DENVER (KDVR) — Four teammates journeying up a mountain never realized how their antler hunt would turn into a fight for their lives.
Orrin Jackson, August Harrison, Kendell Cummings and Brady Lowry went to the Shoshone National Forest Saturday to find shed antlers after their morning wrestling practice for Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming.
Cummings and Lowry were attacked by a grizzly bear on that hike southeast of Yellowstone National Park. It happened after the group decided to split up to cover more ground.
“We just started hearing screams for help. And at first, we couldn’t really make out what was being said and it caught us off guard for a bit because we’ve been calling out to each other just to make sure we knew where each other were,” teammate Jackson said in an interview with FOX31. Jackson grew up in Kersey and is a recent graduate of Platte Valley High School.
When Jackson and Harrison were finally able to meet up with Lowry, they were told he had been attacked by a grizzly and that the bear still had Cummings. Jackson said he grabbed a gun and called an emergency dispatch number.
“Main priority was we were gonna find Kendell. No matter what. Whether he’s alive, whether he’s dead, whether there’s a bear right there on top of him. We’re gonna find him and we’re gonna get him out of there,” Jackson said.
As luck would have it, Cummings was left alone by the bear long enough to make his way down the mountain. Jackson and Harrison met up with him on his way down.
“Immediately Kendell asked ‘How do I look?’ and August told him, ‘You look great buddy. We’re gonna get you out of here,'” Jackson said.
Cummings was airlifted to a Billings, Montana hospital and Lowry was taken to an area hospital. Lowry was later airlifted to the same hospital in Montana.
“Psychologically, you’ll never be prepared for something like that. I know we weren’t. It caught us off guard. You just have to stick to your instincts,” Jackson said. “It definitely strengthened the bond that I have with those guys. I love those guys to death. Every single one of them.”
Both Cummings and Lowry have been released from the hospital and are now recovering at home, according to Jackson. A GoFundMe has been created to support the injured wrestlers with their medical bills.