Crook County squares off tonight against rival RedmondA wrestling coach and a former grappler himself, Crook County skipper Mike Shinkle is not one to skirt around an issue. He exudes little patience for a student athlete not giving it his all and when asked about his team's long standing rivalry with Redmond, he seems to show even less tolerance.
"We hate them and they hate us," he states bluntly. "We respect each other, but that's about how it goes."
An alum of Crook County High School, Shinkle knows first hand the tradition behind the two teams' meetings. Tonight he will direct his first Redmond-Crook County conference dual meet from the other side of the mat when the two squads pair off in the Redmond gym at 7:30 p.m.
The matchup is arguably considered the Intermountain Conference's most heated rivalry.
"It's probably one of the best [rivalries] in the state," Shinkle said. "There are going to be a lot of intense [matchups] tonight and a lot of emotion. It's going to come right down to the wire."
With the resurgence of the Redmond program has come an added level of intensity to the rivalry. While proximity has always has always played its part, closer matches have made for higher emotions.
"When I was in high school we dominated Redmond. They didn't have the program they do now," he said. "The rivalry was the same but it wasn)t as intense because it wasn't as close."
The Cowboys will hit the mat with something to prove tonight as they have lost their last two meetings with the Panthers.
They were edged 32-29 at home in last year's IMC battle and were defeated 36-30 at this year's Oregon Classic.
The Panthers are led by Austin Enoch at 130 pounds and their heavyweight Kenny Horton. Enoch lost to Ben Neasham in the 125-pound finals at the 4A state tournament last year.
Shinkle projects nothing less than a packed house for tonight's contest.
"It's going to be crowded. I expect just as many Crook County fans as Redmond. If not more," he said.
With crosstown bragging rights on rights on the line, spectators should be assured of a good show.
"[Redmond] doesn't like losing to Crook County and we don't like losing to them," said Shinkle. "Both teams will be ready to go."
At 3-2 in the IMC, tonight's matchup has added significance for the Cowboys who need a win to stay above the .500 mark.
"I think if they give it all they have, they can do it. I know they can do it," said Shinkle. "They just have to show up to wrestle."