JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - More than 15 teams came together in Jackson, Missouri to participate in the 7th annual Parker King Memorial Tomahawk Challenge Sunday.
The wrestling event was at the Jackson High School with participants ranging from 5 years of age to 14 years old.
Hundreds gathered in the Jackson High School gymnasium whether they were participating, coaching or watching from the stands in support of the players.
We spoke with several participants who said wrestling is important for them to help them build character and set goals.
Whitney Hawkins is a member of the Jackson USA wresting team. She and her family just moved from Iowa recently where she was on an all girls wrestling team. She's been wrestling for four years now and said this is some good competition for her.
"It challenges me," Whitney said. "You try to pin them and you try to shoot and try to get behind them to get two points."
Another Jackson USA member is Kaden Shaw. He has been wrestling since he was five years old. He said wrestling is a great sport to be a part of and hopes to be able to compete in the collegiate level later down the road.
"It keeps me in shape and prepares me," Shaw said. "I hope that I can go all the way to college and it's just a fun sport that not many people can handle."
Wyatt Hawkins, another member of the Jackson USA squad, has been wrestling for more than 7 years since he started back when he was about 3 years old. He states wrestling can prepare you in the future in learning more about who you are and how you approach life's obstacles.
“It helps you become more independent,” Wyatt explained. “Not to have to depend on other people as it helps put stuff on you and not all your team because you’re the one doing all this work for you.”
We talked with the Jackson USA Wrestling coach Lance Schlick that said it's great to be able to coach these kids that want to build up their wrestling career.
"I know as a coach it's fulfilling for us," Schlick said. "We watch these kids basically just grow up with them going in at a young age and watch them develop into great wrestlers and great people."
The event is in memory of Parker King, a Jackson native who unfortunately lost his life in December of 2012 in an ATV accident.
"We want to honor Parker and bring everybody in to share the sport that he loved and to show of, not only our kids but every kid that wrestles in our tournament for all the hard work and dedication that they put into this tournament," Schlick said.
Schlick wanted to add that he appreciates all the support from the community to keep these tournaments going for wrestling and various other sports programs as well.
“The support for Jackson is phenomenal and we just bring everybody in that we can to share our love of the sport and for the love of youth programs, whether it be football, baseball, volleyball or whatever it might be.”