Rides didn't bring Michael Walden to the Columbia County Fall Fair. Neither did games, food or exhibits that drew hundreds of other people during the weekend.
He came to test his muscle.
The 2003 Georgia State Arm Wrestling Championship was Saturday at the fairgrounds. Walden was among 30 men and women competing in the double-elimination tournament.
"I read about it, and it looked interesting," said the 20-year-old Appling resident. "I arm wrestled in high school with my friends in the lunchroom and in the gym. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I did my share of winning. I wanted to take it to another level."
Walden competed in the novice class. Some professionals also competed in the U.S. Wristwrestling and Armwrestling Association sanctioned tournament.
"We've got a novice class so people that have never arm wrestled before competitively can see what it's about," said Denise Wattles, president of United States ArmSports, which put on the tournament. "A lot of people think it's all about brute strength. In reality, it's 90 percent technique."
The tournament was the idea of Augusta resident Nicole Cisco, the No. 1 ranked women's arm wrestler in the country.
"I'm tired of always traveling to Carolina or Florida to compete," Cisco said. "Georgia doesn't have any arm wrestling tournaments. I felt like we needed something to fill that gap."
Here were the winners in each class:
Mens Right Hand Open
0-154 lbs. - Jason Bushnell, first place; DJ Rayfield, second place
155-176 lbs. - Lee Culpepper, first place; Michael Walden, second place
177-198 lbs. - Stump Burton, first place; Jay Holloway, second place
243+ lbs. - David Skinner, first place; Stump Burton, second place; Jay Holloway, third place; Johnny Murrah, fourth place
Ladies Open Right Hand
0-143 lbs. - Casi King, first place; Julie Hullum, second place
144+ lbs. - Nicole Cisco, first place; Martha Hullum, second place
Mens Open Left Hand
0-154 lbs. - Jason Bushnell, first place
155-176 lbs. - Lee Culpepper, first place; Daniel Worley, second place; Jason Bushnell, third place; Joe Dando, fourth place
177-198 lbs. - Jay Holloway, first place; Sam Johnson, second place
243+ lbs. - Johnnie Murrah, first place; Jay Holloway, second place; Sam Johnson, third place
Mens Novice Right Hand
0-154 lbs. - DJ Rayfield, first place
155-176 lbs. - Michael Walden, first place
177-198 lbs. - Jeff Franek, first place; Sam Johnson, second place
199+ lbs. - Matt Murrell, first place; Phillip Aderhold, second place; Johnny Murrah, third place; Jacob Meador, fourth place
Mens Right Hand Overall Champion: David Skinner
Mens Left Hand Overall Champion: Johnnie Murrah
Ladies Right Hand Overall Champion: Nicole Cisco
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