A Cranbrook man is getting the chance to take on the best arm wrestlers in the world.
Ben Soles has qualified for the World Arm Wrestling Championship and will represent Canada at the event, which is being held in Bulgaria in October.
Soles has been involved with the sport for well over 25 years, and is a 2008 World Championship silver medalist in left arm.
Now, he’ll get the chance to go for gold.
“It always means a whole lot to me,” said Soles. “This time, it’s a little bit scarier and special because it’ll be the first time off the continent and where it is, is right in the heart of big-time arm wrestling over there like Russia and that whole area, which has gotten really strong over the last few years.”
He’s got the backing of the local arm wrestling club, the Kootenay Kings, which he helped revive with Pete During in 2008, which has a number of athletes meeting regularly to ‘pull’ on a legit arm wrestling table.
The Kootenay Kings meet every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Legendary Byng Roadhouse and Soles is usually right in the thick of the action, whether it’s as a competitor or helping coach someone else in the middle, or after, their match.
“It’s a really good little club we’ve got going and right now, it seems to be getting stronger and stronger,” he said. “…It’s coming on good, we’ve got a lot of good good pullers there.”
Since the beginning of the year, Soles has won the provincial title with left arm and took second with right arm, and also earned runner up status at a World Armwrestling League qualifier in Red Deer. He punched his ticket to the World Championship at an event in Saskatoon over the Canada Day weekend in July.
It’s not his first trip to the event; along with his silver medal in 2008, he also represented Canada in 1993 and again in 2010.
He’s looking forward to matching up against the world’s best.
“I’d like to beat someone from Sweden for once because I’ve always lost to them. I’m just looking forward to the whole thing,” said Soles. “…It’s the first time I’ve gone in the Grand Masters division.
“I’ve been training hard and feeling good, so I’m just really looking forward to it.”
He’s dropped a bit of weight and is competing in under 198-pound category, as he’d previously been competing at 220.
With intercontinental travel being as expensive as it is, Soles has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise the necessary $8,000 that it’s going to take to cover the costs of participating in the World Championship.
He has a GoFundMe page and is searching for sponsorship opportunities from the local business community. Anyone interested in donating to the cause can contact Soles at 250-919-2967.