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A WRESTLING FRIENDSHIP THAT WILL NEVER DIE

 

by Jeff Olsen - Roseau Times

 

   There are no guarantees in life or in sports, and it makes a kid grow up faster - especially when a best buddy dies.

   That happened last August when Jon T. Dingwall Jr.,  a super kid, died in an ATV accident at age nine and left a huge void in everyone's life who knew the dynamic and personable boy.

   Jon Dingwall and Colbe Tappe had been workout partners and teammates in the West Central Area School District.

   When Jon died, Holly (nee Przekwas RHS Class of 2003) didn't know how her son would cope with his great loss.

   Colbe did it in a very special way.

   "Ever since that day, I find that Colbe writes the word 'JonStrong' on everything.  It's on all of his belongings and on anything he makes," she said, mentioning that Colbe has many stories about Jon, who would push him to be a better wrestler.

   "One thing I didn't find out until we left Ashby was that Jon liked being partners with Colbe because Jon was hard of hearing and Colbe knew the moves and if Jon was placing his hands wrong, Colbe would move Jon's hands to the right place and make sure that Jon understood and was doing the move correctly," she said, explaining Colbe never mentioned it.

   "Jon's parents, Jon and Kami, told us after we decided to move to Dawson," said Holly, who is forever impressed with the little lad.

   "Jon was competitive, and he hated losing more than he loved to win," she said.  "He always gave you one hundred percent, and he was the type of kid who was always happy and smiling. He was awesome!"

   That descriptive adjective certainly applies to Colbe, the son of Shane and Holly Tappe, who recently was honored with  Hall of Fam recognition for winning four national tournaments earlier this winter on the Midwest Wrestling Tour.

   Colbe, a fourth grader at Stevens Elementary School in Dawson and the grandson of Gary Przekwas, distinguished himself by winning the Hawkeye (Iowa), Badgerland (Wisconsin), Buffalo (South Dakota), and Gopher State (Minnesota) tournaments.

   Competing at 75 pounds, there were 32 or more competitors in his bracket from all over the country.

   Young Tappe, who had notched approximately 600 victories in his young career, was super motivated while earning (Midwest Wrestling Tour) Hall of Fame honors this winter.

   "Colbe wore a singlet with Jon's name on it to all the big tournaments that he wrestles to honor the memory of his wrestling companion" said Holly, "He now thinks that wearing that pink singlet in Jon's honor gives him the competitive edge - almost like Jon is with him.  It's emotional, it's sweet, and it's sad."

   Colbe isn't a big talker.  He does his talking out on the mat, and he knows that Jon Dingwall Jr. - JonStrong on his singlet - is in his spiritual corner.

   Colbe is a class act.

   "If you ask anyone who's wrestled him, he is always supportive and friendly," said Holly.  "Occasionally, Colbe gets upset after a match, but he's upset with himself.  He's always a good sport as far as shaking hands and hugging the other kid, and he's fine with going over and shaking hands with opposing coaches.  No, he doesn't like to lose.  He works really hard and he trains four nights a week during the winter."

   That's why he's a champion.

 

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