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Two Northwest College wrestlers mauled by grizzly

(Photo by Lars Scinny)

By Mark Davis and Zac Taylor
Powell Tribune
Via- Wyoming News Exchange

POWELL —Two Northwest College wrestlers were mauled by a grizzly bear while hiking Saturday on the South Fork.

Kendell Cummings, a sophomore from Evanston, and Brady Lowry, a redshirt sophomore from Cedar City, Utah, were shed hunting west of the Bobcat Houlihan trailhead on the Shoshone National Forest in heavy cover when the attack happened.

dFellow wrestlers August Harrison and Orin Jackson were shed hunting along with their two teammates. After the attack, they rushed to the scene and helped Cummings and Lowry to a vehicle and to find assistance.

Park County Search and Rescue was immediately activated, according to a press release from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Upon notification, department personnel responded to the scene as well. With the assistance of a hunter in the area, a local resident and other members of their party, the men were able to reach the trailhead where they met search and rescue and were transported from the area.

Lowry was transported to Cody Regional Health after the attack and then later driven by ambulance to Billings for surgery. Cummings received bites to his face, head and torso and was life-flighted to Billings for emergency surgery.

Two wrestlers drove up to Billings Clinic to be with him and NWC bought a hotel room for them for the night, while wrestling coach Jim Zeigler initially stayed with Lowry in Cody.

Both have had multiple surgeries after the attack and Zeigler said some of their injuries resembled large canine bite marks.

Zeigler and more members of the Trapper wrestling team traveled to Billings on Sunday to show support for “their injured brothers,” according to NWC president Lisa Watson in a Sunday press release.

“It took quick thinking and no small amount of bravery for this to have ended without tragedy,” she said. “I am so grateful for those who assisted these brave young men in the aftermath of this terrifying ordeal and that no lives were lost.”

Zeigler said he was proud of his athletes in a Monday morning interview.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these young men, the way they looked out for each other, protected each other,” Zeigler said. “They wouldn’t have survived without each other. It was horrific, it was courageous. And I’m grateful that those guys loved each other and took care of each other.”

Zeigler said both are in good spirits.

After Lowry got out of surgery Sunday morning, Zeigler said he was wheeled into Cummings’ room.

“They expressed their love for one another,” Zeigler said.

Both men also were visited by their parents who rushed to town.

Game and Fish is in the process of gathering further details; the investigation into the incident is ongoing. Biologists have collected hair samples, but due to the high number of bears in the immediate area of the attack, they will likely never know the identity of the bear.

“There were a lot of [grizzly bear] daybeds in that area,” said Dan Smith, Cody Region wildlife supervisor. “We’re going to have a hard time identifying if the hair is from that bear.”

In the last few weeks, there has been an abundance of bear activity at low elevations throughout the South Fork and North Fork of the Shoshone River, Clarks Fork River and Greybull River drainages, the department warned in the release.

Game and Fish officials encourage anyone recreating in these areas to use caution and be bear aware.

“In the vicinity where the attack occurred, reports from landowners and hunters indicate there may be six to 10 different bears moving between agricultural fields and low elevation slopes,” Smith said. “Game and Fish will continue to monitor bear activity in the area and work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make management decisions in the best interest of public safety.”

He said they have determined the attack was not predatory in nature.

To help with medical expenses, visit nwcollegefoundation. org/wrestlers-medical-support.

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