Plainview wrestling holds inaugural camp with help of former Wyoming grappler Montorie Bridges

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Montorie Bridges looks on as two grapplers square off during a drill at the inaugural Plainview wrestling camp.

Sometimes life creates a coincidence without either person planning for it to happen.

That was the case for Montorie Bridges as the former University of Wyoming grappler helped run Plainview High School’s inaugural wrestling camp within weeks of Cowboys assistant coach Teyon Ware also making the trek to Ardmore.

Ware spoke to area athletes during the Best of the Arbuckles Preps banquet on May 25, while Bridges was in town for the three-day camp from June 7-9.

“Just the way it works out is funny,” Bridges said. “We’re both from Oklahoma, we were both at Wyoming for a period and we end up coming to Ardmore within weeks of each other.”

Montorie Bridges, left, looks on as Plainview wresting coach Keilan Torres gives instruction before a drill.

That Oklahoma connection has a lot to do with the pair deciding to make the long journey to help mentor athletes. And while the Indians wrestling camp featured a number of younger grapplers, the focus was on their future.

“It doesn’t have to be Division I or II, it can be whatever — just getting to that next step in life,” Bridges said. “A lot of people wrestle high school and do something else. Just giving them that opportunity to see that there’s opportunities outside of your hometown. And to be able to go off for a little bit and get those new experiences.

“I didn’t think I would learn much in Wyoming,” Bridges continued. “But I grew more as a wrestler and I grew as a person. I got to see different perspectives of life. That’s what it’s all about in life. I wish I could tell these kids how important it is to go out and see other things. Especially being from a smaller town. Sometimes you want to say home. Altus and Ardmore will always be there. Go out and see. Go to Oklahoma City, Tulsa or Stillwater for four or five years. Take your opportunities where they are, but if you have the opportunity to go somewhere else, go ahead and do it because it’s something that you can add to your list.”

Ware also shares that same mentality as he helps Wyoming wrestling make a name for itself. And he knows the best way to do that is to send athletes to other schools, so they can share their knowledge and experiences.

“We’re branching out, so our guys can get to different parts or places they haven’t seen,” Ware said. “They’re getting out there doing camps and influencing kids. And opening up kids’ minds to ‘OU and OSU aren’t the only places I can go. I can do the pain of discipline and go outside my comfort zone to go be successful elsewhere. I might be away from mom and dad, but sometimes that’s part of the good thing of becoming a grown man or woman — getting out of your comfort zone.’ That’s why I’m excited that my guys get to work with guys like that, take advantage of that and be an influence on people.”

That passion is also apparent in Bridges, as he took joy in bringing his knowledge to an area that may not have the same options as larger cities.  

“This is a small town, relatively small from other places in Oklahoma — Oklahoma City and Tulsa,” Bridges said. “Those kids have the resources to find coaches, find people to wrestle with. But being able to come back and give some technique to these kids is something you can’t beat. It’s something that I wouldn’t give up. It’s fun to be able to see the kids that are in the same position that I was — the same type of area. And to be able to give them a little bit of knowledge that I have. All of that pays off in the end.”