Powell wife once a successful tussle | People

Terrie Gilbert, from Powell, walked into a bar one day, sat down in her usual spot and started talking to her friend Ed Baxter, who had noticed she had “Popeye” arms and thought she could actually compete.

“Ed was a great coach and even competed in tournaments in Russia,” Gilbert recalled.

Baxter, a Cody resident, was later enshrined in the Wyoming Arm Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011.

Gilbert, now 67, took his advice. Within days, she was going to the gymnasium at Northwest College and working out.

“I did a workout of all the upper body strength workouts, I did the dumbbell hits, the curls, the bench press, and I also did a lot of hand workouts, and I had to strengthen my wrists and forearms,” she said. “I could lift more than my own body weight.”

Soon she began to participate in amateur tournaments in Montana and won all the matches she had in her weight class. She went undefeated over a three-year span and became the Montana State Champion in the 125-pound and under category in 1990.

“I was doing this in my late thirties, beating people younger than me, and even men as well,” Gilbert said.

The rules were simple. No one could raise their elbow, your wrist had to be straight, you couldn’t pick up or move your fingers, and there was no time limit.

“You struggled until someone gave in or broke their arm,” she said. “I’ve seen and even heard this happen, it’s a quick snap.”

The first organized arm wrestling competition was organized by journalist Bill Soberanes in 1952 in Petaluma, California. Women’s arm wrestling began in 1964.

Gilbert wrestled a total of ten matches during her arm wrestling career and won nine of them, only losing to a taller and more experienced arm wrestler.

“She was taller and she had leverage over me with her much longer arms,” ​​she said. “She was also a lot taller than me, but she was the only other woman there and my coach thought I could take her.

“She ended up hyper-extending my elbow and I lost in the end. It was my last game, after that I decided to retire…but I had one hell of a run.

Robert J. King