Imagine, if you will, the Socorro Rodeo & Sports Complex filled not with horses and riders, but wrestlers.
Many, many wrestlers.
“We have a big, gigantic national production coming to town,” said Joel Partridge, Socorro High School’s wrestling coach who also runs local youth programs.
Rocky Mountain Events is bringing its “Heroes Conquest” tournament to Socorro on Saturday, with about 700 wrestlers from 15 states expected to attend.
“The project started about six years ago,” Partridge said. “Rocky Mountain is a big wrestling organization out of Colorado, and I’ve gotten to know the owner, Ed Gutierrez and his wife.”
The Gutierrezes visited Socorro and checked out the rodeo arena as a suitable venue.
“We were approached by Joel Partridge to host an event here,” said Joshua Gutierrez of Rocky Mountain Events. “He has been super helpful in getting this accomplished. We typically choose destinations that have good local support.”
Partridge said he got the idea after seeing Farmington host a wrestling event in a rodeo arena there and thought the idea could work in Socorro.
“It’s been quite a journey,” Partridge said, adding the whole idea actually got a boost from the virus.
“Because of COVID taking place, more people were okay having outdoor events and in facilities that were not enclosed,” he said. “People were hesitant at first to do it.”
Partridge said he’s had some smaller wrestling tournaments in the arena just to check the logistics and it has worked out fine.
The arena will be covered with 16 wrestling mats, meaning 16 matches will be taking place at one time, Gutierrez said.
Wrestlers will be from kindergarten through highschool seniors and Partridge said he expects a number of local wrestlers will be participating, which is great for the city’s program.
“Our kids don’t have to travel and can sleep in their own beds,” he said, adding they will face some top-flight competition.
Socorro mayor Ravi Bhasker said bringing in the tournament is huge for the city.
“It’s a coup,” he said. “We have to give all the credit to Joel Partridge and (recreation/tourism director) James McNeil. It was their energy and contacts that got it done. They made this happen. It’s a big, big thing for us and this is a huge niche market.”
If there is any concern, Bhasker said, it’s that the city’s accommodations will not be able to handle the influx of people.
“We’re jumping in and seeing what happens,” he said. “They bring in a crowd. I went to go see one in Phoenix and it was huge.”
It is the type of event that should produce significant economic impact locally, Bhasker said
“It puts us on the map,” he said. “I don’t know of any other town that’s doing this. We’re sponsoring it and we put out a bunch of money and it’s exciting to see it happen.”
The idea, Partridge said, is to make this an annual event.
“Our hope is that we can continue to build it and have them continue to come down,” he said. “It brings more attention to our little town of Socorro.”
If you go:
Heroes Conquest wrestling tournament
Saturday, 9 a.m.
Socorro Rodeo & Sports Complex