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Kewpies wrestler enjoys riding time

Sunday, January 23, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:20 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Rodeo and wrestling seem like drastically different sports. For Hickman's Zach Arnold they're his two passions.

Arnold, ranked third in state at 189 pounds by missouriwrestling.com, was second Saturday at the 12-team Hickman Tournament. He fell 4-2 to Jamie Luckett of St. Charles West.

Hickman was ninth with 99 1/2 points and Rock Bridge was 11th with 69 1/2. Seckman won with 224 1/2. Hickman brothers Tony Pescaglia (119 pounds) and K.C. Pescaglia (125) earned titles.

For now Arnold, a senior, is focusing on wrestling, but when the season ends he will leave the mat for rodeo.

"I can't (ride) bulls during wrestling season," Arnold said. "I can't afford to get hurt or anything. That wouldn't be good."

Arnold always enjoyed riding horses and attending rodeos with friends and during the summer Arnold started riding broncos.

"(Horseback riding is) one of my favorite things to do," Arnold said. "I'm pretty good at that and wrestlers have pretty good balance so I decided to give (rodeo) it a shot and I did. I covered my first horse and was like, 'hey I think I can stick with this'. It's definitely what I will be doing once the season is over."

Like wrestling, Arnold said he likes rodeo for its competitive spirit and the adrenaline rush. Arnold also likes the individuality of both sports.

"I tried football and basketball and baseball, but I'm a pretty competitive guy when it comes to sports and depending on other people to do something can be kind of a pain if they don't do it."

He also said both sports can be rewarding.

"They're both things that what you put into it is what you're going to get out of it," Arnold said. "Like with wrestling if you don't go to practice or go and slack off, you're going to wrestle just like you did at practice and not be very good. And the same thing goes with rodeo."

With his newfound passion and the wear and tear of years of wrestling, Arnold almost decided not to return to the wrestling team this season.

"I told my mom I would start the season out and if I didn't like it than I wasn't going to finish the season," Arnold said.

Turns out he liked it.

"You know your only in high school once and you can only do all of this stuff one time. I talked to a lot of people ... they said if I didn't do it than I would regret it later on down the road and that's something I didn't want to do."

His mother, Cathy Cox, said she's noticed Arnold placing less pressure on himself this season.

"Zach has a whole different attitude toward wrestling this year and he's having fun," Cox said. "I can tell it in his wrestling and in his attitude overall with school and his friends. He's enjoying it this year. If he wins great and if he doesn't its OK, too."

Arnold said he hopes to start participating in rodeos in March, but for now will continue doing what he does best.

"If I had to pick between pinning a guy and riding a bronco, I'd have to say pining a guy because I do a lot more of that," Arnold said. "But they're both pretty exciting."


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