For Penticton’s Richard Henson, winning the Canadian National Arm Wrestling Championship was undoubtedly the highlight of his sporting career.
And that was no small thing for the 57-year-old.
“It’s been eight years of hard work,” said Henson, who won the Grand Masters 90 national title in Winnipeg earlier this month.
“Yeah, eight years in the making, it was pretty awesome.”
His fifth time at the Nationals proved the appeal as he won two medals after nearly finishing last year in the same competition.
Henson wasn’t the only Peach City resident at the competition, his good friend Brian Moore was there too.
Moore, 63, has been arm wrestling for decades and also brought home two medals, one silver and one bronze, describing his experience as “living the dream”.
Meanwhile, Henson credits his mindset as much as his skill for his success this time around.
“The difference was I was always trying not to lose, and this time I went there to win,” Henson said. “When I reached the final, I said to my wife, ‘He (opponent) doesn’t beat me, I know he doesn’t beat me.’
“Timing, concentration and focus, you really have to time your neurological system to explode because if you’re even a split second off, you’ve lost.”
While his prediction that he would win came true, a few tense moments passed as he faced seemingly insurmountable odds.
After two losses in the triple-loss event, he had to beat eventual silver medalist Brad Esmond of Saskatchewan by three games in the last two events, which included eight consecutive trips to the table.
The gold was in the left arm division and Henson had won bronze in the right arm division earlier in the day.
He earned a spot on the BC team by earning silver and bronze finishes in provincial competitions.
What does he enjoy most about arm wrestling?
“The Brotherhood, absolutely,” he replied quickly. “The guys in the States have invited me to their houses to stay the night, and when I travel across Canada, people invite you to their houses. When a guy hits you, he comes up to you and tells you how to hit him. I’ve done several sports and no other sport is like it.”
As well as working to improve his skills over the years, Henson has promoted the sport of arm wrestling, including helping found the Okanagan Arm Wrestling Club.
“The underground sport of arm wrestling isn’t so underground anymore,” he said. “The history of arm wrestling is rich in BC.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the sport or joining the local club can sign up on the Okanagan Arm Wrestling Club Facebook page.