Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
Erik Ford remembers the first time he went with Homer Hulme, his coaches, and his teammates to Norman to watch the Bedlam wrestling matches.
Ford was a seventh grader, just getting into the sport.
"I remember a couple of those guys going out there and leaving it all on the line and wrestling their hearts out," Ford said. "Something I really got out of it was the level of competition and intensity those guys had from the time they were warming up to the time they got on the mat."
Ford went on to be a four-time state placer and to win one state championship. He wrestled at OU, and always used what he saw in Bedlam as a seventh grader as inspiration.
"It'd be like going to a New York Yankees baseball game for a wrestler to see those guys and how they go about doing their jobs, and that's something I always tried to emulate," Ford said.
Hulme has been taking Chickasha wrestling teams to eat and watch Bedlam matches for about 20 years, and recently set up a plan to make sure that those trips would continue even after he is gone.
Hulme partnered with the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma to set up the Hulme Wrestling Endowment with the Chickasha Community Foundation, investing $50,000 toward funding future Bedlam trips for Chickasha wrestling.
"Last year I got to thinking about it, and I thought, I won't be here forever," Hulme said. "It costs a bit to take that many kids out to eat, and I thought 'nobody is going to step forward and do that.' So I told the coach, I'm going to set up something to provide that that continues forever."
The Chickasha Community Foundation was established in 2011 with a contribution of more than $2.4 million from the Doris Wilk Trust, according to the foundation's website.
"The Chickasha Community Foundation was something with the intention that in the future other people might include it in their will or estate planning," said Laurie Elzo of First National Bank.