Brothers make clean sweep in stickfighting competition

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Stickfighting winner Oneil Odle, lifted in celebration by Ronald and Donald Lewis during the National Carnival Commission Stickfighting Finals at Skinner Park on February 7. – Photo by Daniel Prentice

It was a clean sweep for the Sixth Company Moruga Gayelle at the National Carnival Commission’s (NCC’s) national stick fighting competition in San Fernando on Wednesday night.

Oniel Odle, 33, copped the King of the Rock title and walked away with $30,000.

2024 National Stickfighting Competition winner Oneil Odle – Photo by Daniel Prentice

In second place was his brother Donald Lewis, 39, who won $20,000. Another brother, Ronald Lewis, 45, won $10,000 in third place.

Evon Ralph of Sangre Grande placed fourth and won $5,000.

The competitors showed their fighting prowess at the much-anticipated finals at Skinner Park, where hundreds of enthusiasts gathered to witness the action‑packed sport.

It was Odle’s fourth title, as he won three consecutive times from 2012-2014.

He said his latest win came as no surprise.

“It was very easy, because I knew I had already won in the spiritual form, and all I needed to do was to win the human form.”

The competition started shortly before 9 pm with a bout between Odle and Mark Quashie.

During his fights, Odle danced to the rhythmic sounds of live African drums and singing nearby.

Whenever he raised his bois or struck his opponent, supporters shouted things like: “Put him out, Peter Boy,” and, “Go easy, beater.”

The first blood was drawn at around 9.25 pm from Anderson Marcano as the crowd cheered. After that, several people were left bleeding, including the three victorious brothers.

Ralph went up against Anthony Cooper, and Ronald against Kevon Cooper.

Nearing the end of the competition, Odle fought against each of his brothers, winning both rounds.

To all the fighters, Odle said: “Strength and honour go to them. Warriors do not lose, and they do not give up.”

Odle said he suffered a broken finger, but continued to fight.

“My mindset is, it is just a finger. I cannot go home to my people with a finger broken and lost. I would rather go home, God forbid, in an ambulance.”

He said he had done a lot of exercises to prepare for the event, so he was ready.

Last year he was less successful.

“I stayed out of the arena last year and watched from home because of the judges’ decision. I won my two bouts, but the judges’ decisions were final.”

Last year’s winner, Selwyn John, did not make it to this year’s finals.

Odle said younger stick fighters are showing interest, and there were several new fighters in the arena this year.

“They shocked me with their styles. Some of them played like me. It leads me to think about how to play for them, but I have a style for them that is orthodox.”

Carnival characters, including whip masters from the Whip Masters band from Couva, as well as other jab jabs, provided entertainment.

Oneil Odle, left, squares up with Donald Lewis during the National Carnival Commission Stickfighting Final at Skinner Park on February 7. – Photo by Daniel Prentice