Were most of us to find ourselves in the path of a charging grizzly bear with no weapons other than our bare fists and booted feet, the ensuing fight would, to paraphrase Emperor Hirohito, “not necessarily develop to our advantage.”
Grizzlies are massive in size, have gargantuan, razor-sharp claws, jaws that are so strong they seem mechanical, and hides tougher than hoplite armor. They’re tough to take down with a cannon of a rifle like a .45-70 Gov. lever action or .30-06 bolt gun, much less with one’s fists and feet.
But two college wrestlers just proved that humans of sufficient toughness, grit, and strength can take on a grizzly in a fight and survive, if not win the fight outright (win here being generously applied and meaning that they got the bear to leave). Such is what The Blaze recently reported, saying:
Two sophomore wrestlers from Northwest College went antler hunting with friends in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest over the weekend. What was supposed to be a respite from the pressures of school life and their sport turned out to be a deadly competition like none other. Kendell Cummings of Evanston, weighing in at 141 pounds, and Brad[y] Lowry of Cedar City, weighing in at 149, came across a grizzly bear, weighing in at an estimated 800 pounds. Running away was not an option.
Cummings, Lowry, and their compatriots, Orin Jackson and August Harrison, were collecting shed antlers when Lowry indicated the day was coming to a close. While the group began meandering back to their vehicle, Lowry and Cummings split off to see if they could secure another handful of antlers.
It was when they were walking around on the trail looking for antlers that the grizzly attacked, charging them and chomping down on Lowry’s arm. Lowry, describing the incident to KSLTV 5, said:
“I saw bear crap all over, and I looked at Kenny and said, ‘There is a grizzly bear here.’ And right after I said that, the bear came out of the willows. It was thick. It came at me and charged me and tackled me off this cliff into this gulley and was going at me for a little bit.”
“It shook me around and I didn’t know what to do. I curled up in a ball and it got me a few more times.”
And that’s when Cummings, one of the other young men in the group, jumped into action and started beating up on the bear, kicking it and pulling its hair to get it off of Lowry.
He succeeded in that, though the bear was able to chew him up a bit as he fought it.
However, the brave gambit succeeded: Cummings was able to distract the bear enough that, after chewing him up a bit, it wandered off and left them alone.
The young men then received aid and help from a nearby hunter, who helped them reach the trailhead where they were aided by a rescue crew.
A scary incident to be sure, but also a testament to the grit and toughness of the young men. Despite being ambushed and mauled by an 800 pound grizzly, they were able to not only retain the wherewithal to fight back and help each other, but also the mental and physical fortitude to make it back to the trailhead and be evacuated by the rescue crew.
KSLTV-5 reported that Lowry also noted the bravery of his friends and the friendship bonds formed by such an attack, saying:
“Me and Kenny would both be dead if it wasn’t all four of us — if it wasn’t for Kenny pulling the hair, if it wasn’t for him (Gus) running up and scaring the bear away and not coming back for more. It was a team effort. We love each other. We’re going to be best friends for the rest of our lives because of this.”
Coming up at 5 on @KSL5TV: A wrestler from Utah attacked by a grizzly bear in Wyoming, he and his teammate who was also attacked spoke exclusively with me from their hospital in Montana. The young men say they’re alive today because of their teammates. #ksltv pic.twitter.com/CDGLgIbs9h
— Shara Park ✨ (@KSLSharaPark) October 17, 2022
Watch the report on the attack here: