Matt Mask is gearing up for his arm wrestling competition in Los Angeles Aug. 9th at the NOVO. photo submitted

Matt Mask is gearing up for his arm wrestling competition in Los Angeles Aug. 9th at the NOVO. photo submitted

Red Deer arm wrestler prepares for biggest fight

Matt Mask heads to Los Angeles for WAL Supermatch Showdown Series

One foot on the ground at all times, elbows on the table, straight wrist, thumb knuckles showing, it’s go time in the sport of arm wrestling.

Arm Wrestler Matt Mask is preparing for what he calls, “One of the biggest matches of my life.”

He will be heading out to compete at the NOVO in Los Angeles Aug. 9th, which will play host to World Armwrestling League’s next showcase event in the ‘Supermatch Showdown Series.’ Mask will be competing against one of the best, Devon Larratt of Ottawa.

“We’re good friends on the side, but when it comes to the table not so much,” said Mask with a laugh. “Both of us are the only two super heavyweights that have gone undefeated so far this year.”

Mask added that he’s been in the finals against Larratt for the last three years for WLC and said, “He’s gotten the best of me every time, but each year I keep getting closer and closer.”

Mask, from Red Deer, said this competition marks the last one leading up to the finals in Atlanta Sept. 5th.

When it comes to his involvement in the sport, he said he’s always had a little knack for doing it since he was a child.

“Growing up, when I was younger, my favourite movie was Over the Top.”

He moved to Sudbury, Ont. in his last year of high school to play football, and one of the linebackers took him under his wing. They were all playing around one day after a game and started arm wrestling amongst the whole football team.

Mask, who was told he had a God-given gift for arm wrestling, was taken down to Wasaga Beach in Southern Ontario where he competed in his first event there and ended up playing fourth. He then ended up going to provincials, placing second before deciding he wanted to move out west to, ‘chase the Alberta dream.’

Over the years, the sport has opened quite a few doors for Mask, who has competed against and beat some of the best in the sport.

“Everybody’s got one thing that kind of brings the lion out in them. And for me, that’s the one thing. When I get to the table nothing else matters. The only thing that matters is the opponent across from me.

“I’m a completely different person when I’m on the table. It seems like I have no control, I just let loose and everything just happens on its own. Just to win, it’s like you take a little piece of their soul and you put it in your pocket,” he said with a laugh.

The upcoming event on Aug. 9th will see some of the best men and women arm wrestling athletes in the world compete head-to-head in best out of five matches.

Each of the match-ups are based on style, technique and ranking, abiding by various rules.

“We get one minute between rounds with 30 seconds to get set up,” said Mask.

To prepare for the upcoming competitions, Mask does arm wrestling training twice a week at his detached garage in Red Deer.

“There’s anywhere from six to 15 of us that show up and it’s just public practice. We sit there and we just arm wrestle and go through techniques. The only way to get better at arm wrestling is by arm wrestling.”

In between his practices he hits weights, mostly arm wrestling specific exercises focusing on arms, back, chest and shoulders.

Mask said the sport of arm wrestling is for anybody.

“We have construction workers, oilfield workers, lawyers, accountants and bankers. Anybody can do it.”

Mask also happens to be the president of the Red Deer Arm Wrestling Club and encourages those interested in giving arm wresting a try to look him up on Facebook or visit the Red Deer Arm Wrestling Club on Facebook.

Meanwhile, the coming event is available on Turner Sports’ new digital platform B/R (Bleacher Report) Live, however Canadians are unable to stream using B/R live until late 2018, so are asked to visit to stream from there.