Five decades later, Fetters twins still have moves! See page 7
“We were a wrestling family.” Andy Fetters
Andy Fetters, his four other brothers, one of which is his twin, Randy, and one sister, grew up in a wrestling family. The Fetters family is still a wrestling family two generations late! The sport the Fetters “boys” engaged in during the late 1960s and early 1970s has been handed down to the next two generations.
Twins Andy and Randy were born between their two older brothers, Jerry and Tom, and their two younger siblings, Dan and their sister, Lana.
“Lana was a wrestler, well more like a wrestler-cheerleader,” Randy said laughing. “But she wrestled with all of us and was pretty good.”
Andy and Randy graduated from Cut Bank High School in 1973 and wrestled their way through high school. “We had 50 kids wrestling when we were freshman,” Andy said. “There were lots of big wrestling families back then.”
The original Cut Bank High School gymnasium burned down when the boys were freshman, so many of their wrestling practices took place at Anna Jeffries Elementary School gym. Home meets were held at the H.C. Davis Elementary School gym. It was not until they were seniors that the current gym was built and ready for use.
Most of the wrestling meets were dual meets back then, with tournaments making their way into the program in the early 1970s.
“We had our first eight-team tournament in the H.C. Davis gym and it was packed,” Randy recalled. “Many of the small communities back then outfitted a full wrestling team and they all came to the tournament. Places like Big Sandy, Sunburst and Valier. Wrestling really was a big-time sport back then.”
“When we first started wrestling, we wrestled A, B and C schools and at that time, you could only wrestle 18 times during the season,” Andy said.
“And we only practiced wrestling during the season. There was no off-season training, no AAU meets, no camps and no weight room time outside of the season, nothing like there is now,” he added.
Randy and Andy were not the only set of twins wrestling during their years in high school. There were two other set of twins on the mats at the same time–Tommy and Tim Murphy and Marvin and Martin Kimmet.
“We were all pretty competitive back then, even Randy and I were pretty competitive and not just in wrestling,” Andy said with a smile.
When Andy started wrestling as a freshman in high school, he wrestled in the 119-pound weight class. When he was a senior, he wrestled in the 138-pound class. Randy started out as a freshman wrestling as a 112-pounder and ended up in his senior year, wrestling 126 pounds.
After the boys graduated high school, they both went their separate ways for a time. However, they eventually ended up back in Cut Bank and it was not long after that they started the Little Guy Wrestling program with Danny Murphy. The year was 1984.
“It seemed like there was a period of time in the 1980s when the high school program started taking a nose dive,” Randy said. “Other high schools were bringing kids up through the ranks and Cut Bank was having trouble doing that. So, we started the Little Guy Wrestling program with the hopes of getting kids involved at a younger age and then watching them continue into high school.”
“It seemed like if you started them young, they were more likely to continue wrestling through their high school years,” Andy added. “It was a great program for kids to learn wrestling moves and develop some coordination at the same time.”
Both Fetters boys stayed with the Little Guy program for a number of years, Randy for 30 years and Andy for 20 years. “Once Cody (his son) got into coaching wrestling, I stopped working with the Little Guy program so I could spend time watching Cody’s kids wrestle,” said Andy.
Cody, Andy’s son, was the next generation of Fetters to hit the mat and stay with the program. He started in Little Guy, then wrestled in high school and now Cody is the head wrestling coach at Cut Bank High School. Cody’s kids have added another generation to their wrestling family, taking to the mat like dad and grandpa and his twin.
Andy and Randy’s life in wrestling did not stop after they left the Little Guy program. This wrestling pair stayed with the sport in a number of capacities, helping out in tournaments and offering some sage advice whenever and wherever it was needed.
“Wrestling is a passion of ours and probably will be forever,” Randy said.
Both boys admit wrestling taught them more than just some great moves on a mat and how to win. What they learned beyond that has been with them for their entire lives.
“We learned discipline for sure. Wrestling is all about mind games and we learned how to make that work to our advantage,” Andy said.
“You have to be mentally strong when you wrestle,” Randy said. “There was also a lot of camaraderie with our teammates. Having teammates was big for us back then.”
The boys believed then and now, sports bring people together. “Not only did we have great relationships with everyone that we wrestled with, but the parents then and even now, have great relationships. There is a lot of gym time for parents, when we were kids as well as now,” Randy said.
There were a lot of life lessons learned by the Fetters boys during their time wrestling, lessons they have put to use in their life and then, passed on to the next generation of wrestlers. And who knows, maybe there will be yet another generation of Fetters wrestlers when their great grandkids start doing what Fetter kids love to do…wrestle.