Eau Claire plays host to national arm wrestling championships - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire plays host to national arm wrestling championships

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - More than 200 people from across the country gathered in Eau Claire this weekend, looking for a chance to be named a national champion. At what sport? Well, that would be arm wrestling.

"We've got people from eight years old all the way up through I think probably the oldest competitor here is in his early seventies," said Simon Berriochoa, United States Armwrestling Federation President.

They come in all shapes and sizes; arm wrestlers looking for glory in Eau Claire this weekend at the United States Armwrestling Federation Unified National Armwrestling Championships.

"The basic setup for arm wrestling is a fair grip where you can see each other's thumb knuckles, the hands are free, the wrists are uncocked, they're nice and straight, elbows are on the elbow pads, opposite hand is on the hand peg, shoulders are squared," explained Berriochoa.

There are plenty of intense faces during the competition, and for good reason. Harold Owens has been working at this for 17 years, and has spent a long time preparing for this weekend.

"I've been training since January for this event. So it takes quite a bit of effort, from weight training, dieting, and working on speed, power, and endurance. You may need to trigger one of those or two of those, or all three in some instances," said Harold Owens II, who came to compete from Carmel, Indiana.

So what's the hardest part of going for number one?

"The butterflies, of course. And once you get a match under your belt it helps kind of get in the flow of things. You know, the anticipation," said Richard Lupkes, a former world champion from Rushmore, Minnesota.

The top two finishers in each category of the double elimination tournament earn the right to claim a spot on the United States National Team. But first, they have to prove they're worthy right here in Eau Claire.

"It's a lot of hand strength, wrist strength. To me that's where it starts. And then it goes from there up into your arm," Lupkes said.

The event wraps up tomorrow at noon with the upper age group competitions beginning at Noon. The event is held at the America's Best Value Inn.

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