Canada's top arm wrestlers compete for national title in Charlottetown

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Published on May 18, 2014

The referee keeps a close eye on the action as Laura Clark, right, of Alberta, finishes off Jessica King of New Brunswick.

Published on May 18, 2014

Charlie McGeoghegan, right, defeats his brother Patrick in a bout Sunday afternoon.

Published on May 18, 2014

Ontario opponent takes out Morgan Clinton of P.E.I

Published on May 18, 2014

The referee signals a loss for Charlie McGeoghegan in his wrestle with a Nova Scotia opponent

Published on May 18, 2014

Charlie McGeoghegan, left, wins over fellow Islander Morgan Clinton.

Published on May 18, 2014

Patrick McGeoghegan of P.E.I goes down to defeat at the hand of a Nova Scotian opponent.

Published on May 18, 2014

Wrestlers from Nova Scotia, left, and Quebec go at it.

Published on May 18, 2014

Charlie McGeoghegan of P.E.I takes down his opponnt.

Published on May 18, 2014

Patrick McGeoghegan shows the strain as he takes on a Nova Scotia opponent

Published on May 18, 2014

Kendall MacDonald of P.E.I goes down to defeat against a wrestler from Alberta.

Published on May 18, 2014

Charlie McGeoghegan shows his stuff against Nova Scotia.

It takes a mix of strength, stamina and even speed to become a champion arm wrestler.

Canada’s top competitors in the sport flexed those skills during the 2014 national championship at the Rodd Royalty in Charlottetown over the weekend.

The weekend saw approximately 300 competitors from across the country in classes that included; open, junior, women’s, master and grand master.

“The classes are all really tight,” said Belfast’s Charlie McGeoghegan. “It’s all of the top competitors from across the country here.”

Athletes also faced off in a number of weight divisions for the chance to compete in the world championship this September in Vilnius, Lithuania.

McGeoghegan, who is also well known as an Island MLA and lobster fisherman, began arm wrestling in high school and placed second during his first provincial tournament.

“I was hooked after that,” said McGeoghegan, who has since competed at the world level six times and won the championship in 2003.

He said the sport, one of the oldest in the world, has seen a recent resurgence in popularity from the AMC show Game of Arms.

It has also helped shatter the notion that the sport is a test of strength only.

McGeoghegan said it also requires specific techniques.

“When you get to the national and world level, they all know the techniques. So it’s using which technique against which guy,” he said. “Speed is a big part of it. At this level, it’s stamina, speed and strength all mixed into one.”

Patrick McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I. Arm Wrestling Association and Charlie’s brother, described the sport as a game of leverage.

“So the higher you can get on the other guy’s hand, the better leverage you’re going to have,” said Patrick. “If you know the guy is really strong you try and get out on his hand. If you get his hand and wrist, then he’s not as strong.”

He said the resurgence in the sport has also been seen on P.E.I., with more getting involved in the local association.

“We even have some old guys who were doing it before that have started to come back,” he said. “There are a lot of good arm wrestlers here (on P.E.I.) we just have to get them all to come out and we’re set.”

P.E.I. is no stranger to hosting the national tournament, with the 2009 championship having been held in Summerside.

Returning to the province was a welcome venue for many of the competitors.

 “It’s a beautiful place to have it,” said Manitoba’s Ryan Espey, who didn’t compete in 2009 but had visited P.E.I. when the championship was held in Moncton.

Espey and Ontario’s Earl Wilson were two of the longtime arm wrestlers at the event, with a combined experience of more than 35 years.

The two had faced each other several times through the weekend, which isn’t uncommon.

Wilson said while every year sees returning faces, he has also noticed many new competitors.

“And faces you haven’t seen for a while, so you never know who you’re going to see here,” he said. “It is one of the purest hand-to-hand combat sports there is. No one gets hurt, generally, and everybody is happy and friendly. Mind you, when we get up to the table we’re mortal enemies until the match is over, but then we’re friends again.”



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Recent comments

  • Mitchell from Stratford
    May 19, 2014 - 11:42

    An interesting photograph of arm wrestlers at this cultural tourism event in Charlottetown. I expect the federal government and ACOA paid for 95 percent of the promotion costs under the cultural tourism program. This and others like it are ways and means of delivering food and beverage sales and hotel room rentals to bar and hotel owners in Charlottetown while sending the promotion costs to the proverbial OTTAWA ATM machine... A slick cover story if I ever saw one.... Congrats to the bar and restaurant proprietors of Charlottetown !!!!