By LAURA CARRELL
Courier Staff Writer
---- — ELDON — Monster Arm Wrestling brought the die-hard fans out to the Wapello County Fair on a wet, dreary Friday evening.
Lee Ann Krough, of LeGrand, has been the Mother Monster for 33 years. She was a national champion in 1984, and now she takes Monster Arm Wrestling tournaments around the state of Iowa, including the state fair, county fairs and many other celebrations and events.
Krough says the excitement of the event is what keeps competitors coming back.
"Every tournament is different," she said. "It's not like the farmers' market, where it may be the same every time you go. It's just fun, fun, fun."
After the weigh in, Krough matches up the competitors and then referees the action. There are awards given, and winners from the area tournaments have the opportunity to wrestle at the Iowa State Fair Championship in August.
"It's for the fun," arm wrestler Dustin Green said. "There are trophies and ribbons, but it's not about that, and it's definitely not about the money."
Travis McClure, of Eldon, grew up in an arm wrestling family — his dad, Randy, was also a national champion in 1984. McClure watched hundreds of matches, then entered his first tournament when he was 16. He only weighed 112 pounds at the time, but he won at the 130 pound level, the smallest there is.
"It's a lot more technical than you'd think," he explained. "When you've got two guys who know what they're doing, it's really fun."
Arm wrestling as a competition really took off with the quarter machines used in the late 1970s. Competitors will watch matches, strategize and encourage each other during the matches.
McClure says that he's seen people from all over the world arm wrestle, but one things has remained the same.
"We're just doing it for the fun," he said.
For more information about upcoming Monster Arm Wrestling tournaments, visit www.MonsterArmWrestling.com.