Flashback Friday: Arm wrestling competition in 1977

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It is championship season here in KELOLAND, with the state wrestling tournament wrapping up last weekend, and The Summit League tournament tipping off this weekend.

In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 1977 and show you the competition to crown an arm wrestling champion.

Arm wrestling used to be a simple test of male brute strength, usually conducted in bars, with the bravest contenders insisting on burning cigarettes at each end of the table to make the agony of defeat even more painful for the loser. But things have changed. Arm wrestling has come of age and even includes women’s matches. Al Joosten of Tracy, MN, a 2-time state champion and third best arm wrestler in the country, has brought his regulation electronic arm wrestling table to Sioux Falls. Perched atop his 3-inch platform shoes, worn for leverage, Joosten explains a little about the sport that continues to grow in popularity.

“Doug, there’s a lot of technique involved in it. Most of the opponents try to get up and over their opponent like this to get down, get the arm to touch the pad. Just brute strength, trying to push someone over this way, it doesn’t get it.”

The arm wrestling championships will be held in the continental room of the downtown Holiday Inn. Match-ups will be in 5 weight classes for men and with only one class for women contenders. Two trophies will be awarded for each class. Weigh-ins will be at 12:30 p.m., with the grunts and groans starting at 2 p.m.

“Got your big shoes on, we’re about the same size. Should we try it once. Now, you promise not to break my arm.” “Okay, Doug.” “Let’s try it”

Doug Lund, KELOLAND News, Sioux Falls.

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