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Wyoming wrestler who saved teammate during grizzly bear attack gets national honor

Cummings
Posted at 5:44 PM, Mar 25, 2024

POWELL - Kendell Cummings, the Wyoming wrestler who rescued his college teammate during a grizzly bear attack, was recently recognized with a national award.

The award, called the Carnegie Hero Fund, is considered to be the highest civilian honor for heroism on the continent, according to the group's website. It recognizes those who risk their own lives in an attempt to save another.

Cummings was one of 17 selected for the award. He will receive a medal as well as a sizable financial grant at a banquet later this year.

"I thought it was pretty crazy when I was even being considered," Cummings said in an online interview Monday afternoon. "I didn't even know what to say."

The award would never have been given had it not been for the attack on Oct. 15, 2022. That was the day Cummings and his friends surprised the bear, and he said it's a day he'll never forget.

"It was like unreal almost," Cummings said. "It was so crazy. You just never expect that to happen."

Cummings recounted the incident Monday, which began when he and three other teammates were shed hunting in the Shoshone National Forest. Cummings and one teammate, Brady Lowry, were split up from the group when suddenly a grizzly bear came out of the forest lunging at Lowry.

Without a second thought, Cummings jumped into action to try and save his friend.

"I jumped down there and grabbed the bear," Cummings said. "I pulled it off of Brady and then the bear started attacking me. There wasn't a whole lot of thought or anything. It just kind of happened."

Both Cummings and Lowry suffered serious injuries, but miraculously both men have since recovered, even managing to make it back on the wrestling mat in just six months.

"It was awesome, and I'm super grateful," Cummings said. "It's been awesome watching Brady do what he did."

Lowry ended up earning All-American status, which means he was one of the top eight wrestlers in his weight class at the national tournament.

Cummings was able to compete again for Northwest College in Powell this year. While he didn't qualify for the national tournament, he said his recent accolade along with Lowry's success makes the whole ordeal worth it.

"It feels good to know that people recognize that it was a good thing," Cummings said. "Maybe it can help inspire some people to do the same some day."