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Tanka fan Chase Young, 13, plans to be 1st Native American boxer to win Olympic medal

By Jason Stover, story, and photos by Thru Our Eyes

Follow Jason on Twitter @tankabar_jasond
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When Georgia McGaa told us that her grandson, Chase Young, a youth boxer who loves Tanka Bars, has set his sights on being the first Native American boxer to win an Olympic medal, we knew we had to share his story.

Chase, who is 13 and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, lives in Rapid City, SD, and has been boxing since he was 8 years old.

"I thought I would hate to see him box and get hurt, but because he doesn't get hit very much, I love watching him box," said Georgia, who is Tanka Bar's manager of inside sales and customer service.

According to Georgia, Chase has dreamed of being a boxer since he was 6 years old. Doyle McGaa, Chase's grandfather and Georgia's husband, participates a lot in his grandson's boxing career.

Doyle was instrumental in helping Chase begin his boxing career. "One evening, when Chase was barely 8 years old, Doyle took him to a boxing match in Rapid City," Georgia said. "The announcer, Ben Steen, a Native American from Rapid City, told the crowd that if anyone was interested in boxing or finding out more about the sport, to see him.

"Chase jumped off the bleachers and ran over to Ben Steen and begged him for the paperwork so he could start boxing right away. ... Chase didn't even bother to ask his grandfather if he could get the information, he just went for it!"

In his five years of boxing, the up-and-comer's record is 29 bouts with 25 wins and 4 losses. Last year, Chase made it to the regional finals in Rice Lake, WI, boxing in the 86-pound weight class. Chase, whose parents are Marty McGaa and Ira Young, is currently boxing in the 100-pound division.

Now fighting in the Junior Olympics at the Silver Gloves level, Chase boxes out of the Rapid City Youth Boxing Club and is coached by owner Eddie Martinez.

According to Georgia, his coaches feel Chase is a natural boxer with a lot of potential. The Rapid City club currently trains 25 to 30 kids. Chase trains Monday through Thursday 10 months a year.

Georgia said Tanka Bar can take a tiny bit of credit for Chase's success.

"After every boxing match, Doyle would stop at a convenience store to get Chase a snack," she said. "He started eating the Tanka Bars because of his Native heritage and really liked the taste. He would always beg his Grandpa to buy more and more because he said, 'They help my boxing.'

"He began eating them before working out and before the matches and honestly believed that they helped him win."

Georgia said Chase's family has high hopes for him and never misses a match. His mother, Marty, takes Chase to boxing practice every weeknight and Doyle helps Coach Martinez and the other kids work out. Dad Ira is pictured at top sparring with Chase.

"Doyle takes Chase home after every practice and always buys him his Tanka Bars," Georgia said. "Doyle has never missed one of Chase's boxing matches and plans never to miss a single one. Chase is very thankful for his family's support and it has helped to develop a very special bond between grandfather and grandson.

"I'm real proud of him, and I know he will go to the Olympics and do well because that is his dream."

For more information:
Rapid City Boxing Club
Thru Our Eyes photography
Georgia McGaa's bio


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