Dale Earnhardt Jr sparks interest in Grappling Classic

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic sparks interest in Region and Business Community. CONCORD, N.C., (Jan. 22, 2003) - When Dale Earnhardt, Jr., decided to organize the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic, a Jiu Jitsu competition open to ...

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic sparks interest in Region and Business Community.

CONCORD, N.C., (Jan. 22, 2003) - When Dale Earnhardt, Jr., decided to organize the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic, a Jiu Jitsu competition open to amateur and professional divisions including women and children, executives from Yellow Corporation, Sundrop and Bealer Wholesale were eager to jump on board. But they weren't the only ones who wanted a piece of the action. Concord High School and Central Cabarrus County High School thought the opportunity would be a great learning experience for their wrestling teams.

With the help of these partners and many others, the inaugural Grappling Classic, which kicks off at 10 a.m. this Saturday at the Cabarrus County Arena, is said to be one of the largest Jiu Jitsu tournaments in the United States.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic organizers first contacted their community for help to kick off the tournament which will host 3000 spectators, 200 or more of which are Jiu Jitsu competitors. Immediately people jumped at the chance. Concord High School and Central Cabarrus County High School saw the opportunity as a learning experience for their young teens to experience a grappling competition first hand.

Jim Sweeney, the Concord High School wrestling, coach offered his wrestling teams to help with the scoring. The aspiring grapplers will be placed at each mat to help calculate the winner's scores for the judges. "It's about this community," Dale Jr. said. "We wanted a way to give back to the people who support us not only in racing, but in our region. Hopefully everyone will see this Classic as a way to promote our area."

One of the other key partners included in the program is Yellow Transportation. The Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic organizers needed a company they could trust to ship their Zebra brand mats and equipment to the Cabarrus Arena. Yellow Transportation Motorsports Coordinator Bill Lyons arranged for the necessary equipment to be shipped on loan from Minnesota's Zebra Mat Company, another partner, to the arena.

"This is a great opportunity for Yellow to help out a fellow racer (Yellow sponsors the #1 Busch Series Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray) with such an exciting venture," said Lyons. "The Yellow 'Yes We Can' attitude was just what they needed. This was a way to help us share in something new for the region, that'll surely benefit everybody. Just like the jiu jitsu champs, and racing champs, Yellow focuses on performance, quality and speed. This is gonna be fun!"

Chad Webb, Marketing Coordinator for Bealer Wholesale also joined as a partner for the inaugural event. "It's a great event for this up-and-coming sport," Webb said. "We wanted to get involved on the ground level and grow with this event each year. I'm sure that the grappling classic will be a huge hit in our community and we are happy to be a part of it."

When John King, Director of Operations of Sundrop in Concord, N.C., decided to join in as a partner, there were several reasons. "There are folks coming from all over the country and the world, and they may not have access to Sundrop. It's great to introduce them to our product in this way. Dale Jr., admittedly, is a huge Sundrop drinker which gives a good tie in for our presence. Personally, my son is a jiu jitsu student and the charity for this event really needs the assistance and awareness."

The opportunity to help the community of Cabarrus County is endless for this inaugural event. The entire proceeds from a continuous raffle featuring Dale Jr. memorabilia and other exciting items, and a portion of the silent auction's proceeds will go to CVAN, the county's system for battered women and their children. "This is a country wide problem and we have to start somewhere." Earnhardt, Jr. said of the support of such a worthy and necessary cause.

Earnhardt Jr. will be the host of the event with Storm Johnson from Power 98 as the master of ceremony. The Charlotte area media also joined the Grappling Classic as partners. WSOC FM-103.7 radio station will have a live remote as well as it's "brother" station WFNZ Sports Talk 610 AM. Also on hand will be talent from 106.5 The End. Along with Jiu Jitsu trade exhibits there will be several Dale Earnhardt, Inc. team Chevrolets, including the No. 8 Budweiser Chevy, which Earnhardt Jr. drives, on display.

Tickets for the event are available through Ticketmaster, The Cabarrus Arena and at the door the day of the event. Cabarrus Arena is located on Hwy 49, 3 miles north of Hwy 601 in Concord, N.C. For more information about the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic, log on to www.dalejrgrapplingclassic.com.

-lsr-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jamie McMurray , Bill Lyon , John King