful," he said. "Then, the first auction we raised $4,500 in 45 minutes, and I changed my mind."

The team also sells turkey legs at Grand Old West Days in the spring and helps at the Twentymile Coal Company's annual employee picnic.

The wrestlers agreed that the most an individual is required to commit is about 20 to 30 hours to raise the money.

"It's well worth it," junior Brice Boling said. "Motocross isn't fun, but it helps get us here, and they pay us a little spending money too."

Gutierrez said his goal is to raise $12,000 to $15,000 every year.

"The community is great," he said. "I sell most of the tickets by going door to door at the businesses. I'll show up to a business and someone will ask, 'Is it the prime rib dinner or the auction this time?'"

The wrestlers serve the prime rib, and Gutierrez said he likes the set up because the community members get to meet the team.

As long as Gutierrez is coach, he said he hopes to take his team on a trip. He has other goals for future funds.

"Before I retire, I want to take them to California or Florida," he said. "I also want to put away some of the money for college scholarships for the guys."

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