FORT PAYNE — DeKalb County Schools Coliseum is set to host an event fit for gladiators. 

The Billy Colburn Ultimate Warrior Classic, a youth wrestling tournament, will be Saturday, Dec. 7 at DeKalb County Schools Coliseum in Rainsville.

The tournament features five divisions and is named in honor of former Fort Payne wrestling coach Billy Colburn for his contributions during a 16-year stretch as the school.

“We wanted to honor coach Colburn for his influence on the sport and on the lives of so many in this area,” tournament director Beau Wilson said.

More than 400 wrestlers are expected to participate, Wilson said. The tournament will be run using the Trackwrestling website and all matches will be live streamed at Matches can be found by visiting the website and searching for “Ultimate Warrior Classic.”

Wilson said putting together an event of this size required a lot of coordination and logistics, however the Alabama Youth Wrestling Organization helped streamline the process. The AYWO assisted with event insurance and awards for the event. 

The biggest obstacle was finding a proper venue in DeKalb County. The DCSC turned out to be the perfect spot with perfect availability.

The tournament will be using six mats. Each mat will have a table with a minimum of two people working each table for the whole day. A hospitality room for coaches, referees and workers will be available.

Fort Payne High School will play a major role in volunteering to keep things running smoothly, Wilson said. Fort Payne’s varsity wrestling team and key club have pledged to help. 

Wilson hopes the event will have a positive influence on growing the sport in DeKalb County, as Fort Payne is the only school in the county with a wrestling program.

“We would like to see that change,” Wilson said. “In wrestling, the only way to get better is to find new and better competition. The best way to find new competition is to create more. 

“In the past few years there has been a push to grow the sport of wrestling. Wrestling is also one of the leading emerging sports for women. We all want to see the sport grow, especially locally. We hope that by holding this tournament people will get to see and learn to love the sport as we have.”

Ben Wanagat, tournament operations director, said the intent is to get wrestlers and parents in and out in 2 ½-3 hours.  

His message to those attending: be patient.

“The more wrestlers we have competing, the longer these times can get. So sit back and enjoy the wrestling.”

Here’s  a look at the divisions and Saturday’s wrestling schedule:

The tot division is for wrestlers born between Jan. 1, 2013-Dec. 31, 2015. Weight classes include 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 55-plus, and matches run from 9-11:45 a.m.  

The bantam division is for wrestlers born between Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2012. Weight classes include the following weights: 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 90 and 95-plus. Matches are from 9-11:45 a.m.

Wrestlers born between Jan. 1, 2009-Dec. 31, 2010 will be in the midget division. The following weight classes are included: 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 103, 112, 120, 130 and 130-plus. Weigh-in is from 10:30-11:30 a.m. and matches are from 12:15-3 p.m.

The novice division is for wrestlers born between Jan. 1, 2007-Dec. 31, 2008. The following weight classes are included: 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 112, 120, 130, 140 and 140-plus. Weigh-in is from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and matches start at 3:15 p.m.

Wrestlers born between Jan. 1, 2005-Dec. 31, 2006 will compete in the schoolboy division. Weight classes include: 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 150, 160, 171, 189, 220 and 220-plus.

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