WAL Tournament Directors Launch WAL 2016 With Nationwide Series
February 15th 2016
On Dec. 12, Warren held the biggest WAL State Championship in the nation, with 158 entries, hundreds of spectators in attendance and a substantial payday through merchandise sales and registrations at a California Hooter’s restaurant. “What blew my mind was that we had over 200 spectators in one small building,” Warren said. “And they stayed, from 11:30 in the morning to almost 11 o’clock in the evening.” Warren found that putting on an exciting, fast-paced competition kept the spectators watching, ensuring more sales for the venue and a bigger cut for the organizer. “It’s a high-intensity sport and it happens quickly, so the faster you can make the action happen, the longer the people are going to stay,” he said.
The California event shot Warren into rarefied territory among WAL promoters and tournament directors. Following close on his totals were veterans like James Reid in New York, Bart Wood in Pennsylvania and Heavyweight champion Marcio Barboza in New Jersey. Directors Livingston Denegre-Vaught and Shawn McEntire also dominated in Texas and Idaho, turning in major events with high attendance – and a solid financial reward. The events are representative of the future of armwrestling in the U.S., WAL-style: big, entertaining tournaments with large brackets of competitors new and old, and a packed house to cheer on the action. Making events open and inviting to curious newcomers has helped Warren double his amateur attendance numbers, a key to the WAL’s mission.
“I know the guys that have that new look on their face when they attend an event,” Warren said. “I take them under my wing or set them up with someone I’ve known for a long time, to show them what it is to armwrestle safely.” Despite the intense competition at the table, newcomers quickly see how open and supportive the armwrestling scene is among pullers. “I explain to them what they need to do and how they need to do it, and they love it,” Warren said of ambitious amateurs. “It’s an inviting atmosphere. All the armwrestlers are like a big family.” The WAL organizers have some advice on how you can throw your own WAL qualifier, earning yourself a stake in the league, a place atop the WAL Organizer Power Rankings and some nice bonus cash in the process.
Click here to watch a video of the guys sharing their secrets if reading makes your brain hurt.
Rule 1: PROMOTE!
You’ve got to be creative, and advertise well, and ensure that as many people know that your event is going down this weekend, no matter the venue.“Promoting promoting promoting,” said Reid, who put together the massive New York state tourney. “We went out in the public. We went to bars. We went to gyms. We did whatever we could to spread the word and get the sport out to people.” The WAL has tons of resources to help you reach the newspapers and TV stations in your area. Let us help you get the word out. Also, call every gym you can find and ask about posting fliers for your events. The fitness set is also the pro armwrestling set, after all.
Rule 2: FIND A GREAT VENUE!
Bars and restaurants are ideal, according to the WAL’s top event organizers. Create relationships with venue owners, according to Livingston Denegre-Vaught, who hosted the Texas tournament. Owners are interested because you’re bring bodies to their business. “It’s a mutual benefit,” he said. Pick a well-lit place that will be attractive to those who are newcomers to the sport. Your Uncle Jowly’s basement may be a great place for your crew to grip up and train, but it’s a crappy place to host a WAL qualifier. A good venue will pay you for all those butts you’re gonna put in the seats, said Warren, who spearheaded the California state championship. “You don’t bring them 100 people that they’ll make $5,000 from and not get any compensation for your efforts,” he said. “The place is making money off you,” Reid added. “There’s no reason they can’t kick back.”
Rule 3: GET GOOD STAFF!
A top organizer is only as good as his or her team, according to Shawn McEntire, who headed up the Idaho championship and showed that grand events can be held in places with smaller populations. A good squad of 6 or so folks that you trust, and who won’t slip away for another round of shots, ensures that everything stays crisp, professional and above all, on schedule. “Nothing’s worse than going to a tournament and having the tournament last run for 12 hours,” he said. “It should only run four to five hours.”
Rule 4: GO SOCIAL!
Create an event page for your qualifier on Facebook and watch it blow up, Warren advises. Set it up about three weeks in advance and get to work. “You just blow it up,” Warren said. “You invite everyone on your Facebook friend list. And when you run out of room you ask your friends to invite all their friends.” Advertise the event on your own Facebook page too. Social media helped Warren get a huge turnout among newcomers to the sport. “They had the time of their life,” he said. “And I know they’ll come back to the sport.”
Rule 5: TAKE PRIDE!
It don’t matter if it’s 6 pullers or 600. This is YOUR tournament. And you are representing the WAL. Two excellent reasons to take pride in your event and run a tight ship, no matter what, said McEntire. “You want people to see consistency, and they’ll enjoy coming back,” he said. “You run one bad tournament, it can ruin the ten good tournaments you run.”
Interested in learning more about becoming a WAL organizer, and the various hotels, airfare, leadership roles and bonuses available to those who top the WAL’s Organizer Power Rankings? Email email@example.com to get the nitty gritty. And thanks for your support. 2016 will be the year of the WAL! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @WALUnderground.