Gladiators’ gloves ‘on good hands’ as local showcase nears
By John Roark
RAWLINS — As club president, Bert Herrera knows his Rawlins Gladiators USA boxing club sits in good hands as it readies to host Saturday’s annual Gladiators Boxing Tournament.
Former Gladiators standout Sammy Martinez assumed the head coaching reins in November. Herrera says all has gone well.
“The kids really take to Sammy,” Herrera said. “I couldn’t be head coach forever, just like I can’t be running the club forever. However, things are moving in the right direction.”
The Gladiators’ showcase begins at 5 p.m. Saturday inside the Rawlins High School gymnasium.
Admission for adults is $8, for children ages 6 through 12 the price is $7. Those kids aged five and under are admitted free.
Adult advance ticket sales are available, for a dollar less.
Herrera said young boxers from Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming are expected to participate at RHS.
“We have 25-plus bouts scheduled,” Herrera said. “The most we have seen on the road is 15.”
Herrera says he likes the multi-state representation during the Gladiator’s showcase, which doesn’t come by accident.
“We have good relationships with all those clubs,” he said. “When they feel they are being treated right, they’ll come back.”
Herrera said he’s trying to get bouts for each clubs’ boxers, noting that is a match cannot be found, a sparring round can be held.
“Naturally, we are going to pair our kids up first,” Herrera said. “Those who don’t get matched up can spar in a controlled, unscored environment — and in full sparring gear — before the crowd.”
Herrera said that crowd of paying customers should number between 400 and 500.
“Our pre-showcase ticket sales are right at about 300,” he said. “In the future, we’re looking at maybe dropping the free admission to maybe seven and under.
“We want the kids in there to see the boxing, to see if they might be interested in joining. Other clubs charge more than that, when we’re at their showcases.
“My intention is to get the kids in there,” Herrera added.
Herrera knows corporate sponsorships are huge, adding that his club members are charged with selling advance admissions and raffle tickets.
“(One sponsor) paid for the kids’ flight and hotel rooms, so they could attend nationals,” he said. “However the kids have go out and sell 10 tickets each.”
This year’s raffle winner can attain a signed boxing glove from none other than an Oscar de la Hoya signed glove. Raffle tickers are $10 each.
While not all of the Rawlins boxers can be expected to win during Saturday’s card, Herrera said the Gladiators’ entries should be competitive.
“We’ve never been to a show where we’ve won them all,” Herrera said. “Then again, we’ve never been to a show where we lost them all, either.”
Herrera also thanked his assistant coaches.
“Cesar Garcia knows how to match kids and get them ready to go on the road,” Herrera said. “Art Montoya goes around the community and helps with public relations. When Sammy decided to take over as coach, I knew I needed him, and I knew we’d get what her and the kids would put in to it.”
Herrera said the net result is more participation through the season.
“The kids are sticking around longer.” Herrera said. “They are seeing the benefits, like they should Saturday night.”