1997 South Carolina State Armwrestling Championships
Sand Dollars Royal Saloon & Casino
Surfside Beach, South Carolina
November 8, 1997
by Denise Wattles
Having never been to South Carolina and never having a tournament less than 1000 miles from South Carolina, I didn't quite know what to expect at the first annual South Carolina State Tournament but the turn out of armwrestlers was fantastic! Our sponsor, the Sand Dollars Royal Saloon & Casino had "gone all out" for this event and everyone had a great time. The support of the many first class armwrestlers was greatly appreciated and we are looking forward to the second annual tournament in November of 1998. I had heard rumors of how good the armwrestlers are in "the east" and they proved all the rumors to be true. They are EXCEPTIONAL armwrestlers and gentlemen also. I had met Fritz Corry and Chad Silvers in Virginia at the WAF World's and was glad to see them in attendance at one of the USAA tournaments as they are top contenders in the World in their respective weight classes. Over 70 contestants came to "strut their stuff" at this event. Classes were offered for beginner/Novice armwrestlers in addition to the Professional money classes right & left handed. In addition over 300 spectators paid $5.00 each to see exactly what armwrestling looks like at its best.
Competitors came from as far away as Florida and Georgia to compete for the over $1500.00 in cash & prizes that were awarded at this tournament. In addition to the cash for 1st and 2nd place right-handed and 1st place for the "lefties" and ladies, each 1st place winner received a trophy and Champion Polo shirt. The Sand Dollars Royal Saloon & Casino had also donated T-shirts and caps for all the first place champions. Trophies were awarded through third place in all the classes. The beginner/novice classes winners were awarded custom plaques through third place also. Each entry also received a tournament T-shirt or cap for their entry fee. John Ottarski was in attendance and took second place in the Left Hand Open Class after heated matches with Bob Sutton in the finals. John had beat Bob won the 1st match in the finals which meant they had to wrestle again to determine who would take home the Title, money, trophy and Champion Polo Shirt. I had read about John in MILO Magazine and also in the book "Mastery of Hand Strength" and he is a very impressive "strength master" and armwrestler. Bob Sutton was thrilled to have beaten John and capture the title in the Left Hand Heavyweight class.
The most intensive matches of this tournament were between Mike Tucker & Fritz Corry in both right and left hand classes. The entire crowd of armwrestlers and spectators involved themselves in these matches cheering for who they felt should come out the victor. Both men are very experienced armwrestlers and used all their knowledge on the table to try and win the titles. Mike Tucker came home with second place finishes in both the right & left hand 177-198 pound classes after some very tough matches. It wasn't until I visited with Frank & Karen Bean after the tournament that I was told that Mike & Fritz are workout partners. You could've fooled me! It is nice to see that friends can be so competitive on the table and still go home as friends. Matt Harris was also a double title winner with winning both the right & left hand 155-176 pound classes against some of the best competition I have seen. In all of the tournaments I have attended I have never seen such a Heavyweight class like the one in attendance here. David Randall seemed to win this class fairly easily even though he had to go through the ranks which included Mike Davis, Andy Fuller, Bob Sutton and Robert Richardson. He definitely had his work cut out for him! After the competition in the regular weight classes the USAA always runs an Overall Champion competition for the Men's right and left hand winners and also the Ladies Right hand winners. The winner of each weight class wrestles, starting with the heaviest class winner and working down, every other winner (single elimination) and the man, or woman, still undefeated is the Overall Champion. During the Overall competition David Randall had won all his matches until he got to William Sanders, the 132# Champion. After the many tough matches David already had, during the tournament & Overall competition, William had the advantage of coming in as the fresh wrestler and "pulled" the Right Hand Overall title away from David. The crowd went crazy at this turn of events. Chad Silvers was the victor in the Left hand Overall competition and showed all exactly how it should be done. Karen Goncalves had to wrestle her daughter, Andi Dempsey , and Donna Carmichael the 0-121# winner from Florida to capture her Ladies Right Hand Overall title. There was nothing missing from this tournament. The atmosphere and prizes for the competitors were outstanding and the United States Armwrestling, as promoters, had the best of the best in the armwrestling world. A special thanks to the Sand Dollars Royal Saloon & Casino for all their hard work in providing the perfect location and accommodations to hold a tournament of this caliber.
ARMWRESTLING.COM- Dave Devoto (707) 537-7373
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