Jace Hedman has been wrestling most of his life
“Probably about six or seven years,” the 11 year-old from La Porte City said on Saturday.
However, he’d never wrestled like this.
“You’re outside. You don’t usually do that,” said Hedman, “Kids are scared to be hot on the mat.”
That’s for good reason. The temperatures reached 90-plus degrees for the first Brawlin’ on the Bricks wrestling meet on Main Street in La Porte City. The event was created by Union wrestling coach Bart Mehlert and Mike Smith of the Knights wrestling club to boost attendance for the Festival of Trails.
“The Lions club asked us if we had an idea to get people on Main Street,” said Mehlert, “and I said, put wrestling mats down.”
The idea worked. Sixty wrestlers from Kindergarten to 12th grade hit the mats in front of numerous spectators.
“We advertised at every tournament and every camp we’ve been to,” said Mehlert, “Yeah, I’m pleased with the turnout.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Knox Blocks and Sing Me to Heaven foundations, while the event itself was designed to promote the sport of wrestling, even in the high temperatures.
“The mats are plenty warm, so I guess my tip was to them, just don’t get taken down,” Mehlert joked.
Jace Hedman knows what it takes.
“Have guts, be strong. You can’t be scared.”