World Wristwrestling Championships

World Wristwrestling Championships

Second Saturday of October
These competitions are the original world championship matches in wristwrestling, which is similar to but slightly different from armwrestling. The one-day competitions, held in Petaluma, Calif., since 1962, originated in Mike Gilardi's Saloon in 1957. A bank building has now replaced Gilardi's. The excitement generated by the first backroom bar contests led Bill Soberanes, a columnist for the Petaluma Argus-Courier, to transform the bar sport into an international championship.
Fifty men entered the first world championship in 1962. The final pairings that year pitted David-and-Goliath contestants Earl Hagerman, at 5'8", and Duane Benedix, 6'4". In four seconds, Hagerman won. There was only one division at that time; now there are several weight divisions for men and women. Contestants number from 250 to 300 with wrestlers coming from as far away as Australia, Germany, and Russia. The event has been viewed by a TV audience of 200 million. Sometimes there are cash prizes; other times there are none. In the past a purse of more than $5,000 has been split among the winning contestants. But medals and trophies are always awarded.
CONTACTS:
Petaluma Visitors Program
210 Lakeville St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
877-273-8258 or 707-769-0429
www.visitpetaluma.com
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