Five minutes with: Chet Glanzer


Chet Glanzer (pictured right) got an early start on the wrestling mats. His father was a wrestling coach and two older brothers were already well into the sport, so Chet joined them when he was just 5 years old and was soon competing at state and national levels. Chet is a member of Bethel MB Church in Huron, South Dakota. His love for wrestling and his love for sharing the gospel converged in a unique way six years ago when he proposed that nearby Byron Bible Camp add a wrestling camp to it’s summer line-up.

How common is it for kids to go to a wrestling camp?

Kids who wrestle travel all over during summer for training camps. When I was a kid, we’d go to the camp for the day and then just sit in the hotel for the evening. At Byron Bible Camp the kids get 10 hours of wrestling over four days, but they also get time for activities like zip lines, fishing and rock climbing, plus chapels and devotions.

Who attends the camp?

We can host about 80 kids on the wrestling mats we lay out in the gym. The camp does a lot of marketing, including the Dakota Grappler Facebook page, so we’ve had kids from all over the state and even other states. Sometimes five or six from a wrestling club will come together, and the club may even pay half of their fees. Most of the kids who come are unchurched.

Who leads the training?

This year our clinician is the head coach at Wheaton College who has competed twice with the U.S. Olympic Team and was U.S. National Champion three times. He’ll be our chapel speaker too. The kids think it’s pretty neat to meet an Olympic wrestler.

Why is wrestling a good sport to connect kids with the gospel?

One of our past clinicians had a T-shirt that said, “Jesus Christ is life, the rest is just wrestling.” So much of life is about wrestling with difficulties, disappointments, failures. And how do you do that? By focusing on who Jesus is and who we are in Christ. I want to teach these kids how to deal with the highs and lows in wrestling and in life and who to look toward.

What is a Scripture that motivates and helps a wrestler in this sport?

When I was in high school I would go to Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But I had the wrong mindset. It’s not that God is going to give you an advantage to win over your opponent. It’s so you can keep on going when you feel like you can’t go any harder or farther. Win or lose, Christ gives us that strength.


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