For the Patterson Irrigator
The Bud Light sponsored Arm Wrestling Tournament took center stage at the Apricot Fiesta last Saturday with at least 100 participants testing their strength in front of a roaring crowd of onlookers.
The competition was divided into five categories: Men’s Open Right, Men’s Open Left, Men’s Amateur Right, Men’s Amateur Left, and Women’s Right. Each category was then divided into weight classes ranging anywhere from the lightest class, 154 and under, to the heaviest, 233 and over.
As the event began in the heat of the day, an announcer known as Stop Sign Mac narrated comments about each contestant, pointing out differences between the beginners and the legends.
“Stop Sign Mac was my favorite part,” Judy Dodd, event chairperson and first-place winner in Women’s Open Right said. “He was amazing; he really entertained the crowd.”
Two referees manned the table at all times, watching from both ends to call fouls and name winners.
Before the first match, event promoter Bill Collins read the rules of the game and stressed the importance of safety in order to avoid injury.
Some of the participants were well-known fan favorites, while others turned out to be surprising upsets.
As every contestant approached the stage, each had a unique strategy in the hopes of claiming a victory and moving up through the brackets.
Some men seemed calm, standing firmly on the ground and smiling during the heat of the match. Others, on the other hand, gripped to any surface available and pushed their legs against the leg of the table in the hopes of finding some way to get an inch closer to winning.
Standing on the sidelines was life-long arm wrestling enthusiast and competitor Jack Adams.
“It’s more fun participating than watching,” Adams said, who mentioned he could not help but judge in his head each match that came on the stage.
Adams had a competitive career in arm wrestling for 42 years, winning the 2000 World Championships in the Master’s Division.
Noticing the intensity of focus that was exerted by the crowd, Adams commented on the universal enjoyment people find in arm wrestling.
“Everybody in the world has probably arm wrestled,” Adams said.
The competitive sport, however, is much more strategic and athletic than the amateur eye can see.
“My advice is don’t do it,” Adams jokingly said. “It hurts.”
Adams’ last comments contrasted the high energy, competitive atmosphere (filled with shouting, loud music, cold beer) as an overall unique culture.
“Arm wrestling is something you do, not who you are.”
The results are as follows, ordered from first to third in each category and weight class:
Men’s Amateur Right
0-154: Paul Silveria, Frank Carion
155-175: Vitality Palikor, Marc Soar, Vince P.
176-200: Mike Levin, Scott Sarren, Roman Piv
201-232: A.J. Sarren, Carlos Garcia, Dan Warren
233 and over: Erik Martinez, Joe Kendrick, Chris Reed
Men’s Amateur Left
0-154: Paul Silveria, Dean Barnwell
155-175: Vitality Palikor, Marc Soar, Erwin Gregorio
176-200: Scott Warren, Jon Pacaco, Daniel Stikes
201-232: A.J. Warren, Carlos Garcia, Joe Ramirez
232 and over: A.J. Warren, Matt Schesield, Robert Buantello
Men’s Open Right
0-154: John Pabo, Brandon Ryan, Derrick Saarez
155-175: Michael Cocchi, Alex Coleman, Todd Carol
176-200: David Owens, David Owens Jr., Michael Hendricks
201-232: Kenny Hughes, A.J. Warren, Dan Wardalw
233 and over: Kenny Hughes, Eric Martinez, Josh Saso
Men’s Open Left
0-175: Vitality Palikor, Alex Coleman, Michael Cocchi
176 and over: Kenny Hughes, Dane Nix, David Owens Sr.
Women’s Open Right
0-140: Judy Dodd, Jerrie Mcgraw, Kacie Dodd
140 and over: Judy Dodd, Jerrie Mcgraw, Margie Coleman