top of page

Recapping the 2024 RPAC Wrestling and Basketball Tournament

From January 19th to January 27th, we were running around like crazy. With the RPAC Wrestling Tournament on the 19th and then the basketball tournament starting on the 20th. It was busy. It was busy not just for us but for families with kids competing in both. Also, the schools and many others who were involved in these tournaments were quite busy.

The main premise of this post is to recap a variety of items from this year's conference tournaments. From the action on the court and the mat to the hospitality rooms in which we partook some fantastic food, we had an excellent week and wanted to share our thoughts.

RPAC Wrestling Wrestling Tournament

Let's start with wrestling. Full disclosure, my wife and I don't have much experience covering wrestling. So last year and this year we were trying to learn more about it. It intrigues me a ton. The strategy, the mental toughness, and the coaching. It's really neat. So it has been a blast to learn it. I am appreciative that Colby Gardine at Bertrand and also Dexter Becker at Southern Valley allowed us to come to catch practice for some coverage. Those were learning opportunities too.

Coach Catlin Rice in Cambridge has said we are welcome to come learn and watch at their practices too, which we will take advantage of. We are so appreciative of that. We want to provide coverage the best we can and information is powerful.

The RPAC Wrestling Tournament was a different experience for me. Super enjoyable, a lot of hard work, but very cool. I captured video and results, and my wife was back home helping post results so it was a two-person operation and we would not have been able to pull it off without teamwork.

I also want to give a huge shout-out to the Athletic Department at Dundy County Stratton. Rochelle Craft and Tim Rettle. They hooked us up with a sweet spot, where I could spread out my stuff, record footage, and shoot photos, sometimes at the same time, on both mats. It was awesome. Can't thank you enough.

The food that was put together in the hospitality room was great as well. I didn't take in the main dish so I'm not sure what that was, but the fruits, snacks, and sweets were perfect while I worked away.

It was a fun atmosphere in Benkleman. Loud gym, hard coaching, and great competitive spirit. We look forward to learning more about wrestling and improving our coverage within that sport.

RPAC Basketball Tournament

From Saturday, January 20th to Saturday, January 27th the Republican Plains Activities Conference Basketball Tournament took place. And it was fantastic as always. Here at the RPAC Rundown, we thoroughly enjoy a challenge. And covering this tournament is a challenge. It's a widespread conference with games six of those days. And depending on your seeding, you're playing a lot of hoops on a short turnaround, if you win your way through the bracket. And even as a top seed and winning, your preparation and recovery time has to be quick too. That's just part of the conference tournament.

The Crowds

I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowds that we saw. Sometimes those initial games on Saturday and the consolation games, you don't get great crowds for a variety of reasons. Whether it is the time of the game, the streaming services that are now available, radio, etc. sometimes these events don't have great crowds throughout the week. Kudos to the fans, it was awesome to see gyms full of folks all week.


We also noticed sportsmanship being on display too. There was a lot of fierce competition. Especially later in the tournament, but at the end of the games, the sportsmanship was on display. There's nothing wrong with competing hard for 32 minutes and then afterward showing admiration for your counterpart. I have always enjoyed seeing kids have respect for their opponents. We saw a lot of that.

Excellent Coaching

Coaching ain't easy. We often critique coaches after the games for what they should have done differently. Yeah, that's easy after the fact. And another shoutout to all of the coaches, THANK YOU for texting and emailing us stats throughout the tournament. And not just the tournament but all season. It is so helpful in highlighting your teams. We can't describe how much fun it has been to get to know you better too. We are big on relationships.

The Atmosphere

If you were at Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night's games, you know what I am talking about. Electric atmospheres. Crowds fully engaged, and loud! My watch kept telling me, "90 decibels, too long in this environment could cause temporary hearing issues." What my watch doesn't know is that it's worth it. We get chills when we are in an environment like that. It's special.

The Travel

How we elected to handle the coverage this year was I (Evan) would handle the West side and my wife Kenzie and her sidekick Indie would go to the East. It worked well we felt. It was humourous how many times I was asked "Where's your wife and daughter?" We normally are together. That's why we love running this business. We get to spend a ton of time together which is awesome.

The travel was quite a bit but nothing crazy. I went to Wallace Saturday, Maxwell Monday and Tuesday, Trenton Thursday and Friday, and McCook Saturday. For Kenzie it was Medicine Valley on Saturday, Bertrand Monday and Tuesday, Arapahoe Thursday and Friday, and McCook on Saturday. In total, it was approximately a total of 1,200 miles. If you throw in the wrestling tournament, roughly 1,500 miles that week. Worth it and we had a lot of fun. I powered through a ton of podcasts, mostly about basketball, and based on the experts I have listened to, I can run an NBA Franchise now I think.


I couldn't write this blog post without discussing some of the hospitality we received. We are so grateful for the warm welcomes we receive when we provide on-site coverage. But during the conference tournament, there were hospitality rooms. These are so nice when we are working at a location for several hours to get a really solid meal.

For me on Saturday in Wallace, they set the tone. Chili and cinnamon rolls on day one, which was a cold, cold day. Kenzie enjoyed pulled pork and walking tacos at Medicine Valley on the first day. Great options.

In Maxwell on Monday and Tuesday, they had stellar options. On Monday, we had a chicken dish and alfredo. Tuesday though, my goodness. Chicken fajitas and enchiladas. It was top-notch stuff. While in Bertrand on Monday and Tuesday, Kenzie had pulled pork again on Monday, and then on Tuesday she was spoiled with brisket. Bertrand wasn't messing around.

Kenzie rounded out games at the schools on Thursday and Friday in Arapahoe with meatball subs and chili and cinnamon rolls. Great meals she said on both fronts. Hitchcock County hooked me up with a meal ticket for the concession stand. That was greatly appreciated too.

McCook Community College treated us to pulled pork and some of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. Behind my wife's of course.

We sincerely appreciate the hospitality received at all of the schools. It does not go unnoticed. The kind words, and asking if we need help is always appreciated.

Our Advertisers

We also wanted to thank the businesses that advertised and sponsored the content we put out there during the tournament. As you know, we wouldn't be able to do it without you. To have you believe in what were are doing and to make us part of your marketing team means a lot to us. So thank you again.

Final Remarks

Stop me if you've heard this before. We love what we do. So many hours. A lot of late nights, early mornings, and odd working times. But we knew what we signed up for when we decided to go full-time with this and cover high school athletics. And we are not perfect. We have so much to work on and build upon. But, you are getting our effort. We take this very seriously and are excited to grow. I've covered collegiate athletics. I have been in some unique atmospheres covering big events. But this is special to me. The area I grew up in, with teams both my wife and I competed against and competed for. Seeing people we know regularly, means the world to us. We are very blessed.

We are also so grateful that when we launched this idea to the Republican Plains Activities Conference and its committee, they were open to this idea. They continue to be helpful when we need them. To ADs, coaches, other school personnel, and student-athletes, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We are so thrilled to continue this adventure covering the conference.

Well, let's start getting ready for the postseason. We're fired up to keep going.

bottom of page