Ready, set, grapple

Youth wrestling gets under way in Craig

Billy Bingham knew what he was getting himself into when he began the Craig Bad Dogs youth wrestling program eight years ago. What he didn't know was how deep his desire for the sport of wrestling ran.

"I did it to take kids traveling and start them wrestling," Bingham said. "I just like being around the kids."

And with two of his own children participating, it's easy to see why he has the passion he does.

Bingham has turned the Bad Dogs program into one of elite stature, getting children from Craig, Meeker and Steamboat Springs to participate in tournaments around Colorado.

"I work the graveyard shift so I can coach," Bingham said.

With the traveling comes, nights in hotels, money spent on food and miles put on cars. But Bingham said the parents of his wrestlers have been nothing but great.

"I have the best parents," he said.

With 40 children in the program, Bingham said it was the most he could handle at once, and it helps to give them individual attention.

"The kids work really hard," Bingham said.

The eight-year program began a new era two years ago after separating from the Craig Youth Wrestling program.

Bingham took 27 children to a wrestling camp at Regis University in Denver, and said that year after year he has children that return to his program because of the success they have and how much fun it is.

Ryan Domson is one of those wrestlers. He has been participating in the program since he was six, and now a sixth grader at Craig Intermediate School, Domson is starting to see the results of his hard work pay off.

"It's fun, except the running," Domson said. "But I learned how to wrestle."

Domson, although young, wants to continue his wrestling career in high school and possibly beyond that.

Bingham said that about 60 percent of the wrestlers in his program are return participants.

And he also has a very longwaiting list.

The other coaches who volunteer with the program give Bingham some much needed relief.

The Bad Dogs practice twice a week at Moffat County High School and wrestle from October until June.

They participate in AAU and USA wrestling sanctioned events and, for the most part, have a high level of success, even against really big programs.

Up next for the Bad Dogs is a USA tournament in Eagle. The children weighed in Wednesday night and will wrestle Saturday.

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