Taking third place out of around 300 in an international wrestling tournament is pretty exciting, but for Rocky Mountain High School junior Dakota “Shay” Bond, that was only part of the adventure.
His journey began in early June with a trip to the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie, where he got to see the stadium for the first time. He said it was a lot bigger than he expected and he enjoyed the opportunity he was afforded during that visit to work with the college level athletes who helped him train for the Vil Tegel Wrestling Tournament in Berlin, Germany.
Bond, who has been wrestling since he was only 7 years old, was one of 15 high school aged wrestlers in the state to qualify for the tournament in Germany through the U.S.A. Wrestling program.
Bond, who had never even been on an airplane before, raised the money for his trip by selling more than 200 raffle tickets. One of those tickets won Lee Espinoza of Powell $1,000. Bond said he is grateful to all of the people who bought tickets from him, making this weeklong trip of a lifetime possible.
Bond boarded a plane to New York City with fellow athletes for the first leg of his trip to Europe, which lasted about three hours. The group then boarded an international jet for an eight-hour journey to Berlin.
He said he was very impressed with the size of Berlin and the differences between the uncrowded streets of a small Wyoming town and the bustle of a major European city like Berlin. He said he was astounded by the amount of graffiti he saw on buildings.
His team won an award for traveling the furthest and also one for being the largest team to attend the tournament. They also placed third as a team in the tourney. He said he was proud to represent Wyoming and the U.S.A.
While in Berlin, Bond wrestled in what would be the equivalent of the 155-pound class in the U.S. He also got to train with teams from other countries.
He said it was a bit odd to wrestle against an opponent who spoke a different language. He said the wrestlers in Europe seemed to have a different style, which was more flat-footed than the wrestlers in the U.S. He thought that gave his team an advantage. Other than that, he said the tournament was similar to tournaments he had been to in the U.S. sponsored by U.S.A. Wrestling.
While in Berlin, he and his teammates were given a grand tour of the sights. He saw castles and villas, took a boat tour and also got to see some historic sights like a concentration camp, where the Berlin Wall once stood and the infamous “checkpoint Charlie.” He said he was overwhelmed with emotion seeing some of the historical sights first hand that he had only read about in history books.
Bond said he enjoys being active in sports and also plays football and basketball. He said he likes the individual nature of wrestling and also the fact that things can change in an instant during a match. He said he has wrestled every year in high school and plans to wrestle on the Rocky team again this year, as a junior.
Bond is the son of Joe and Tammy Bond. The family resides in Cowley.
By Patti Carpenter