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State arm wrestling tournament celebrates anniversarySubmitted: 02/16/2019
Andrew Goldstein
Andrew Goldstein
Sports Anchor/Reporter
agoldstein@wjfw.com

State arm wrestling tournament celebrates anniversary
STEVENS POINT - Blink and you just might miss a whole match.

Wisconsin's state arm wrestling tournament defies almost everything you know about the sport.

"It's not the regular bar atmosphere, to arm wrestle," event organizer Steve Southworth said. "This is an organized sport."

The first thing you need to know is that arm wrestling isn't just for kids, although that tends to be how most of them get their start, including champion arm wrestler Malique Garcia.

"I started out in grade school," Garcia said. "I was arm wrestling at lunchtime and arm wrestling just about any time I could. I was always drawn to it."


The next thing you need to know? It's not just about brute strength. 

Arm wrestling is a full body sport. It is not isolated to one muscle group.

Garcia's team of Wisconsin arm wrestlers needed all their muscle groups when standing across the peg table from a team of Illinois strongmen.

After a match, wrestlers are quick to shake hands a little less aggressively.

"You get up there with any guy on the table and you might be enemies at the time but as soon as you get off the table, you guys are family," Garcia said.

The last thing you need to know about arm wrestling?

The friendships last much longer than the matches do.

"I can go to Georgia and call a guy and see if he wants to practice that day," Southworth said. "The arm wrestling community throughout the whole United States is just awesome."

Almost 100 arm wrestlers of all different ages signed up for the state championship.

The tournament celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.


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