Hi Steve –
How long have you been
I’ve been tournament armwrestling for 32+ years.
I’m 45 and now compete in the Masters Division as well as the Open Left
Division at most tournaments. I
broke my right elbow/arm in 1996 and again in 1997, so it’s not as good as it
once was. Two right handed classes on the same day is too much stress, so I’ve
learned my limits.
How did you get started?
I grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington.
I would armwrestle my friends at school and my cousins and uncles at
family reunions. When I was 13 my
Dad had me doing the undesirable jobs on the farm, while the hired help were
busy with the more desirable jobs. I
went to my Dad and told him I didn’t think it was fair.
He said “Let’s armwrestle and if you win we’ll see about a
change.” We armwrestled, he won
and said “OK, get back to the field.” I
set a goal to beat my Dad at armwrestling, so in addition to the ditch digging,
bucking hay bales, sprinkler pipe changing and picking up rocks I began lifting
weights. Later that year I saw an
ad in the local newspaper for an armwrestling tournament.
I entered the Junior High School Division in the Heavyweight class.
I won that first tournament. Fran Ayers who was a
Women’s World Wristwrestling Champion put on that tournament with her husband
George. I had seen her on TV and
was quite impressed that I had met a world champion. I don’t think they even noticed me, but three years later I
entered the Pacific North West Championship that was held in Kennewick, WA.
The tournament was run by Doyle Clapper and sanctioned by the World’s
Wristwrestling Championship, Inc., which I had watched on “ABC Wide World of
Sports”. For me, this was my
first shot at big time Wristwrestling. They only had adult divisions, so I had
to convince my parents that I wouldn’t get hurt.
I had finally beat my Dad at armwrestling earlier that year and as he was
the best armwrestler I knew I felt I would have a good chance of at least
winning a few matches. I caught the Ayer’s attention at this tournament after
about 6 wins. People began asking who I was, and did I know whom it was that I
just beat? Apparently I was doing
great, because I had beat a good local champ.
I didn’t know enough to be afraid of losing. I was just taking each match one at a time and trying to do
my best. I ended up wristwrestling
the defending PNW Champion in the quarterfinals.
We locked up and armwrestled for almost 5 minutes. He beat me, I was
exhausted, but I had given it my best effort.
The Ayers invited me to their armwrestling practices and told me I needed
to learn some technique to go with my natural strength.
I didn’t get too serious about armwrestling until I
graduated from college and missed competitive sports. During High School and
College I would armwrestle during the summers at local tournaments in the PNW.
I was busy with football, wrestling and track in high school so I stayed
in good shape. I wanted to play pro
football until I seriously injured my shoulder in a motorcycle wreck. The MD put
me in a traction device for 6 weeks and told me football was not going to work
out for me.
11 World Championships, 5 right / 6 left
(including a rare “Double-Double” winning World
Titles in Wristwrestling and Armwrestling with both arms, the same year)
31 National Championships
Yukon Jack Regional Champion
Western U.S.A. Champion
Numerous State Championships including
Washington, Oregon, Idaho & Hawaii
1983 Sportsmanship of the Year
1992 Armwrestler of the Year
1997 Most Dedicated Armwrestler of the Year
To Russia, 95 & 96; Japan, 99; Finland, 2000; Italy
I host armwrestling practice at my home most Tuesday
nights from 7 – 9 p.m. We have a
number of World and/or National champs from Washington State that practice
together, including Jacob Abbott, Alan Bown, Wayne Fredrickson, Tim Storey,
Lance Whitehill, Mitch Cady, Andy Medak and Lance Kent. Most practices we have 5 – 20 armwrestlers.
I have found that “table time” is the key to being a good armwrestler
and “table time” with other good armwrestlers is the key to becoming your
best. I also know that without them
I would not have accomplished what I have in armwrestling. Sometimes practice
ends up being harder than the tournaments if you train correctly with a group of
guys like this and end up being lucky at the tournament. We make each other
better. I am happy to train armwrestlers and I feel that I am returning the
favor for those armwrestlers that took the time to teach me.
I lift weights 2 to 3 times a week and try to get
in 2 to 3 cardiovascular workouts on the treadmill per week. I focus on upper body weight lifting, with even more focus on
arms and forearms. I’ve developed
a number of different exercises and types of equipment for arm workouts out of
necessity. One of the simplest
solutions came about because I began injuring my wrists, when I got to the point
I was wrist curling 225lbs with the straight bench press bar.
I was strong enough to do sets of wrist curls but as my arms fatigued I
would lose balance of the weight and the weight would twist my wrist sideways
causing injury to the small muscles and connective tissue on the side of the
wrist. I went to the farm and cut
up a PTO shaft, which was just small enough to fit the Olympic sized plates yet
strong enough to hold a number of 45lb plates.
I then was able to center the weight and have progressed over the years
to the point where I now do wrist curls with 360lbs.
I also squeeze a gripper during the day, as I
drive from one sales call to the next.
ARMWRESTLING.COM- Dave Devoto (707) 537-7373
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