The Rodriguez Boxing Club in Chubbuck planned a big celebration and fundraiser on March 28 to mark its fifth year, but had to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And because the club essentially relies heavily on donations to stay open, it’s looking for alternative funding sources, according to club owners Jimbo and Lisa Rodriguez.

“We were going to kind of have an open house in May,” Lisa said.

They would have had food from a food truck and raffle off a bunch of items donated by businesses.

“We still have all the items, we just weren’t able to do it in May because of the stay-home order,” she said.

And since things aren’t back to normal, the event is still on hold.

“So we’re kind of just waiting on that to see if we’re able to do it this year or if we might have to put it off until next year,” Lisa said.

She said they’re not even sure if they did put it together that anybody would show up because a lot of people still don’t want to be in large groups.

And she said the summer is when they normally raise a lot of their funds from events, car washes and yard sales.

“So this year because we were closed in March, April, May and June we weren’t really able to get any funds,” Lisa said.

The club, which opened on March 13, 2015, does charge boxers to cover the cost of renting the building.

But the couple is hoping to pick up some additional funds through donations to their Citizens Community Bank account.

Plus they get other donations from businesses from time to time

And they’re pleased the club — which checks the temperatures of everyone entering the club and sanitizes heavily — was still able to open the first week of July.

The couple is glad to get their their boxers back, she said.

But Lisa thinks a lot of people don’t know that the club — which is at 4950 Yellowstone Ave. — even exists.

So it’s nice to have events where people can learn more about the club and how it functions.

“People think boxing club and they think of the movies where you’re just open and come in and hit the bags whenever you want,” Lisa said. “But we train more like a team.”

She said boxers will get in and jump rope before going out for a run. When they return, they rotate through different equipment, she said.

In all, the club has about 25 boxers who come in and out from day to day, Lisa said. And the boxers train for about an hour and a half a day.

Jimbo said they were lucky that all the boxers came back once the club reopened. Just one drawback: It’s difficult to find competitors from outside the club.

“So they’re training, but there’s no competition,” Jimbo said.

But they do occasionally get to spar against boxers from outside Chubbuck, and it’s a valuable program with impacts that resonate even outside the ring.

Jimbo says it helps the club members keep busy with something productive and that alone makes it worthwhile. Even though it’s not a moneymaker.

“I don’t get paid for this. It’s all volunteer,” he said.

He says he goes to his job, then comes back to the club because working with club members is fulfilling.

“I like watching them grow,” he said.

Jimbo, whose given name is Jaime, said he enjoys operating the club because it gives youths a positive environment and helps build self-confidence.

“It’s like a part of me, you know, with these kids, they come in here and they stay here with you for so many years,” he said.

In fact, he still has two boxers who have been with the club since it opened five years ago.

And Lisa noted how one 14-year-old female boxer at first just came to watch her brother train at the club, but didn’t want to get into the ring herself.

Still, after a while she started sparring and then competing.

“And now to see how much she has just grown and progressed in both boxing and then just outside of boxing,” she said. “You know it just gave her that confidence. So she’s just more open now and more talkative.”

Lisa said it’s fun to to see other club members — who come mainly from American Falls, Blackfoot, Aberdeen, Chubbuck and Pocatello — overcome their shyness.

“The parents will tell us you can see the difference at home and at school,” she said. “They feel so much more confident.”

Lisa said boxing is a competition that by its very nature develops that trait.

“It’s one of those sports that you can’t not be confident once you get going,” she said. “Once you start hitting that bag, it just empowers you.”

And it’s just plain fun, too.

For instance, Dulcey Burkman of Pocatello was 16 when she first started by helping the club out with a haunted house and then decided that boxing was something she wanted to do.

“I’ve been boxing ever since,” she said.

The 21-year-old, who’s at the club most days except for weekends, said she just enjoys it, even though she’s lost all five of her matches.

Plus it’s a good way to take out any frustrations, especially after a long day.

“It’s just how nice everyone is and it keeps me active,” Burkman said.

For more information about Rodriguez Boxing Club, visit rodriguez-boxing-club.business.site or call 208-760-0331.