Bicep Battles at the Big Apple Grapple

nycarms arm wrestling queens 2014

Joyce Boone, at right, would go on to reclaim her title. Consider this: she's 47. Her competitor, Ana Kenah, is 29.

nycarms arm wrestling queens 2014

She can wear her hair however she likes because no sane person would dare criticize it.

nycarms arm wrestling queens 2014

Boone beats another one.

nycarms arm wrestling queens 2014

Two women competitors square off.

nycarms arm wrestling queens 2014
nycarms arm wrestling queens 2014

There were almost as many cameras in the pit as there were gold chains in the audience.

April 27, 2014

I read last week there existed such a thing as an arm wrestling championship in NYC. This was to be the 37th Annual Big Apple Grapple. It was happening in way out there Queens, so I took a field trip up that way by car. I arrived in time to see the women's finals at the brilliantly named Cheap Shots. It's is a sports bar with low prices on drinks. That name is so layered.

I ordered Coors at the bar because nobody in sight was drinking anything fancier. I was not about to out myself as an dandy interloper in this community. I kept my fancy-ass camera in the car and used my little Sony instead so as to not draw attention. Not that this seemed like a dangerous environment or anything, but I didn't want to stand out as a random guy with better gear than the slingers in the wrasslin' pit. I think the best photos are taken when nobody's paying attention to the photographer. 

Joyce Boone, who won the title this year, came back from breaking her damn arm in 1997 ago. That's the kind of injury that usually prevents you from wanting to enter an arm-snapping competition like this and practically guarantees you're not going to win again. But Boone, also a grandma, is evidently an unstoppable superhuman. She's 44 and had no problem whooping the 27 year old who challenged her. 

“There are a lot of tough women out there,” Boone said. “I just love the sport." 

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