Competitors put best arms forward

Who has Queens’ Strongest Arm?

Hidden behind the shrubbery and horse stables at the Queens County Fair and Farm Museum in Floral Park, the 32nd annual White Castle “Queensboro” Arm Wrestling Championships were held to determine who of the pack of amateurs and professionals was the best.

On Sunday, September 20, another chapter in the heated rivalry between Elmhurst native Mike Selearis and Jason Vale, from Bellerose, was written. After a few heart-breaking and long-winded tiebreaking matches, Vale’s arm was raised and he had become a champion once again.

A former world champion, Vale had taken a five-year hiatus from the sport due to a prison sentence for selling apricot seeds.

Vale miraculously survived a cancer scare by what he said consisted of prayer and eating apricot seeds, which contain vitamin B17. After his remarkable recovery, he decided to try to help others with informational videos and sales of apricot seeds via the internet – which is illegal.

“This was such a redeeming win for me because it was my first real competition after my five-year sentence,” said Vale, who also won the Captain’s of Crush Grippers Queens Strongest Arms award. “I used to be a world champ, and I don’t want my matches to be close calls ever again.”

Participants who placed first through third have an opportunity to compete in this year’s Empire State Arm Wrestling finals at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on November 12. Due to a tough financial year, the games have become an open-arm casting call because the New York Arm Wrestling Association (NYAMA) missed the Manhattan and Staten Island events.

“This much-anticipated White Castle ‘Queensboro’ Championship is the oldest and most prestigious title event of the New York Golden Arm Series,” said Gene Camp, president of NYAMA. “We had a great year so far, with people coming to compete all over the USA and from as far away as Russia and Turkey and other distant lands.”

One competitor, Hungarian Lajos Konya, showed how an international arm could dominate a field of hungry amateurs. Konya went undefeated and steam rolled through his competition – taking first in left and right arms in the 198 weight class, along with moving up a division and toppling the right-handed competition in the 225 weight class.

“It was an honor and a big success for me … especially being out of my weight class,” Konya said.

On the women’s side, Mirline Berrouet from South Ozone Park took home the gold as she defeated veteran Joyce Boone.

Even the director of Arm Wrestling TV, Gary Roberts, got in the mix and signed up for the super heavyweight amateur division. He snarled and snapped at all of his competitors and had the crowd on the edge of their seats during every match.

“It’s all an adrenaline build up for me,” said an out-of-breath Roberts. “For some reason, when I get up there, it all comes up.”

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