Vinny Vespa Poster; Phototrens.com
Last weekend, Vinny Vespa attended the Adam Frey Classic in Pennsylvania where in addition to receiving the Courageous Wrestler Award, he saw some of the nation’s best wrestling talent compete to benefit the Adam Frey Foundation.
On Saturday June 30, he will once again get an opportunity to watch great wrestling, but this time, it will be to support him in his battle with Lymphoma at the Victory 4 Vinny Takedown Tournament at Monroe Woodbury High School, beginning at 8 a.m.
“The thing I’m most excited about is for Vinny to see how many supporters he has,” said Michael Vespa, Vinny’s older brother. “It will be awesome when he walks in and sees how many people came out to benefit him and how many people are on the mats wrestling just for him.”
Indeed, the mats will be busy, as close to 400 wrestlers signed up, according to one of the event’s organizers, Bob Voelker.
“The response has been overwhelming,” Voelker said. “Registration really exploded over the last week – it’s fantastic.”
The registration includes a wide range of competitors. There are accomplished grapplers like Hofstra’s Jamie Franco, former junior college All-American Nick Rausenberger and at least five 2012 New York State placers. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are a number of people like Voelker’s son Troy, a former high school football player who doesn’t have experience on the mat.
“Troy hasn’t wrestled before but he wants to help; wants to do something to be a part of the event,” Bob Voelker said. “There are a bunch of people like that. They just want to show support to Vinny.”
The variability in registrants goes beyond experience in the sport. There are youth wrestlers participating as well as seven entrants over the age of 55. In addition, at least five states will be represented, with one Monroe Woodbury alum flying up from Florida to take part.
While Vinny Vespa won’t wrestle, his brothers Michael and Marco (a NHSCA Middle School National Champion) will. For Michael, who took some time off after high school, it’s an ideal opportunity to return to competition.
“Honestly, it’s amazing,” Michael Vespa said. “It will be my first time back on the mat in years and it’s for my brother at my high school, wearing a singlet that says my brother’s name on it. It’s inspiring.”
But the event will offer much more than just wrestling action. There will be family fun activities such as a dunking booth, bounce castles and face painting as well as a barbecue and a number of raffles. In addition, other entities, such as Cookies for Cancer, will be selling goods to benefit the Vespa family.
“The unbelievable amount of support has overwhelmed me,” Voelker said. “It has restored my faith in people. It amazes me how many people have come forward. The support and love of the wrestling community has been truly remarkable.”
Michael Vespa believes that support and love will be on full display on Saturday.
“I think there will be something for everyone,” he said. “I hope people will come out to see my brother and enjoy a day of fun with some great wrestling. I know that it will mean a lot to Vinny in his battle.”
For more information, please see the event flyer: