COLUMBUS -- Columbus’ Tanner and Cooper Cook are two of the best wrestlers the state of Montana has to offer. It’s not by accident, either.
The brothers are both ultra-aggressive on the mat, something that spilled into their home growing up.
“I remember we were wrestling, I was fine, I was fine. He was on top of me and I got mad, I snapped. That was it," Cooper Cook said. "It kind of went to battle there. We brought the airsoft guns in. It wasn’t very fun. We had some holes in the wall.”
“Comes to holes in the wall, pretty much everything. Destroy everything in the house. Mom doesn’t like it," Tanner Cook said with a laugh. "I remember one time, we both wrestled and I put a hole in the wall. Pretty sure I doubled him, or something, hit his back on the wall. Put a nice, big hole. Mom wasn’t very impressed.”
Tanner and Cooper have had great workout partners during their upbringing, but there’s nothing like someone that knows your every move. That’s allowed the brothers to continually better themselves, whether it comes at the expense of their house or not.
“It’s back and forth, man. Obviously wrestling in the living room, carpet burns from everything, but it’s fun having a good partner like that, for sure. It strengthens both of us," Tanner said.
A few years ago, the Cook brothers were sharpening their craft for the Shepherd Mustangs. The family owns a lumber business in Columbus, so moving from Shepherd only made sense. It’s certainly worked out well so far, as the intensity Tanner and Cooper bring to the practice room has had an impact.
“I like to motivate people. That’s my kind of thing. It’s nice that if you rubbed off on someone else and have that mentality in the room, then it’s definitely going to rub off and pay off, and that’s good for the team going out there on the mat," Cooper said. "Tanner and I try to push everybody to our max and push each other. So it’s super nice when everybody is on the same page. We’re all battling for that state championship.”
As for the Cook brothers’ relationship with the kids still in Shepherd? You’ll likely see them dap up before hitting the mats.
“We’re super close. I moved there in fifth grade from Gillette, Wyoming, so we’ve got some close relationships with some of those guys. Friends for life, for sure," Tanner said.
Tanner is currently the top-ranked wrestler at 120 pounds, while Cooper is third at 126 pounds. Tanner won the Class B-C title at 113 pounds last year, while Cooper finished sixth at 120 pounds. Columbus finished third at state last year and is ranked sixth in the latest Class B-C team polls.
Both brothers will likely be at the State B-C wrestling tournament in Billings Feb. 14-15.