As reported by Track Wrestling, USA Wrestling's contract to hold their large summer event will soon expire. Fargo, North Dakota has been the home since 1996 of USA Wrestling's Cadet & Junior Nationals.
USA Wrestling director of national events Pete Isais told Trackwrestling that his organization is in the process of exploring options for the tournament for 2018 and beyond. Uprooting the event from its longtime host city and moving it to Kentucky has at least been a discussion point.
North Dakota State University has played host to the event since 1996 when the Cadet and Junior tournaments merged, but USA Wrestling’s existing contract with the school expires next year.
“Typically, throughout the next six to eight months we’ll work on renegotiating,” Isais said. “Also, we’re in the midst of just talking to Louisville to see if it’s something that might be a benefit to USA Wrestling to move it to Louisville just based on contract negotiations and finances.”
Isais said USA Wrestling remains in “the process of evaluating, but I think the appeal of Louisville is the central location with the drive-ability of more of our states.”
Of course, this could possibly just be a negotiation tactic to get a better deal from Fargo.
This will not be a well-received idea among many wrestling enthusiasts. I love tradition and Fargo holds a place in the hearts of many wrestling fans. They know the roads, restaurants, stadium, and think of Fargo more like an old hometown.
However, Fargo is less than an ideal location. From a sheer business standpoint, getting the most wrestlers to tournaments is the goal of USA Wrestling. North Dakota has a population of just 700,000. It's in an area that is a very (9 hours from Chicago even) long road trip for most of the country, which does in all likelihood deter competitors.
I do believe, especially in Women's & Greco that the US has a geography problem compared to many other countries. Our population is so spread out, that the number of competitors is probably not an issue (although of course the more the better). The larger challenge is getting them together and getting more matches. Moving tournaments to better locations should be a top priority as more competition, more experience, and more wrestlers mean more medals. Moving Fargo and the US Open should happen.