BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
WOODS CROSS – The Kingdom Training Center here planned a wrestling camp for next Monday that would focus on aggressiveness, good positioning and brute physical strength С “Iowa-style.”
After the tragic injury of a fellow wrestler, however, big hearts are stealing the show.
Ben Kjar, owner of the Kingdom Training Center and a former Utah Valley University wrestler, changed the focus of the camp after he learned about the injury.
Rusty Lofthouse, the brother of Iowa coach Luke Lofthouse, was hurt while helping his family build a new home through a government-aid program.
He fell while bailing hay, and the accident left him with broken bones and gashes all over his body. “I know he broke both of his feet and a couple ribs on both sides,” said Kjar. “There’s also some liver damage and a pretty big gash on his head. We’ve been told that he won’t be able to work or walk for about six months.”
Lofthouse, a pretty good wrestler in his own right, survived the event, and his neighbors spotted him lying on the ground. He was air-lifted to Intermountain Medical Center, where he had multiple surgeries and extensive therapy.
He and his famiy had planned to move during that time, but outside portions of the house such as landscaping still weren’t completed.
That’s when the story gets a little better, said Kjar.
Lofthouse is a coach on the Mountain Crest High School football and wrestling team, and when word spread about his condition, some of his students jumped in to help finish the project without skipping a beat.
So far, the house is close to being done, and Kjar said that it’s a all due to the wrestling community.
“(Rusty) is one of the most charitable people I know, and he’s just a great person to be around,” said Kjar. “When some of his wrestlers and football players heard about what happened, they just stepped in and finished some of the things for that house, which is a testament to the students there and community as a whole.”
The camp starts next Monday, July 29, at the Kingdom Training Center, located at 1431 S. 1800 West. It was supposed to cost $250 per person, but organizers want more people to join in order to benefit Rusty Lofthouse, so cut the price to $100.
“People can choose to donate as much as they want, but the price of the camp was reduced and we’re hoping more people will sign up,” said Kjar. “Even if they don’t want to attend the camp but they want to help us out, they can donate to our 501-3(c) program as well.”
The majority of the proceeds will go toward Rusty’s recovery, said Kjar.
The camp will run for five straight days and will be headed by both Kjar and Luke Lofthouse, a wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. Both Kjar and Lofthouse earned All-American honors as wrestlers.
The camp is already receiving some local help from Autosource Motors and Go Natural CNG, which will give away free items at the camp.
To sign up, visit benkjar.com. Donations will also be accepted there as well.
“We’re really hoping for a good turnout,” said Kjar. “Rusty is a great guy and we want to help him out as much as we can.”
Editor’s note: Rebecca Palmer contributed to the reporting for this story.