Soldotna High School wrestlers are putting their muscles to work on and off the mats.
For the past three months, members of the SoHi wrestling team and booster club have been working on the construction of a log cabin, which they hope to sell as a fund-raiser for trips to Lower 48 wrestling tournaments.
"We wanted to do something that the boys could put some effort into and something that they could enjoy, not like selling chocolate bars or something," said Liz Howarth, a parent and secretary for the wrestlers booster club.
The cabin, now complete, was begun in March. Members of the wrestling team peeled the logs every Tuesday and Thursday after school at the Abel Construction yard in Soldotna.
Wrestlers and their parents donated whatever time and skills they could afford. Some gave up Saturdays to work on the cabin.
Most of the students spent the majority of their time stripping the bark off the logs.
"Mr. Howarth helped design the cabin and set up everything for us. He was a big part of it," said Josh Brantley, a junior wrestler at SoHi.
The Howarths and other parents ran the chain saws and gave other forms of support, like hot dogs during the party held to stack the final logs on May 12. However, students did the majority of it, said John Howarth.
"It was really a learning experience. How to peel a log, stuff that I will need to know when I am out looking for a job," said Colton Goracke, another junior wrestler.
Next year's SoHi wrestling team is going to be junior-strong, said Brantley. There will be 13 juniors on the team, four of whom went to state their freshman year. Many, like Brantley and Goracke, have been wrestling since they were in elementary school.
"It will be great exposure for our boys to go Outside with other levels of competitions and different styles of coaching at the collegiate level, that may hopefully lead to some kind of scholarship," Liz Howarth said.
Brantley and Goracke also look forward to the opportunity to participate in competitions outside of Alaska.
"The cabin was a really big fund-raiser, so next year we can go out of state and see what it is like other than on the peninsula," Goracke said. "I think I will gain a lot of experience from getting my butt kicked."
Brantley wants the chance to go the the Lower 48 because it will allow him to try different moves on wrestlers who are on the mats year-round.
The team is hoping to sell the cabin for $6,500, said John Howarth.
However, the price will depend upon the location it needs to be delivered to as well as if the purchaser wants a roof put on.
As it stands now, the cabin is a 16-by-20-foot shell ready for retail. Abel Construction, owned by Liz Howarth and her husband, donated the location and a boom truck for its construction. The logs were donated by Walt Kurka of Brookwood Inc. in Homer.
The log cabin is the first fund-raiser for the booster club, which also was just created this year.
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