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New wrestling club offers opportunities to local kids

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

What started as John Turner teaching his godson, Bryce Turner, how to wrestle has grown into a new business venture in Trimble County.

With help from his wife, Suzy Sachleben Turner and Bryce’s dad, Chris Turner, John started a wrestling club for Trimble kids, ages 4 to fourth-grade in a converted garage behind his home on Hubbard Lane, Bedford.

 The club, now two years old, drew about 20 boys to the Turners’ eight-week Punishment Academy Wrestling Camp that started in the summer.

The young wrestlers were honored during an award ceremony at the end of camp on Thursday, Sept. 23.

The Turners believe wrestling teaches alot to participants, such as self-reliance, self-discipline, self-confidence, self-respect, respect for others, work ethic and sportsmanship, while providing an opportunity to improve strength, flexibility and coordination.

To help support the nonprofit wrestling club, the Turners are adding on the TNT (Turner and Turner) Gym that will be open to area residents who want to workout with weights and exercise equipment. Progress for the expansion is slow, as the work is being done by the Turners and volunteer labor, Chris said.

Much of the equipment has been donated, and includes a bench-press system and an elliptical machine for cardiac workout.

John said Ray Black, who runs the wrestling program at the Madison, Ind., Lide White Boys and Girls Club, is his mentor and has been offering the Turner team advice. He also donated used mats for the kids to wrestle on.

Suzy said she and John have been together since they were sophomores in high school, and has known about John’s “wrestlemania” all along.

“I love it; I’m addicted,” she said. “He has wrestled since he was in elementary school. ... I knew what we were getting into.”

The goal, she added, is to offer more oppportunity for kids who may not aspire to the more traditional sports offered in Trimble County.

“We have a great school system and youth leagues,” she said. “But any more opportunities we can get for these kids – that’s awesome.”

In January, when the wrestling club gets started again for 2011, John said they will extend membership to fifth- and sixth-graders, as well.

More information about Team Punishment Academy and TNT Fitness and Wrestling Club can be found online at PunishmentWrestling.com.