COLUMBIA — When 39-year-old Brooks Travis stepped off the wrestling mat at the first Alumni Black & Gold exhibition, he was quickly met by his two sons, Teague and Brett.
"You almost had him, Dad," one of them said.
Missouri wrestling's first dual of the season
Who: North Dakota State
When: Friday, Nov. 1
Where: Fargo, N.D.
Travis was one of 13 former Missouri wrestlers to compete against the current wrestling team on Saturday at the Hearnes Center. Now a chiropractor at Lordex Spine Center in Columbia, Travis hadn't been on a wrestling mat in years prior to wrestling redshirt freshman Cole Baumgartner. He lost 7-3, and said that he wouldn't be competing in the event next year.
"It's fun, but I think I'm done," Travis said. "I'll wrestle my kids. It's a lot easier."
Coach Brian Smith came up with the idea to have the current wrestling team face off against past wrestlers at the wedding of former wrestler Joey Garrity.
"I was sitting around when our guys were jokingly trash talking over who would win this and that, and I thought 'Why don't we wrestle for it?'" Smith said.
He decided it would be an informal competition, with the matches abbreviated down to one minute periods. The alumni won the competition with eight wrestlers earning victories.
Senior 157-pound Kyle Bradley was one of the few current Tigers to win, scoring a 9-2 victory over Andrew Sherry. He thought the competition was enjoyable for everyone.
"The whole event is fun," Bradleysaid. " Some of those guys were teammates, others were guys we looked up to. Now we get to come out and wrestle them."
The coaching staff had the chance to get involved with volunteer assistant coach Nick Marable and wrestling team captain Johnny Eblen. The match was tied 1-1 after four periods, so the referee opted to let the crowd's applause dictate who the winner was. The fans chose Eblen.
"A lot of us are trying to get a bigger fan base for the wrestling team," Marable said. "It was a fun little thing to wrestle the young guys."
Marable joked that the match was fixed.
"I think it was fixed. He paid the fans," Marable said.
Smith said after the event that the alumni would be back next year to continue the tradition.
"I think the fans liked it and our guys enjoyed it," he said. We get plenty of practice up in the practice room, so it's fun to get out on the floor."
The Tigers' first dual of the season is on Friday when they travel to Fargo, N.D., to wrestle North Dakota State.