The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Dane Osen
For the Courier 

Arm and Hammered

Alley's Palace Plays Host


Dane Osen/For the Courier

Troy Vandall (l) squares off against John Brittain (r) in arm-wrestling festivities held Sept. 10 at Alley's Palace.

Alley's Palace hosted an open competition Sept. 10 for local arm benders to try their might against each other. In all, the tournament attracted 16 contestants, consisting of four women and 12 men.

This was my first time attending such an event. Expecting something more comparable to the 80s Sylvester Stallone movie "Over The Top," I was pleasantly surprised that it was nothing like that at all. Sure, there were guys arm wrestling, but the super-macho guys with testosterone in hyper-drive were not present. Although bragging rights were on the line, the contestants were generally just in it for fun.

The event, dubbed Frontier Arm Wars, was hosted and MC'd by Tony Thomlison, a super heavyweight professional arm-wrestler who has multiple state and regional championships to his credit.

Part of Thomlison's family moved to the area 15 years ago, and have remained motivational even from afar. The competition was an opportunity to visit them in Glasgow and share with them his passion, arm-wrestling.

In Thomlison's first tournament, he placed third in both left- and right-hand events. Since then, he has not only redeemed those defeats, but has beaten several nationally-ranked pullers. Thomlison is also currently the director in Colorado for the World Arm-wrestling League (WAL), and his group, Northern Colorado Arms.

Arm-wrestling matches are held on specially-equipped tables outfitted with a pad for competitors' elbows to be placed on, and another pad that marks when hand has been pinned. The action is fast-paced. With veins popping and adrenaline pumping, the bouts are quick and are over in five seconds or less, on average.

Arm-wrestling has been a popular barroom past-time forever, and with good reason. Nostalgia is not the sports' only allure. With the opportunity to blow off some steam after a long day at work, perhaps even with a friendly wager of the next round of drinks on the outcome, two guys can lock up and try to pin the others' wrist to the bar.

I think everyone probably has a tale about arm-wrestling. I know that I have mine, as I attempted to over-power my high school shop teacher for some extra credit points. I lost, pretty handily, but I always fondly recollect the experience with a smile.

What began as a barroom competition, the first organized arm-wrestling contests date back to the 50s. The competitions gained popularity and became a staple on the ABC television program "Wide World of Sports" in the 60s and 70s. Arm-wrestling is now a nationally-recognized sport, and due to motivated directors like Thomlison all over the world, it will soon be included in the Olympics.

This is the first year that Teddi Kelly and the crew at Alley's Palace have hosted such an event. Those brave enough to compete were given certificates and Alley's Palace apparel as a prizes. The hope is that many of this year's spectators will become competitors in future contests. This reporter is confident that it will become an event that locals will look forward to competing and spectating for years to come.

If you are interested and want to get more involved in the world of competitive arm-wrestling, Thomlison urges you to check out and like his Facebook page and his team page at "Northern Colorado Arms", "Mile High Armsports", or the "World Armwrestling League" page.


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