World Arm Wrestling Championships exceeds all expectations, puts Mesquite on the map internationally
In what was this city’s most unique event ever, the 2010 World Arm Wrestling Championships wrapped up a four-day run Saturday at the CasaBlanca Event Center attracting more than 1,300 competitors from 40 countries.
Combining the color with the allure of world-wide attention, the Olympic-like gathering featured countless classes for everyone including boys and girls, men and women and handicapped. Considered the largest arm wrestling event in the history of North America, another 600-700 from Middle East countries would have made the trip had they been able to secure visas.
Russia led the onslaught of long-distance travelers mounting 302 points behind 109 entrants to beat the USA (258) and Ukraine (197). No one will ever forget the opening ceremonies at the CasaBlanca Event Center Wednesday, Dec. 8 when a member of the Russian team proclaimed during an interview “We’re going to kick butt.”
However, everyone was a winner in this special event ranging from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas to the car rental companies needed for the 80-mile trip to Mesquite; along with the city of Mesquite which was bustling during what otherwise would have been a slow month.
From the promoter Bill Collins of Los Banos, Calif. to every Black Gaming executive and the long list of competitors of all ages, the 2010 World Arm Wrestling Championships drew rave responses for an action-packed four days that turned this city 80 miles north of Las Vegas into a true Olympic Village.
“It went much better than I expected,” said Collins, himself a competitor in Mesquite and the founder of the National Arm Wrestling Foundation in Northern California. “As far as the support and the participants, we were hoping for 900 participants– and we would have had another 600-700 above our final number had it not been for the fact that the arm wrestlers from the Middle Eastern countries could not get their visas.
“This was a home run, for sure.”
Announcer Keith Koenig, who is also the president of the BC Armwrestling Association in Kelowna, BC Canada, lauded the event.
“I think it was very well organized,” said Koenig.
German world champion Petra Spatz also praised the event.
“We had a lot of fun here,” she said. “Everything was prepared very well.”
Among the many that drove to the event was Laurelle Borstmayer, who followed her three children in the competition. With sons Jared, 19 and Jayden, 13; along with daughter, Lacey, 17, Mrs. Borstmayer and her family were visiting their third World Arm Wrestling Championship.
“We were at the one in Kelowna, B.C., Canada in 2008 and near Venice, Italy in 2009,” said Mrs. Borstmayer, whose family made the 3,000 kilometer drive from Saskatchewan, Canada to Mesquite in 24 hours. “It’s nice and warm here and that’s really nice considering that it’s 20 below at home right now.
“I like Mesquite. I have seen many of the same people here many times.”
The Borstmayers own a mixed farm growing grain while also raising beef cattle. The work is tireless, but the family could not imagine missing the 2010 World Arm Wrestling event; although father and husband, Kevin, had to stay home to take care of the farm.
“There is not a lot of sponsorship available at home, but the only real cost is related to travel,” Mrs. Bostmayer said. “There’s not that much equipment required, and the kids lift weights, do pull ups and the rest to stay in shape. The memories are endless and the people we have met have been fantastic. We have made contacts with people from all over the world. It has been great.”
Mrs. Bostmayer said the sport of arm wrestling has taught each of her children discipline.
“They don’t drink, they don’t smoke and they remain focused on the sport of arm wrestling,” she said.
Italian Claudio Rizza said he loved Mesquite and the event presented there adding that it was very cold at home.
“We love it here,” he said.
Anna Hedman and Per Nklas Ulin of Sundsvall, Sweden came to see a relative compete. Dressed in Norwegian hats, they might have been the most enthusiastic fans in the audience of the CasaBlanca Event Center.
“We got stuck in a snow storm in Denmark,” Anna said. “So this was really nice seeing weather like this.”
South Africans Gert Scheepers and Schelna Jones said they not only like the weather but the people of Mesquite, too. They also got married in Las Vegas during the trip.
“I have yet to find a rude person here anywhere in Mesquite,” said Mr. Scheepers adding that the airline trip took 34 hours. “This is a very friendly city. I had never heard about Mesquite before this.”
Schelna added, “People here really make you feel welcome here.”
Akmal Khudaberganov, a truck driver in New York representing Uzbekistan, was also quick to laud the event.
“The hotel accommodations and the rest were awesome,” he said.
Fort Wayne, Ind. Resident and United States team competitor Andrew Abraham Rhodes – known as Cobra – pointed out that many other countries help their competitors with expenses.
“It’s different in foreign countries,” Rhodes said. “Athletes in the United States don’t usually receive help for travel.”
Future World Arm Wrestling Championships dates are set for Kazakstan, Brazil and Poland with hopes that it will return to Mesquite in 2015.
Further information can be found at www.2010usaworlds.com or www.casablancaresort.com.
Future events presented by Black Gaming include the Nevada Senior Open golf tournament Dec. 13-14; the Nevada Open golf tournament Dec. 15-17; the Mesquite Open Dutch Oven Cookoff Jan. 7-8; Mesquite Motor Mania Jan. 14-16; the Smokin’ Big Chili Challenge Jan. 16; and the Golf Fore Life golf tournament Jan. 16.
CAPTION: The CasaBlanca Event Center looked like an Olympic stadium Dec. 8-11 when the 2010 World Armwrestling Championships came to Mesquite attracting more than 1,300 competitors from 40 countries. Russia captured the overall title.
Contacts: Christian Adderson, Black Gaming sporting events manager, 888-711-4653, ext. 15; Mike Henle, The Idea Company Public Relations, 702-279-3483.