The John Wayne Corcoran Wrestling Association held its seventh annual fundraising tournament at Rock Creek Park Jan. 14.
With 100 wrestlers registered and eager to get on the mats, the fundraiser was successful, helping to raise funds for the Dawson County rec team for the season.
“This is our only fundraiser of the year for the youth team and this funds our team - that and with help from the Dawson County park and rec,” said Tournament Director Bobbi Corcoran.
The association got its name from a young wrestler, John Wayne Corcoran, who died in October 2009 in a hunting accident. Shortly after John Wayne’s passing, the park and the community started up the youth wrestling team in his honor because of how much he loved wrestling.
“Every day when he’d come over here for his brother’s football practice he would tell the people at the park ‘When are we going to get wrestling? Why can’t we have wrestling here?’’ said his mother, Bobbi Corcoran.
Now, almost nine years later, Corcoran says his classmates come to the tournament every year to be a part of it.
The fundraising event relies completely on the volunteer efforts of the community. From running the rings, selling tickets and concessions and manning the hospitality room, everything during Sunday’s tournament was a labor of love for the youth team.
“A lot of people come because they love the family and a lot of people come because they love John Wayne,” said Corcoran. “There’s some people who just love wrestling.”
Wrestlers and coaches from the high school and middle school wrestling teams were happy to volunteer their time Sunday afternoon to help ensure the tournament was a success.
The event was a beginner’s tournament for first and second year wrestlers aged four to 14 and is done through Team GA Sports. Teams from all over the state came to wrestle, including: Forsyth Central High School, Chestatee War Eagles, Agoge Wrestling Club, North Hall Junior Trojans, River Ridge Junior Knights, Commerce and 706wrestling.