LEWISTON – Michelle Smart is the mother of two girls, resident of Lewiston, Utah and she is now the first Women’s Ultimate Armwrestling League World Champion.
Smart has been seriously arm wrestling for less than two years. She first entered a competition at an Idaho fair. She entered for fun but in the end, she surprised herself.
“I ended up taking second against a world champion. She gave me some information and a couple websites. She told me I could be really good,” said Smart.
Smart said after that first tournament, she started training.
“I go down to the Ogden/Layton area once a week to practice with friends. We just hit the table and practice arm wrestling for a couple of hours,” she said of her workout routine. “I also do a lot of weight lifting.”
Smart trains six days a week: five days in the weight room and two of those days are spent at the table.
She has competed in Utah, Idaho, California, Nevada, and Indiana.
For the World Champion title, the number one contender and number two contender are matched up for five rounds.
Smart traveled to Hammond, Indiana and took on Canadian Tamara Mitts for the World title on January 11. Smart won all five rounds, but she admits it wasn’t easy.
“My arm was throbbing and I couldn’t even feel my thumb. It was the hardest match I’ve ever had,” she said.
Smart said she was a little shocked after she won. Mitts, the woman she competed against, has arm wrestled for 22 years. She said to hang with someone who has that much experience made her feel pretty great.
Smart won the title belt and $1,000 as her prize.
Both of Smart’s daughters are also involved in arm wrestling. Smart said her husband is the girls’ biggest cheerleader.
“My husband is a big supporter. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have followed my dream,” Smart explained. “He’s always finding more tournaments for me to enter and he built me a table at the house.”
Smart would like to see the sport grow more, especially for women. She thinks the awareness isn’t there or more women would do it.