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RMWB Combative Sports Commission Members

Members of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Combative Sports Commission are:

Sandy Bowman (Chairperson)

Sandy Bowman

Sandy Bowman

Master Sandy Bowman has been a resident of Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo since 1992. He has over 36 years of Martial Arts experience in Taekwondo, Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts. He has experience as a coach, fighter and a promoter of the sport he loves. He is a seventh degree black belt in Taekwondo, trained by Grandmaster KH Min, a former Olympic Coach; a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, trained by Rodrigo Munduruca, a World Champion, and a brown belt in Miletich Fighting System, trained by Pat Miletich, a UFC Champion and Hall of Famer. Master Bowman was inducted into the RMWB Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Master Bowman has been instrumental in forming and getting a combative sports bylaw enacted in the RMWB. During his time with the RMWB Combative Sports Commission, he has overseen two successful events held at the Casman Centre in 2014. Most recently, he was a Sport Chair for Wrestling during the Western Canada Summer Games hosted in our region in August 2015. Previously, he was a ban substance chaperone for Winnipeg Combative Sports at several UFC events.

Master Bowman is very involved in the community in all aspects, and is an advocate of youth sports in the region. He is the President of the Fort McMurray Mixed Martial Arts Association, a non-profit-organization that provides funding for children in martial arts in Wood Buffalo. He is a volunteer in teaching stranger danger courses to students in the local schools. He also teaches ladies self-defense though martial arts school, as well as dry land training for several sports teams.

Rene Wells (Deputy Chair)

Rene Wells

Rene Wells

With a career in policing and safety that spans more than three decades, Rene Wells is a proud member and strong advocate of the RMWB Combative Sports Commission. A resident of Fort McMurray for the past eight years, Rene's interest in martial arts and combative sports was first sparked in 1985 when he took in what was originally billed "The Fight" between "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler and Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns. This short but highly entertaining middleweight bout saw Hagler, concerned that his match might be stopped because of a deep cut to his forehead, come out in the third round and maul Hearns, knocking his opponent out.

Rene is committed to ensuring that events held in our region provide entertainment value to their fans, in venues where contestants can pursue their passion and apply their skills in a safe and healthy environment.

Alex Wong (Treasurer)

Alex Wong

Alex Wong

Alex Wong was born and raised in Fort McMurray, and has been working at Suncor for the last 10 years — previously a Class 4 Power Engineer and currently Operations Maintenance Coordinator. Alex’s volunteer activities include time with the Food Bank, Northern Regional Health Foundation, Minor League Softball, and, most notably, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Western Canada Summer Games in Wood Buffalo and the Suncor United Way Campaign.

As a lifelong fan of Martial Arts, Alex has studied and researched many forms of self defence. Alex holds a Brazillian Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt under Rener Gracie and has travelled many times to Torrance, Calif., to train at the world famous Gracie Academy. Alex is one of only two Fort McMurray residents that hold a certified belt under the Gracie Academy Jiu Jitsu curriculum. He currently trains at Bowman’s MMA and has been a casual Brazillian Jiu Jitsu competitor, medalling in two of three tournaments. Alex has joined the commission to ensure events are held professionally and responsibly, and to help ensure the safety of competitors.

Phil Heinzelman (Member)

Phil Heinzelman

Phil Heinzelman

Phil Heinzelman has resided with his wife, Wendy, in Fort McMurray since 2009. Phil graduated with a BSc in Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Northern British Columbia and attained his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Saskatchewan. Currently Phil is a practicing dentist, working out of Fort McMurray Dental Centre, as well as his newly acquired Timberlea Dental Clinic.

Practicing in Fort McMurray for the past six years has allowed Phil to get in touch with many different aspects of the community. Aside from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Combative Sports Commission, he has been actively involved in both minor and men’s football in the region. A lifelong boxing fan, Phil has had the opportunity to travel to both Las Vegas and New York to attend various World Championship events as a spectator.

Jason Kent (Member)

Shannon Marten

Jason Kent

Jason Kent, a native of the Yukon Territory, has been residing in the RMWB with his lovely wife Jayne Ann and their three children since 2013.

Currently Jason is employed in the oil sands; however, has a background that consists of 17 years of law enforcement experience with Alberta Environment, Environment Canada and the RCMP.

Jason is also a certified Firearms Safety Instructor and Bear Awareness Instructor in the RMWB. An avid outdoorsman, Jason enjoys watching MMA and other combative sports. Jason looks forward to upholding the mission, values and vision of the RMWB Combative Sports Commission.

Shannon Marten (Member)

Shannon Marten

Shannon Marten

Shannon is a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation. Growing up she spent all of her summers in her home town of Fort Chipewyan, and at an early age she expressed an interest in fitness and helping people. She decided to combine the two ideas and aim to support people that were not confident enough to attend the gym on their own.

In college, she participated in various classes such as dance and movement, yoga, health and wellness, and fitness education. She was certified by the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association with a focus on group fundamentals. When not in school, she spent her spare time as a personal trainer helping primarily young female teens and adults familiarize themselves with the gym and learn workout routines.

Shannon also participated in boxing and kickboxing classes, initially spending two years with local Boxing club Sweet Science Boxing, and later spending three years at Bowman’s MMA training in kickboxing.

Shannon visited her hometown of Fort Chipewyan on several occasions and connected with the people, receiving continuous feedback on how the town was in need of sports and recreation programs for both youth and adults. With the help of Bowman’s MMA, she opted to move back home and start offering martial arts and fitness classes to youth and adults, and Bowman’s Fort Chip was created. In 2014, with sponsorship from local businesses and non-profit organizations, Bowman’s Fort Chip began to offer classes to youth and adults of all ages.

In addition to supporting martial arts in Fort Chipewyan, Shannon currently works with the local health facility to offer health promotion programing and events to discourage smoking and encourage healthy activities. In this position, she visits the school with coworkers to teach youth about the dangers of smoking, the reasons why sun protection is important, teeth brushing, young adult heath and more.

When she isn’t promoting health through various avenues, Shannon works with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Volunteer Fire Department. She has attended a number of emergency calls within Fort Chipewyan and worked alongside the firefighters of Fort McMurray and the volunteers across Canada during the wildfire in 2016. During that period she witnessed the true spirit of resilience by her home town.

As a newly appointed commissioner, Shannon hopes to support and promote the growing sport of martial arts to First Nations and Métis of Fort Chipewyan, and to all residents of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Himanshu Varshney (Member)

Himanshu Varshney has resided in Fort McMurray with his wife, Sangeeta and his two boys since 2007. He is a proud member and strong advocate of the Combative Sports Commission.

Himanshu is a professional engineer currently working with one of the oil sands operators in Fort McMurray, and his career in the Oil and Gas industry spans about two decades.

In the last 10 years, Himanshu has been in touch with many different aspects of the community. In the past he has acted as executive committee member for the Hindu Cultural Society of Fort Mcmurray and has also accepted several volunteer positions for various organizations.

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