Now going into its third year, the annual Bald and Fat Classic at Central York High School has grown in many ways.
By sheer numbers, the wrestling tournament for former prep and college wrestlers wanting to relive their glory days on the mat has gotten bigger. Perhaps, too, has the shape of some of the participants. But it's held for fun. Wrestlers who place in the top four in their respective weight classes get medals. And the proceeds from the event go to the Central York Youth Wrestling program.
The tournament has gained in popularity over the years, too. Last year's Classic featured former PIAA champions, former wrestlers who placed in the top eight at the PIAAs, former District 3 champions, a former NCAA runner-up and All-American and even a former two-time Virginia state prep champion.
All of those wrestlers are expected to return this Sunday in the third Bald and Fat tourney, held for wrestlers 19 and older. It used to be for wrestlers 25 and older, but the tournament has attracted so many participants of all ages that founder and director Joe Musti decided to expand the field.
"We have four (age) divisions this year. Last year we only had two," Musti said in an email. "Our youngest competitor is 19 and so far our oldest is 63. The weight brackets range from 140 (pounds) all the way up to 300-plus."
Musti has also been trying to expand the tournament by including current college wrestlers. For example, he has a full court press on trying to get Penn State coach Cael Sanderson and a handful of Nittany Lions wrestlers, such as New Oxford grad Jordan Conaway and Central York grad James English.
It's a long shot that any of them will participate. But expected to join the fray this year, among many new participants, will be an all-star team from Red Lion made up of former Lions' greats such as Brad Lloyd and former Red Lion coach and Penn State grappler Biff Walizer, according to Musti.
More than 300 participants are anticipated this Sunday.
"Typically the guys hold off as long as possible (to register for the tournament) to see if they can make the weight, make sure they don't get injured prior to the big day and try to convince the family that they are physically capable of wearing a singlet," Musti said.
The four age groups have funny nicknames as well. There's the group for ages 19 and up (Tommy Toughnuts), ages 25 to 35 (Past My Prime), ages 36 to 45 (Dead) and ages 46 and up (Fully Decomposed).
There are nine weight classes: 140, 150, 160, 170, 185, 200, 220, 250 and heavyweight.
The cost to participate in the tournament is $25. Participants must register online by noon Friday at baldandfatclassic.com. Payments can either be mailed or submitted in-person this Friday at weigh-ins at Central York High School from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each wrestler is guaranteed at least two matches. The tournament will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Admission for fans will be $5 for adults and $3 for students.
For information, visit baldandfatclassic.com or contact Musti at 817-3522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Reach John Walk at email@example.com.