Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Arm wrestling competition at Rocky Mountain State games is a bit over the top

By Scott Kaniewski Published: July 27, 2013

Nobody yelled, "Over the top, Dad!" At least not while the kids were arm wrestling.

But there was a Lincoln "Hawks" Hawk reference during the Rocky Mountain State Games' inaugural foray into arm wrestling.

Plenty of families were pulling for one another throughout the competition, including Craig Goodwin, whose son and daughter both competed in multiple kids' competitions on Saturday at Cowboys in downtown Colorado Springs.

The Goodwin family drove up from Rio Rancho, N.M., so Shaylin, 9, and Cason, 7, could take part in the competition. Shaylin was a two-time national champion several years back, winning both the girls' and boys' 5-6-year-old competition in Little Rock, Ark.

She didn't have the same success Saturday, but has plenty of accolades already, including being able to boast about defeating an entire Boy Scout troop.

"I like to beat people and make them cry," she said.

Shaylin and Cason have followed their dad's footsteps to the arm wrestling tables. The way Craig got into it was a bit different.

"I was actually building an elementary school," said Craig, an electrician. "We were just messing around, beating these guys. And before you knew it, I was getting into it."

A co-worker found a tournament online in Albuquerque, so Craig signed up. He won the novice tournament and has become one of the top competitors in the Mountain Region.

He became so highly regarded, he earned a spot in an invite-only tournament for 143 pounds and less.

"I think I got a pity invite, but I walked away with the win and $1,200," Craig said.

He was shocked at how big the sport is.

"I just did it for fun at the job sites," Craig said. "The guy's like, 'Hey, there's a tournament.' I'm like, 'I'll go check it out,' and that's when I found out it was a lot bigger than I imagined."

He won an overall title in a mega-match, which pits everyone in one tournament regardless of weight class.

"I took the overall, hands-down," Craig said. "All the little guys get one shot at the big guys to see if they can take them."

Aurora's Hunter Brinklow was one of Saturday's surprise performers and took down a bigger guy. The 7-year-old sporting a "Transformers" hat beat all his competitors, including an older boy who defeated Brinklow earlier in the day.

Every time Brinklow stepped to the table, he had to turn his hat around backward, prompting tournament director Jeff Ames to comment over the PA system that Brinklow looked like Hawk, Sylvester Stallone's fictional character in the arm wrestling movie "Over the Top," which had scenes filmed in Colorado.

Brinklow's grunts and facial expressions showed his dogged determination and his quest was achieved, regardless of the outcome.

"It's just really fun to hang out," said Brinklow, who started when he was 4. "It doesn't really matter if you don't win. It's just have fun."

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