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Every year, the Ron Thon Memorial Invitational is dubbed the “toughest wrestling event of the season.”

All three classes of high school wrestling in Wyoming compete against each other, making it even more difficult than the state wrestling tournament where wrestlers only take on the best competition in their respective classes.

The Ron Thon Memorial Tournament began molding into the largest event of the season in 1999. Riverton High School had hosted a wrestling tournament for years prior to that, under a few different names, but it didn’t draw as many competitors through the 1980s and 1990s as it does now.

Nearly 900 wrestlers are in town, representing 46 different high schools across the state.

County 10 spoke with many folks involved with the tournament this week, and there was not an exact estimate when we quizzed them with, “how many people does this bring to our community?” The only unanimous answer was, “thousands.” Ultimately, the best guess was between 2,00-3,000 extra people will be around Riverton this weekend, including those nearly 900 wrestlers, coaches, officials, bus drivers, media members, activities association staff, school officials, parents, students, and supporters.

That may mean a little more traffic around town, but from an economic standpoint that’s extra hotels filled, people dining in Riverton establishments, filling up on gas, etc. The owner of a local gas station told us Friday, “Events like this are huge for us. We really see a boost with all of the extra traffic, and hopefully, we can be a friendly spot for all of these folks who are supporting their kids. We want them to return next year, and the year after that.”

Action continues from Riverton High School and Riverton Middle School through Saturday.