Machine-aided arm wrestling tournament held here tonight

By Kari Brackett

Imagine an arm wrestling competition where competitors challenge each other through a machine.

NIU students will have the opportunity tonight to see or participate in a World Class Arm Wrestling Federation tournament at the Stadium Club, 1311 Lincoln Hwy., beginning at 7:30 p.m. The tournament will feature the new WCAWF wrestling machine.

The 47-day-old machine consists of steel grip bars, adjustable elbow pads and a grip for the free hand. The machine was designed to ensure fairness in the sport.

“In essence, the wrestling is still one-on-one,” said Mike Embrey, WCAWF vice president. “The machine equalizes pressure.

“Arm wrestling hand-to-hand has been around for years. It has always been a best-man sport. Some people may be in the same weight class, but an individual may have a larger arm. With the machine, there is no disadvantage,” he said.

Embrey also said the machine has electronic lights and bells to automatically tell who won.

Another specialty of the machine includes the ability to have team competition. It can include two men against two men, two women against two women or co-ed teams.

“It is kind of exciting,” Embrey said. “Couples can do something together, and it is fun.”

Embrey said this tournament is the fifth competition nationwide and the first one in DeKalb. He said there were many factors which determined holding the tournament here. One reason included leaving Chicago for a while. The organization has been in the city for two months and wanted to come out to the suburbs.

“DeKalb is a college town,” Embrey said. “We wanted to attract students and have them be aware (of arm wrestling).”

There will be two parts to tonight’s tournament. In addition to the nationally sanctioned competition, there also will be a special contest for fraternities and sororities.

“There will be a 3-feet high traveling trophy given to the fraternity and sorority with the most entries and who place the highest,” Embrey said.

The regular tournament will include competition from anyone who wants to enter.

“It is not muscle-bound,” Embrey said. “The wrestling will be by weight class.”

Men’s singles and men’s doubles will each have five weight classes. The women’s singles and doubles include three weight divisions. An entry fee of $5 is required for singles and doubles’ teams have a fee of $8.

Embrey said the winners of the sanctioned competition will receive collegiate rankings for state and national championships.