Evan Tanner 'King of Caprock' earned his crown


Column - Dave Henry: 'King of Caprock' earned his crown



Publication Date: 09/11/08

Before he became the ultimate tough man, Evan Tanner was a baby-faced 18-year-old who was the "King of Caprock."

That nobility was bestowed on Tanner during his senior year at Caprock High School, which he capped off on May 22, 1989 by winning the John McGuire Memorial Scholarship. Tanner took home a $500 scholarship from the Amarillo Downtown Kiwanis, awarded in the memory of former Amarillo ISD athletic director and Kiwanian John McGuire, who died in 1984.

Tanner died Monday at the age of 37, reportedly from heat exposure during a camping trip in the California desert.

Tanner had come a long way since 1989. Not only was he bigger physically, but he was big-time royalty in the world of ultimate fighting.

Tanner, with multiple world titles, was sort of a pioneer in the sport, which is just now starting to catch on in mainstream America.

However, Tanner was first the "King of Caprock" - and it isn't hard to see why.

Glancing at the files of McGuire winners through the years, Tanner's future success was apparent also.

As a kid, Tanner wrestled for the Maverick Club and was a two-time state champion at CHS. He set a then-district record of 15-6 in the pole vault and graduated with an 86 GPA.

Excerpts from nomination letters from then-CHS faculty show the person Tanner was:


  • "Evan Tanner will never settle for second place in any endeavor that he decides that he really wants to master. In some cases, Evan does not have as much physical ability as may be needed, but he compensates with his willpower and perseverance in order to achieve his desired objective. I have never coached an athlete who is more interested in gaining a higher education than Evan."

    - Track Coach E.C. Jenkins,

    April 28, 1989.


  • "Evan is the type of student who works harder than anyone else. He will not settle for second place in the classroom or on the athletic field."

    - Principal Rebecca Harrison,

    April 17, 1989.


  • "Four years ago, Evan knew absolutely nothing about wrestling. As a sophomore, he won as many matches as he lost. Then, by working out an additional two to four hours a day, Evan became a great wrestler. He is an example of how hard work and dedication created an all-American, rags-to-riches story. Evan has worked so hard, in part, because he has had so little most of his life. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of Evan's life as a wrestling coach."

    - Wrestling Coach Jerome Stewart, May 4, 1989.

    Even as a kid, Tanner gave signs to the inner strength that would lead him to success.

    The "King of Caprock" will be missed.

  • Nice article. Thanks for posting!


    nice post

     I was lucky enough to be at 4 of the fights shown in that first video. I had talked with Evan several times and no matter what the guy was always in a good mood and had something positive to say.