Wrestling community plans benefit tournament for Marengo coach's family after house explosion

The McHenry County area wrestling community is rallying together to support Marengo varsity wrestling coach Tim Keefer and his family, who lost their home when the house next door exploded early June 11 in Marengo. 

Marengo Community High School will host a benefit wrestling tournament for the family Sunday, June 25. Wrestlers of all ages are welcome to compete. Entry is $20, and admission for the event is $5. 

All proceeds will benefit the Keefer family. 

Tim Keefer has coached at Marengo for the past 17 years. He, his wife, Kim, and two of their children, Austin, 19, and Hailey, 17, were at home when their neighbor’s house exploded around 5 a.m. June 11.

The Keefers' home was one of 18 homes deemed uninhabitable after the explosion. More than 30 homes in total were damaged. 

Marengo assistant wrestling coach Chad Miller is organizing the benefit tournament and hopes the wrestling community will show its support for the Keefers. 

“So far the response has been awesome,” Miller said. “That’s the only word I could use. I’ve had state officials contact me who are willing to come out and ref at no cost. It’s been overwhelming. 

“Several youth wrestling clubs and high school wrestling coaches have reached out to me. I don’t know where our numbers are going to be, but based on responses, it’s been pretty good so far.”

The Marengo wrestlers also took it upon themselves to sell T-shirts to benefit their coach. Miller said the Keefers are staying at a hotel in Woodstock. 

“They’re handling it, but, obviously, it’s a struggle,” Miller said. “They’re meeting a lot of insurance people, things like that. But they’re getting along.”

Miller said he has reached out to coaches across the McHenry County area and beyond. He has even heard from interested teams as far away as Iowa and Michigan. 

Weigh-ins begin at 6:30 a.m., with wrestling starting about 9 a.m. 

Donations to support all of those affected by the home explosion in Marengo are going through the nonprofit Marengo area OutReach Enterprises.


When: Sunday, June 25

Where: Marengo Community High School, 110 Franks Road, Marengo, IL 60152

Weigh-ins: 6:30-8 a.m.

Start time: Approximately 9 a.m.

Entry fee: $20

Admission: $5

Insurance: Each wrestler must provide his own insurance and sign a waiver. Waivers will be available at the door.

More information: Call Chad Miller at 815-405-7693 or email cmiller2112@sbcglobal.net. 


What: All donations to help those affected by the home explosion in Marengo are going through the nonprofit M.O.R.E. Center.

Where: The M.O.R.E. Center, 829 Greenlee St., Marengo

Send checks to: Checks must be written out to the M.O.R.E. Center and have “Marengo Disaster Fund” in the memo line. Checks should be mailed to the M.O.R.E. Center, 829 Greenlee St., Marengo, IL 60152

Other donations: Nonperishable food, clothing and small appliances can be dropped off at the M.O.R.E. Center from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Friday.

Website: marengomorecenter.org

Phone: 815-568-7950

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