2017 Amateur Champion Prepares to Make Leap to Pros as WAL Success Story

February 7th 2017

It goes without saying that arm wrestling runs in the blood of middleweight competitor Ryan Bath. After all, his father is “The Legend” Ron Bath, a father, grandfather and titan of the heavyweight division. Still, to climb the ranks of the World Armwrestling League, Bath the younger battled his way up through the amateur division.
 
It’s a path being walked by hundreds of new WAL pullers this year, as ordinary men and women united only by a deep-seated drive and a love of the sport are beginning their own journey through the budding amateur ranks. And this year, the WAL is offering more competition and ways to gauge progress to the best amateurs on the planet, including a new ranking system. Bath, 29, grew up watching his dad pull, but fell out with the sport until a few years ago, when he began his comeback. That comeback culminated in a master performance as the 2016 WAL Championships in Las Vegas, where he took 1st place on the left arm and 2nd place on the right arm in the 195-pound amateur tourney.
 
Now, Bath is readying for a run through the pro division this year. Bath said anyone thinking of taking up arm wrestling should dive right in.
 
“People are intimidated about coming in or afraid of getting hurt, but the people who arm wrestle are a family, and no one wants to hurt anyone,” Bath said. “They want to see you improve, because the better you get, the better you can help them get,” he said. “It’s a really welcoming environment.” Bath said the caliber of arm wrestling talent in the amateurs is formidable but not as refined as the pro divisions. “You’ve got guys that are beastly strong with no technique,” he said. “Or you got guys who practice nothing but technique but don’t have speed or power. Stay dedicated to putting in the practice, that should be your goal when you’re early on.”
 
The first big opportunity for amateurs to clash in 2017 will arrive on Feb. 11 in New Orleans at the WAL Southern Classic, “Battle in the Bayou” where pullers from around the region are expected to compete. Head here to register or for more information.