The Airdrie Martial Arts Centre (AMAC) is set to put on another evening of hard-hitting Muay Thai action Dec. 2, when it presents Trial By Fire 5.
Since its inception in 2015, Trial By Fire has become a cornerstone event for the AMAC, promoting local talent and bringing in competitors from across North America.
“In the first couple (events) there were lessons to be learned. By the time you get to five, you start to get a good handle on how to promote and how to accommodate the viewers,” said co-owner and instructor Luis Cofre. “This is a good thing for the city…and it’s important.
“We expect (Trial By Fire) to grow from here.”
Cofre added the event has been getting bigger as he gets more comfortable with promoting it.
The first two Trial By Fires were held in Calgary, while the third was held in Crossfield. Since then, the event has moved to Airdrie and has been hosted at the AMAC’s current location on Gateway Drive.
Although Cofre said he would like to take the event back to Calgary, he enjoys hosting it in the fighter’s hometown and feels the community support has grown.
“It just makes the most sense to do it in town,” Cofre said. “This is our home and where our fighters train out of.
“We need to slowly introduce (the sport) to the city and let the city know there is a fan-base for it.”
The event will be headlined by a full Muay Thai contest between Tyson Green, out of Edmonton, and Winnipeg’s Jules Beardy, fighting at 165 pounds.
In addition to the main event, there will be three local competitors stepping onto the mat.
In the co-main event, Austin Rodrigue will be taking on Red Deer resident Braeden Rice and fellow 18-year-old Manuel Cofre faces off against Devon Littleshields of Calgary.
Both Rodrigue and Cofre took part in the 2017 National Muay Thai Canada National Championships in Toronto in early November.
Co-owner and instructor Vanessa Bellegarde said having both Rodrigue and Cofre compete as often as they have has been beneficial for their growth as athletes.
“They’re at the age where they need structure and need to stay in camp,” Bellegarde said. “It’s good for them to train, go into camp, fight, take a week off and then get back into it.
“We wanted to keep them busy from August until this event, then give them a month off.”
The third local contest will see 15-year-old Hailey Ellahi compete against Brenna Jardine from Campbell River, B.C., in an exhibition contest.
Tickets for the event are $40 each and can be purchased at AMAC or online at eventbrite.ca by searching “Trial by Fire 5.”
There are alternative prices for children and those tickets can be purchased at the martial arts centre.
Doors open at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 and the event kicks off at 7 p.m.