Gillette will host the state’s largest martial arts event for the third straight year Saturday.
Competitors from Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and Colorado will be here for the Western Plains Open, which will be held in the Field House at the Campbell County Recreation Center.
The tournament is a Brazilian jiujitsu gi and no gi competition, which are grappling sports meant to use leverage and technique. Brazilian jiujitsu is purely grappling, which focuses on “submission holds, joint locks, choke holds, things like that, but no kicks, no strikes,” tournament coordinator Dan Stroup said.
The gi competitors, or those wearing the traditional martial arts uniform, will have some form of padding during the rounds, but the no gi is basically gym shorts and T-shirt. The tournament also is open to just about anyone with grappling experience.
The Western Plains Open will be host to competitors from ages 6 through nearly 50. The kids portion of the tournament will start at 9 a.m., followed by the adult at noon.
Stroup expects about 70 competitors this year, which is down from the average of about 90 the past two years, and for the event to be done by about 4 p.m. The public is welcome to watch with no admission and concessions on site.
Western Plains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a school that Miles Fortner opened through the Rec Center after returning to Gillette from getting his chiropractor’s license. It is one of two jiujitsu schools in the state that are in the Wyoming Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, which is a new organization that Stroup hopes will expand.
One of Stroup’s goals for the event is to raise awareness about the sport and get kids involved. He said it’s not only great self defense and a great lifestyle.
If anyone is interested in signing up for the tournament last minute, Stroup said he would be able to manually adjust the brackets until the end of the day Friday. Interested competitors can contact him at email@example.com