Burly biceps from across the province will be congregating in Bracebridge next spring, when the town hosts a provincewide arm wrestling tournament.
Speaking to this newspaper on May 7, local professional arm wrestling coach Joey Costello said Bracebridge has won the bid to host the 2013 Ontario Provincial Arm Wrestling Championships. He said the announcement was made at the Ontario Arm Wrestling Association’s annual general meeting on Saturday, May 5, where Bracebridge strong-armed the tournament from rival bidders Petawawa and Windsor.
The event is slated to take place on May 4 at the Riverside Inn.
“It’s 100 per cent confirmed, I’ve talked to the Riverside Inn already as well,” said Costello. “It’s going to be great.”
Costello said he anticipates a large turnout to the event. The Ontario Arm Wrestling Association’s website describes the provincial championships as the most high-profile event of its type in Ontario.
“We’ll have the regular 100 to 150 (competitors) from out of town, and I believe we’ll have at least 50 or more in town,” said Costello.
Bracebridge’s participation in the sport has made it a strong prospect for hosting the championships.
Costello is currently looking to establish a professional arm wrestling instruction program at the Bracebridge Sportsplex through which to formally train local talent.
Bracebridge is also home to Ashley Maher and seven-year-old Jakob Chilton, a mother and son team of professional arm wrestlers who are already renowned competitors in the sport. This past weekend, Chilton and Maher came home from the provincial championships in Barrie with a bronze medal and a second-place finish respectively, just after winning another three medals at the Mike Gould Class arm wrestling championships in Toronto one month prior.
Costello said Maher’s dramatic history in the sport also gives local arm wrestlers a strong role model to follow. Having suffered a devastating injury to her left arm during a competition last spring, Maher bounced back to win a gold medal at a national tournament in September by competing with her right arm. She then went on to represent Canada at an international competition in eastern Europe last November.
Costello said he’s confident Bracebridge will have more than enough muscle to make an impressive showing when the provincial championships arrive in town next year.