The 7th Annual Camp Barnes Wrestling Classic was held Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, at Indian River High School in Dagsboro. Families from Delaware and several surrounding states came for the opportunity to compete.
The Delaware State Police host the annual event. Some experienced wrestlers were on hand and some competed for the first time. There were 302 participants from the Mid-Atlantic region, which included Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The wrestlers who participated in the event ranged from 4 to 14 years old.
The proceeds from the event go toward Camp Barnes, a nonprofit organization operated by the Delaware State Police, which is located near Bethany Beach. During the summer months, Camp Barnes hosts approximately 360 children from up and down the First State. The camp is offered to kids 10 to 13 and is a free week-long adventurous retreat.
The overnight summer camp features traditional camp activities and opportunities for attendees to enjoy recreational and camp-type activities, including swimming, kayaking, archery, crafts, fishing, crabbing, canoeing and playing team sports. They demonstrate their skills at a weekly talent show and hang out with representatives from the Delaware State Police, the State Division of Fish & Wildlife, the Delaware Attorney General's Office and the Girl Scouts of America.
MCpl. John Messick, event coordinator, said, “I feel really passionate about this event and how it helps the kids of Delaware build life skills to be good citizens. This initiative also helps children throughout Delaware, who may not have a chance to attend a camp, to be selected for Camp Barnes
“I see this as a win-win for youth and parents in many states, but especially for the First State. This is absolutely a great community outreach program for the Delaware State Police. This essentially provides a platform for kids to participate in the sport of wrestling and helps establish lifelong friendships during the winter break.”
Benjamin Chorlton, 8, said, “I like the tournament because my dad is a trooper and it's an amazing fundraiser for Camp Barnes. It feels good to help others and raise money for other kids that can go to camp. I like the tough competition from other surrounding states.”
MCpl. Dave Chorlton, his father, said, “I would like to thank all of the committee members, volunteers and parents especially Capt. Rodney Layfield and MCpl. John Messick for putting together a top-notch wrestling tournament. This well-organized event allows wrestlers to compete with children from other states, versus wrestling those just in the same state. All of the wrestlers develop both wrestling and life skills, which goes well beyond the tournament. Congratulations to all of the wrestlers for a job well done!”
Jack Callaway, 7, said, “I like wrestling at the Camp Barnes tournament because there is great competition, I'm wrestling for a good cause and representing my DSP family.”
The committee members who have worked on the event since launching the wrestling tournament include: Capt. Rodney Layfield, Lt. Gerald Windish, MCpl. John Messick, MCpl. Shawn Hatfield, MCpl. Jeff Hudson, MCpl. Rex Mears, MCpl. Fred Chambers, Senior Cpl. Anthony Andrews and Laurel Police Chief Dan Wright (a retired DSP trooper).
The Delaware State Police Honor Guard, commanded by Capt. Jason Sapp, presented the colors to begin the event. The national anthem was performed by Adria Windish, daughter of Lt. Gerald Windish and Lynn Windish.
“There are also a host of generous volunteers, sponsors and parents that help with this event and without their assistance, the success of this event wouldn't be possible,” MCpl. Chorlton said.”
The sponsors include the Delaware State Troopers Association, Harvard Business Services Inc. and JD Shuckers restaurant. “The Delaware State Police thanks everyone who helped make this outreach event and wrestling tournament a tremendous success!”
Plans are currently under way for the 8th Annual Camp Barnes Wrestling Tournament, which is expected to be held during the holiday break in December 2019. Information and registration for that event will be released in October 2019. For more information about Camp Barnes, visit https://dsp.delaware.gov/camp-barnes/.