Between matches at Thursday's first annual 'Pin Cancer' wrestling duel at Pioneer Field, the announcer reminded the crowd the reason for the event with a single request.
He asked anyone in the crowd who had been affected or known someone affected by cancer to stand. Nearly the entire crowd rose to be recognized.
The Leavenworth and Lansing High School wrestling programs teamed up for 'Pin Cancer,’ which pitted eight Lansing wrestlers against eight Leavenworth wrestlers in a take-downs only wrestling duel. Lansing ended up topping the Pioneers 5-3 to claim the first-ever 'Pin Cancer' title.
All proceeds of the event went to cancer research, and by the end of the night, 'Pin Cancer' had raised over $1600.
Leavenworth High School's Coordinator of Secondary Public Relations, Catey Edwards, played a key role in organizing the fundraiser. She said the event was planned with the two communities in mind under the banner of cancer research.
"We just really wanted to get the community to come together under an important cause," Edwards said. "Everybody's been touched by cancer in one way or another."
Pin Cancer is a national organization that puts on events across the country to raise funds and awareness toward cancer research.
Leavenworth's head wrestling coach, Jay Johnston, said he and Lansing head coach Nick Flynn put their heads together to make sure the event came to fruition.
"We tried to start it last year but it didn't quite fall into place," Johnston said. "I got with Nick earlier this summer, he thought it was great so we worked together and there it goes from there."
On top of the money raised for cancer research, Johnston said it was a great way to bring public awareness to both wrestling programs.
"It's a great showcase for the program," Johnston said. "You can pull a lot of people out (of the crowd) that don't know wrestling. ... We structured in just take-downs to where it's very fan-friendly, and hopefully it lets people know that both communities are working to help mold young men to do good things."
In addition to the wrestling duel, the 'Pin Cancer' event also staged sumo-wrestling matches between school administrators and any attendees willing to spend two extra dollars.
Johnston said with such a light atmosphere surrounding the rough sport, he had to remind his team before the event that the matches were not meant to be ultra-competitive.
"I have to talk them down a little bit," Johnston said. "They're so competitive and wrestling is wrestling to them. ... I kind of have to say, 'Hey, let's have fun too, we have three months of serious coming up in November so let this be a more fun event."
The fun atmosphere aside, Lansing senior wrestler Sky Summers said the event was a good opportunity to show the two communities where the teams' priorities lie.
"It lets the community understand how much we actually care," Summers said. "And how united we are as a team and together."
Though this was the first-ever 'Pin Cancer' event hosted by Lansing and Leavenworth, Johnston said to expect the event to become a yearly tradition between the two schools.