GREAT FALLS -- The Zadick Bros. Wrestling Camp is back after a one-year hiatus. Mike and Bill Zadick, two of the best wrestlers ever to come out of Montana, are back in their hometown working with kids they’ve watched develop for more than a decade.
Things are back to normal after the chaos of the last year.
But there is one major absence.
“It’s hard. It’s a huge void and I get emotional whenever my dad is brought up,” Mike said. “I mean, there's so many reminders of him.”
Their father Bob Zadick, a Montana wrestling icon and longtime Great Falls businessman, passed away in November at 80 years old. He spent his lifetime advocating for the sport and helping it grow across Montana. The loss is still hard for the family, but both Mike and Bill believe the best way to carry on Bob’s legacy is to continue his work and follow his example.
“The character, the values, the generosity, that gritty toughness that my dad had,” Bill said. “You know, we just hope that we can carry that forward and pass some of those good things on.”
Mike is wearing a Northern Montana Wrestling Club shirt this week at camp to commemorate the program his dad invested so much time in. He is also working on a more tangible way to honor his father.
“I have his old dealership (Holiday Motors) under contract right now and for the last three weeks been tearing it down. The new owners want to build new so I’m planning to disassemble it, haul the building all the way to Augusta where I live and then reassemble it in the town of Augusta,” Mike explained. “I’m going to work with the community center up there and the youth development and create a wrestling club in the town.”
Mike laughed when he thought of what his dad would say if he knew what was to become of his longtime business.
“I think he’d jump out of his grave knowing it was a wrestling room because he liked wrestling more than business,” Mike said. “So I think he's going to love this one.”
From winning state championships in high school and college championships at Iowa to competing in the Olympics and winning world championships as an athlete and coach, both Mike and Bill have made Montana proud for a very long time.
But more importantly, they made Bob proud -- not just for their accomplishments on the mat, but for the people they’ve become off of it.
“There’s something to be said with sons and fathers and you always want your dad's approval,” Mike said. “And I know I had mine. Now we’re carrying it forward with what he did and his sacrifice for youth and what he did for the kids.”