AUGUSTA — When the Benchmark Wrestling Club and community center opens its doors in Augusta later this year, the building might look familiar to anyone that’s ever traveled on 10th Ave. South in Great Falls.
“To our family the building was a big deal,” said Montana wrestling legend Mike Zadick. “My brothers, my sisters, we all grew up working there.”
Zadick is talking about Holiday Motors in Great Falls. It was owned and operated by Bob Zadick, the patriarch of the family, for decades.
“My dad and my uncle started out going door to door selling pots and pans. They built themselves up and started selling cars and then the location was for sale and they started selling more cars,” Mike said. “He went on to buy more properties and worked really hard but that was the first piece.”
Bob passed away in 2020, and Mike sold the property shortly thereafter. But when the buyer indicated he planned to demolish the building, Zadick had an idea.
“It was a perfectly good steel building and the foundation of my family’s success,” Mike said. “I knew we needed something in Augusta, so I negotiated a deal for them to let me disassemble it.”
It took five weeks of hard work and lots of assistance from friends and family. But Mike painstakingly deconstructed the building. He found homes for the materials he couldn’t use.
“I left the ceiling tiles out on the sidewalk and people took them. I gave away all of the windows, and the two by fours,” Mike said. “Someone from Valier took the steel siding and made cattle shelters.”
Zadick kept the steel skeleton, the wrought iron, garage doors and air conditioning unit. He transported two semi-truck loads to Augusta and stored the loads on the ranch of an acquaintance, while he searched for a place to re-assemble the building.
Earlier this month, Zadick closed on three acres off of Benchmark road just outside of town.
Zadick grew up in Great Falls but spent a lot of time in Augusta and in the Rocky Mountain Front recreating and visiting family. He's lived in Augusta off and on since 2012 and full time since 2018. He fell in love with the people and the community.
Benchmark Wrestling Club is a way to give back to the area and develop elite wrestling talent in an area of the country that is often overlooked.
Zadick is a firm believer that neither he nor his brother, former world champion Bill Zadick, were particularly gifted athletes. But work ethic and principles were instilled in them early and compelled them to incredible high school, collegiate and international success.
“I love wrestling and I know what it does to an individual and I know what you get out of the sport whether you’re a young boy or young girl,” Zadick said. “The ranch kids in this community are so unbelievably ahead of the game and they don’t know it. I want OIympic champions to come out of here. But I know they’ll be champions in whatever they do.”
Jere Long, coach of the Choteau Mat Sharks Little Guy wrestling club, stopped through Augusta to offer support for Zadick and says a club like this is much needed.
“Mike wants to start the foundation. He wants to grow these kids. He wants this program to go,” Long said. “I have no doubt they’ll have All-American kids come out of his program, go to college and maybe beyond. He has lots of support.”
Zadick has created a non-profit for Benchmark, and hasn’t started fundraising in earnest. But the response from around the state and the country has been overwhelming since he announced his plans.
“Some people asked if they could help with our website. Some asked to help with building and roofing,” Zadick said. “It's pretty amazing how people reach out. I was not expecting so many people to want to get involved right now. And and I appreciate it because I probably need all the help I can get.”
While Zadick isn’t asking for money at this time, there’s been enough interest that he created an account at Bravera bank in Great Falls for those who would like to help.
Monetary donations can be sent to:
Bravera Bank 1019 7th St So Great Falls, MT 59405, Attn Benchmark Wrestling; or Benchmark Wrestling PO Box 686 Augusta, MT 59410.