Grappling with Global Armament


The world came to New York City and most folks missed it. It came in the form of nearly 60 of the world's top arm wrestlers who were at the World Trade Center in Manhattan Thursday for the annual Big Apple Grapple. The name may get a few laughs, but competitors from Turkey, Switzerland, Russia and the United States bared their arms for glory-but no money.

"We're kind of like the New York Marathon was in the beginning," said event coordinator and president of the New York Arm Wrestling Association, Gene Camp. "We've been doing this for twenty-four years. The name Big Apple Grapple sort of started floating around the world a few years ago and just stuck."

The New York City event is one of the five largest in the US and one of 15 worldwide that draws competitors from around the world. "We only get world and [national] champions at this event," said Camp, who added that more than 500 spectators attended the day-long event. "Everybody has their favorites they cheer for, and people pull for underdogs."

One favorite is Bobby Buttafuoco, brother of the infamous Joey Buttafuoco. The more low-key Bobby Buttafouco, of Rockville Centre, has won 14 straight titles. He took first in the 200-pound weight class with seven points. He was followed by Switzerland's Kimon Schneider with three and Elmhurst's Mike Selearis in third with one point. Selearis also took first in the left-handed open class.

The Association's next big event is the annual NYC Amateur Championships Tuesday at The Broadway City Arcade, 241 W. 42nd St. Registration and weigh-in starts at 11 a.m. The competition starts at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $20 and admission is free. While no money is awarded to the pros, amateurs compete for unspecified prizes. There are eight weight classes for both men and women. Amateurs and beginners are considered anyone who has not won a competition.

Complete results of the Big Apple Grapple are:
150 pounds/lightweight:
Engin Turzi, Turkey (7 points); Harry Wilson, Brooklyn, (3 points); and Milt Christmas, Baltimore, Md. (1 point).

175 pounds/middleweight:
Vedkhia Samkaradze, Georgia, Russia; Kimon Schneider, Switzerland; and Aydin Zekeriya, Turkey.

200 pounds/heavyweight:
Bobby Buttafuoco, Rockville Centre; Kimon Schneider; Switzerland; and Mike Selearis, Elmhurst.

MVP Jerry Cadorette, South Attleboro, Mass.; Ray Darling, Cropseyville; and Allen Stikkey, Riverside, R.I.

Masters (50-plus, 175 pounds):
Frank Malis, West Islip; Milt Christmas, Baltimore, Md.; no third place awarded.

Masters (50-plus open):
Ray Darling, Cropseyville; Jack Arias, Farmingdale; and Marty Soven, Woodside.

175 pounds/lefthanded:
Engin Turzi, Turkey; Aydin Zekeriya, Turkey; and Kimon Schneider, Switzerland.

Left-handed open:
Mike Selearis, Elmhurst; Allen Stilkey, Riverside, R.I.; and Jerry Cadorette, South Attleboro, Mass.

Women's 135-pound middleweight:
Amanda Fortuna, Wading River; Liz Sanchez, the Bronx; and Angela Hall, Little Falls.

Women's open:
MVP Cynthia Yerby, Wolf, Okla.; Christina Fernandes, Rockaway, N.J.; and Monica Wozniak, Sterling, Va.

Team: Long Island, first, 24 points; Turkey, second, 18 points; and Upstate New York, third, 11 points.
The Referees "Winners Never Quit Award" went to Bobby Buttafuoco

© Copyright 2001, Newsday Inc.
Sylvia E. King-Cohen, QUEENS LEISURE / Grappling With Global Armament, 03-31-2001, pp A26.

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