Tue. Feb 27th, 2024
During the Arm Wrestling Championship at the 40th annual Patterson Apricot Fiesta, 70 contestants from around the state took their turns standing at a small, wooden table on a square wooden platform. The explosive bursts of strength gathered spectators in a rin around the stage and in three sets of bleachers to watch competitors go head-to-head, well arm-to-arm actually. The matches ran continuously, most taking only seconds to complete.

Competitors gripped their opponents’ hands with one hand and pulled on handles with the other, their faces distorted in maximum effort trying to pin each other. Sometimes the speed of the contests surprised first-time spectators.

“Was that it?” asked on-looker Sara Fielder after one match. “Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it,” she said to a friend.
Judy Dodd (pictured above) won the women’s open title in the 0-to-140-pound division, and Sarah Carter took the women’s open 141-and-over competition.
Arm wrestling is no longer simply a barroom pastime; there are several national associations for amateurs and professionals.