Officiallywelcomed into exclusive club
BYBRIANWEIDMANbweidman@saukvalley.com800-798-4085 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 800-798-4085 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting,ext.551
CHAMPAIGN – Roy SnyderandJimBusser took center stageon Friday nightat the IHSA StateWrestlingTournament at StateFarm Center.
When they'reboth doing their thing, however, bothwouldjust as soon not berecognizedat all.
Snyder andBusser, who hail fromRochelleand Polo, respectively, areamong agroup of19men who are members ofthe 2014 Illinois Wrestling Coaches andOfficials Association Hall ofFame class. Theywerehonoredprior to thesemifinal roundon Friday night, andwill be formally inductedat the IWCOAbanquet on Sunday, April13inCountryside.
They have48years ofwrestling officiating between them, andwereinformedoftheir honor about 6 weeks ago.
"It's a great honor, andI'veworkedhardfor it," Snyder said. "My crewmates,all the other officials that I'veworkedwith, we're just onebig family. It shows that wetakecareofeach other. The people who I'mvotedinwith this time,peoplewho havegotteninin the past –it's just agreat honor."
"It was kindofshock tome,"Busser added, "but it's greatly appreciated. A lot ofhardwork went into this. Ifstartsoffas a hobby, anditturns into a long-termpleasure. It's been a wonderful, wonderful experience."
Snyder, amulti-sport athleteat DubuqueHempsteadHigh School,moved to Mount Morris in1991.Asa way to getinvolved in the community, he servedas avolunteercoach in soccer, baseball,wrestling, andfootball.
That ledto himbecoming an official.Hestartedwith football, andwrestling,baseball, andsoftball soon followed.
"It's just something that Ilikedoing," Snyder said, "andI likebeingaroundthekids. Somepeopledoitfor themoney. Idoit for theenjoyment. I just lovethesport."
Snyder has officiatedwrestling matches for 22 years.Includedin that run have been 20 regionals, 16 sectionals, ninedualteam sectionals, sevendual teamstatefinals, andsixindividual statefinals.
The bigger events arefun,Snyder noted, but hegetsan equal kick out ofworking local duals.Heofficiates, on theaverage, about four nightsa week.
"No matter whereyou'reat, when youblow that first whistle," Snydersaid, "you'vegot that little voiceover yourback saying, 'All right Roy, let's get this right. You're doing this for thekids.'"
Busser was a 4-yearfootball player andwrestler inPolo, helpedstart the Illinois Kids WrestlingFederation programin Polo, andcoaches at thejunior high level in his hometown.
He's been an officialfor 26 years, with11combined statehigh school statetournamentsunder his belt. LikeSnyder,he will work thedual team statetourney next weekendin Normal.
Busser andSnyder have workedtogether on numerous occasions, andhave developedasymmetry over time.
"Working with Jimall theseyears, webasicallyknow where we'regoing to be," Snyder said. "Weknowwhat we'relooking forifweneedassistance. Just by theexpressions on ourface, weknowwhat needs to bedone."
Both singledout oneboutas being theirmost memorable. About 5years ago, St. Rita All-American Albert White losta 1-0 decisionin thefinalsofthe prestigiousDvorakTournament. Hewas rankedfirst in thenation at the time.
"That was probably the biggest bout I can remember," Busser said. "It was anovertimeride-out match,andit wasreally something to see."
As far as officiating influences,Bussercitedhis uncle,Randy Wagner ofPolo,for gettinghim started. Both men alsomentionedformer Sterling coach andlongtimeofficial Don Mekeel as beinginfluential in their careers.
"Don has been thebiggest inspiration to me, andnever stops teachingme,"Busser said. "Every timeIhavea littleproblem, I call Don, andhefills mein on what exactly should be done."
Officiating has becomeayear-roundventurefor themen. They attendclinics to go over rules andwork on theirmechanics,in hopes ofimproving their craft.
Somenights, Snydergoesto matches he'snot working,just to watch other officials work."IfIstop learning,it'stimeformeto get out," Snyder said.
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