Tag Archives: New York Arm Wrestling Association

Queens men take home top prizes at sit-down arm wrestling competition


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Even Mother Nature couldn’t keep New York’s strongest from showing what they got at an arm wrestling competition in Flushing over the weekend, the city’s first sit-down tournament in 12 years.

The New York Arm Wrestling Association (NYAWA) held the NYC Sit-Down Arm Wrestling Championships on Sunday at Cheap Shots Sports Bar, located at 149-05 Union Turnpike. The event was the first sit-down arm wrestling competition in the past 12 years, according to Gene Camp, founder and president of NYAWA.

“It’s good to get back and it’s something new for some of [the competitors],” Camp said. “It really brings out the broad strength in people, to find out who the true winners are because people with signature techniques can’t really use them in this event because they are sitting down.”

Although the snow began falling before the competition began, more than 60 men and women flocked to the sports bar to show their strength and make it to the top.

The event, which was opened to all ages, featured individual categories for amateurs and pros, 45 to 50 years old and over, women, and right and left hand classes.

“I thought it was a great turnout. I didn’t expect this kind of turn out [because of the snow]. Some of the best arm wrestlers in the city and state were here today,” Camp said. “It was a good competition; there were some very good matches. It was exciting and the crowd was really riled up.”


Jason Vale, who grew up in Whitestone and now lives in Bellerose, was one of the competitors and top winners of the day. The 47-year-old has been arm wrestling with his right arm since he was 20 and in 1997 won a world championship.

During the sit-down tournament Vale earned two first place awards and was given the MVP Strongest Arm Right. He was also awarded a Captains of Crush Hand Grippers award, along with $100 cash prize, for strongest arm.

“It felt great competing again,” said Vale, who holds weekly arm wrestling practices at his home. “I just love it.”

Like Vale, Angel Cosme was another returning arm wrestling champ, who picked up the sport 15 years ago. The 48-year-old Flushing resident said he had been out of the game for three years and returned to help referee the match. He decided to compete in both the left and right hand categories and took home two first place awards and one second place.

“I feel good but I’m just tired,” Cosme said. “After being out for three years I know I need to start practicing again.”

David Milburn from Jamaica also took home a first place award in an amateur left hand category.

The NYAWA’s next competition will be the 38th Annual NYC Big Apple Grapple International on May 3. The location has yet to be determined.

For more information visit www.nycarms.com.


RECOMMENDED STORIES

Vegan arm wrestler wants to bust myth that men need to eat meat


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

When Forest Hills resident Rob Bigwood gave up meat to live a vegan lifestyle a few years ago, he was scared he would become weak.

Bigwood, 30, is an interactive art director in Manhattan by day and a professional arm wrestler by night. He has been competing in tournaments for more than a decade and aspires to be the best, but wanted to stop thinking of animals as just protein.

“I don’t feel it’s right to eat an animal when there are so many other options,” Bigwood said. “They don’t have a voice so I speak for them.”

Bigwood is now being featured among various accomplished vegan male athletes in a new documentary called “The Game Changers” by James Wilks, a former MMA welterweight champion and fellow vegan.

The concept of the film is to study whether males need to eat meat to be physically strong and the psychology of why eating meat is a requirement to be a “real man.”

Wilks and his film crew have traveled around the world to talk with various vegan athletes, including strongman Patrick Baboubian, who carried 1,216 pounds 10 meters, setting a new record; four-time NBA champion John Salley; and Andy Lally, a NASCAR driver who was the Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year in 2011.

“Our goal is to create a new vision of what eating plant food is like,” said Joseph Pace, creative producer and the script writer of the documentary. “There have been too many stereotypes like that’s something for weak people and women. Our deeper message is that it won’t make you less of a man to care about stuff.”

And Bigwood really cares for animals. His change to veganism began after seeing piglets at a farm. Later that day when he tried to eat a bacon and egg sandwich, he felt sick remembering how the pigs were like little puppies.

The arm wrestler dislikes factory farms and even that humans kill animals for clothing. His love for animals has actually had an adverse effect.

But Bigwood’s compassion hasn’t affected his ability. In 2011 he won the won the New York City Big Apple Grapple arm wrestling tournament and various professional arm wrestlers said that Bigwood has gotten stronger since his lifestyle changed. More surprisingly, they say, his stamina has also grown and he has become more difficult to pin. Despite all the benefits, some in the field said they said can’t make the commitment just yet.

“It’s the way to go if you can handle it,” said Gene Camp, president of the New York Arm Wrestling Association. “I personally cannot, because I still like a hamburger and I still like to have a steak.”

“The Game Changers” is set to be released across the country next year.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES