Winter: Cowboy wrestlers need more home matches

Star Columnist

The high school wrestling season doesn’t seem long enough in Montana.

The regular season for Custer County District High School started Dec. 1 and ends Feb. 9-10 at the State Class A tournament in Billings.

All that’s left for the Cowboys is a tournament starting at 9 a.m. Saturday in Hardin, the Eastern A Divisional on Feb. 3 in Belgrade and the state tournament in Billings the following weekend.

One thing for certain that is needed is a better schedule for the Cowboys.

This season, including the postseason, includes 13 road trips and only two home events — the Cowboy Invitational and a double dual. Yes, the Cowboy Invitational on Jan. 12-13 was their first time at home. The duals were on Tuesday.

That, I would think, is a travesty of a schedule that needs to be corrected.

Activities director Dominick Vergara agrees, but first comes the improved product on the mats.

He pointed to last year’s finish at state and is happy with the improvement this season.

“Dead last,” Vergara said of the 2017 state Class A meet, where the Cowboys notched only 18.5 points. “It’s building this back up. We had so far to come.

“Of course we want more home meets and it’ll come in time. There’s been a lot of success and I’m happy with everything. We’re excited.”

He said the quality of the youth programs — junior high and AAU — will lead to a successful CCDHS varsity program.

“The youth program is very strong,” Vergara said. “That program is moving along great.”

He praised the coaching staff headed by Mike Etchemendy.

“He’s done a great job,” Vergara said. “That schedule was good for them. We have a lot of momentum. We’re getting that swagger back.”

That’s good news. Who doesn’t like to have swagger?



— CCDHS is seeking a head volleyball coach and two assistants in football. Activities director Dominick Vergara also needs two volunteer coaches for boys’ fifth-sixth grade basketball.


— The remaining CCDHS Senior Sports Night schedule consists of boys basketball and band being honored on Saturday, Feb. 3; and girls basketball, dance and cheer on Friday, Feb. 9.


— The Professional Bull Riding (PBR) tour, hopefully including Montana’s Jess Lockwood, moves on to Sacramento for the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic starting Friday through Sunday.

CBS will televise the 15/15 at 10 a.m. Sunday and CBSSN will show the championship round at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Next weekend the PBR will stay in California and compete in the Anaheim Invitational slated for Saturday and Sunday.

If you missed it earlier this week, the defending PBR champion Lockwood climbed to 11th in the overall standings with $16,330 in earnings through three of the 25 rodeos on the Unleash the Beast schedule.

(Contact Abe Winter at or 406-234-0450.)