ORANGEVALE — When you think of sports that touch the national stage, football, basketball, baseball and soccer come to mind and somewhere, probably way, way down on the list, is armwrestling.
The World Armwrestling League is holding what it calls it’s Supermatch Showdown Series next week in Chicago and a local man from Orangevale is set to do some damage.
Tom “The Real Deal” Nelson has tasted success at the highest level.
For 20 years now, the 39-year-old from Orangevale has climbed the ranks of the WAL and next week Nelson will take part in the nationally televised event in Chicago.
“It really is such a neat sport in itself that people get into it and they don’t leave. They don’t leave. It’s an every man sport. Everyone can do it..Everyone,” Nelson explained.
He’s 6 feet 1 inches tall and as “The Real Deal” puts it, “[I’m] 200 and fat. On paper is says 250, but we’re all married and have big bellies.”
Nelson armwrestles the best of the best in the heavyweight division but don’t think he can quit his day job with UPS just to lay claim to the WAL title.
“I wish. God, I wish. It would be a fun living. Let me tell you,” Neslon said.
For Nelson though, armwrestling is all in the family.
“So, my wife was a national champion, my sister was a national champion, my brother and mother were amateur national champions,” he explained.
But next week belongs to Nelson, who really does take his training seriously — all the way down to this old, 100-pound iron dumbbell that once belonged in Folsom Prison.
“This has been my arch enemy. So, I’ll take the dumbbell and hold it like this and I’ll drop it and catch it. And I’ll wait until the opponent is done. Over and over,” Nelson explained.
His garage is a mixed bag of trophies he’s won competing and maybe he’ll add a new one after the tournament next week.