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Meet Cynthia Yerby
World Champion


Hi Cynthia, how long have you been armwrestling?

Ten years.

How did you get started?

I live in Wolf, Oklahoma which is about ten miles South of Seminole.   Seminole has an Annual Celebration every June called "Gusher Days".   At this event the Seminole Firefighters held an armwrestling tournament.  In 1990 I entered their tournament and won.  I'm a college counselor and I had a student invite me to watch him armwrestle.  Well after his tournament he convinced me to challenge a lady in the crowd.  I did, I won, I was really hooked.  For the next two years, I was only armwrestling once a year and wanted to do more.  One day I was watching a movie called "PK & the Kid".  The movie was about an armwrestler traveling to Petaluma, California to armwrestle in the World Wristwrestling Championship.  After the movie was over, I got curious and called the Petaluma police department to see if there really was an armwrestling tournament held there.  He said yes and gave me Bill Soberanes's phone number.  I called and talked with Bill and his wife Jane.  They told me about the tournament and invited me to come.  On whim, I convinced my brother, Glen Harjo, to make the trip with me.  I couldn't believe I was actually there.

What Happened?

The day of the tournament, you could feel the excitement all around.  Armwrestlers from everywhere were there.   I was in awe of everyone.  Jane Soberanes had told me about the legacy of Dot Jones but I had never met her.  Well, I was browsing at one of the T-shirt booths when someone came up behind me and said "you must be the girl from Oklahoma, Jane said you were coming".  I turned around , looked up, and answered, Yes I am, hello.  Then she said, Hi, I'm Dot Jones.  After a big gulp, I said "yes, I know".  I told her I had heard she was a World Champion many times over and how it was a pleasure to meet someone so famous.  Guess who had to armwrestle early in the tournament?  I heard Denise Wattles say words that made my knees go weak and my stomach turn, "Dot Jones, Cynthia Yerby".  She beat me, but hey, I was proud to take that bronze medal back home to Wolf.

What have you done since then?

Up until 1997, I was only armwrestling once a year in the World's in Petaluma.  Every October my brother and sometimes even my sister, Christi and I would make our annual trek, and never came home with anything better than a bronze medal.  After battling cancer, my mom passed away in July 1997.  She was my biggest fan.  Even though she couldn't travel with us, she was always the first one we called after the tournament.  Oklahoma is two hours later than California, so sometimes it was one or two o'clock in the morning.  It didn't matter, she was always waiting by the telephone to hear the results.  One night, feeling sorry for myself because of my loss, I realized the Missouri State Tournament was coming up in just a few weeks so I decided to work harder and dedicate my armwrestling to my mom.  I won the Missouri tournament.  Six weeks later I won the World Wristwrestling Championship in Petaluma!!  It was a dream come true.   I remember one of the referees coming up to me and saying "It's about time".  He knew how many times I had tried.  Everything was perfect, except, I couldn't make that special call after the tournament.

Here's a list of events Cynthia has won.

1999    World Champion - Ladies Masters - World Armsport  Federation, Tokyo, Japan.  Silver medal in Right Open.

1998    World Champion - Ladies Masters - World Armsport  Federation,  Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

1998    World Champion - Ladies Open - World's                   Wristwrestling Championship, Petaluma, CA, USA   

1997    World Champion - Ladies Open - World's                  Wristwrestling Championship, Petaluma, CA, USA

1999     Oklahoma State Champion, OK.
Louisiana State Champion, LA.
Ladies Masters National Pro-Am Champion, Lake Tahoe, Nev.
Kansas State Champion, Bonner Springs, KS.

1998     Missouri State Champion, Farley, MO.
Kansas State Champion, Bonner Springs, KS.
Louisiana State Champion, LA.
Gold Bear International Sports Championship, Bronze Medal Winner, Moscow, Russia

1997     Missouri State Champion

1992    Oklahoma State Champion, Noble, Ok.

1992-96 World Wristwrestling Championship 6 Bronze medals

1992    Gusher Days Champion, Seminole, Oklahoma

There are so many people that have supported me that I would like to thank.  When I was down, Dave Devoto would say "Cynthia, don't give up, come back next year and try again".  I will always remember him for that.  Others are Denise Wattles, Leonard Harkless, Bill and Jane Soberanes,  "Wild Bill" Serpa, Marty and Norma Soven, Chief James Billie, Max Osceola, Jr., Moses Jumper, Jr., Mitchell Cypress, all of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  Also the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and especially all my relatives.   I have so many, there's not enough space to mention them all.  I can't forget all my friends at Seminole State College.



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