Austin Roper and Cody Hummer are bringing wrestling outside.
Cooler air and a sandy beach in the offseason will replace the hot, sweaty gyms of wrestling season on August 19, when Roper and Hummer host the Midwest Beach Wrestling Nationals at the Lake of the Ozarks.
“We see it as the perfect of blend of competition and recreation,” Hummer said. “Current and former wrestlers, or anyone who would just like to have that competition rush and have some fun, should come compete and have a great time doing it.”
The idea for a beach-wrestling tournament began when Roper decided he wanted to try wrestling in the sand. He traveled to North Carolina in May and competed in the National Beach Wrestling tournament – and qualified for the U.S. World Team. He’ll compete in Turkey on October 13-15, and in the meantime, he and Hummer hope to bring the style of beach wrestling to athletes in the Midwest.
“The biggest things I took away from the national tournament was the simplicity and the recreational aspect,” Roper said. “There were high level guys there, but it was really simple as far rules go. There were a lot of people watching, and they understood the rules pretty fast. That made it really fun.”
The objective in beach wrestling is to be the first to three points, or have the highest score after three minutes. Grapplers can score one point for pushing his or her opponent out of bounds, one point for a takedown and two points for moving feet to back. Action is stopped after each score, and both wrestlers are brought back to their feet.
Roper and Hummer hope the straightforward features of the tournament will attract fans that might not understand the rules of regular wrestling. Their goal is to bring a social aspect to a competition atmosphere in hopes of bringing the wrestling community together.
“There’s always wrestling competition out there, but what our event has is the social aspect,” Hummer said. “And it’s going to be a lot of fun. Even if people don’t want to compete, they can still come and support.”
- Register online for $39. It will be $10 more to register at the door.
- Girls, boys, women and men are all encouraged to compete.
- Everything from age divisions, to weight classes, to what to wear can be found here.
- Be one of the first 100 people to register before August 1 to get your own Midwest Beach Wrestling Nationals T-shirt.
The day will be filled with family-friendly events for wrestlers and fans. Held at Shady Gators, the competition kicks off at 11 a.m. and will go until winners are crowned. An after party at Shady Gators will follow the tournament, complete with live music and entertainment from DJ Longer Days, who is based out of Kansas City.
Roper and Hummer have been advocates of wrestling for a long time. Both were three-time state champions in high school – Roper at Kirksville and Hummer at Savannah – and both went on to wrestle at Missouri for a few years. Roper is now in the fitness industry running an online training business while looking for a school to finish his year of eligibility and pursue a master’s degree. Hummer is now finishing his collegiate career at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.
The duo has a passion for the sport and wants the wrestling family to grow in new and different ways. Roper and Hummer hope wrestling on sandy beaches in the middle of August can do that.
“It’s very different, so it instantly catches people’s attention,” Roper said. “That’s what makes this event unique, and hopefully we can do it year after year.”