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Ten locals heading to arm wrestling nationals

Javier McKinley pulls during the Letawsky Cup competition held Feb. 23 in Hinton.
Masha Scheele Photo

Masha Scheele

Ten members of the Hinton Armbenders Professional Arm Wrestling Club are heading to the national championships in July.

Vince McKinley, Hinton’s double world champion in arm wrestling, has been integral in training five kids and five adults in preparation.

McKinley started the Hinton Armbenders Professional Armwrestling Club three years ago, and serves as coach and president.

For McKinley’s five-year-old son, Javier McKinley, the 2019 national championships in Edmonton will be his first time competing against other kids at that level, but he’s had a lot of practice pulling in six tournaments this year alone.

He walked away from provincials with double gold medals last year and this year he scored silver in left arm and fourth place in right arm.

In his final left arm match he was beat out by fellow Hinton arm wrestler, Jay Bunning, who took home double gold in the four to six year old class.

McKinley and Bunning are among the five kids from Hinton who will be heading to nationals along with Keenan Cartier, Lucius Bartling, and Uriah Bartling.

Nine year-old Cartier came home with a bronze medal (left arm) from the provincial tournament in Airdrie on May 25.

Keenan Cartier sets up to pull at the Letawsky Cup competition held Feb. 23 in Hinton.
Masha Scheele Photo

After watching his dad compete, Cartier started arm wrestling in October 2018 where he gained experience and confidence.

“He’s come a long way, he’s grown a lot. When he first started he wasn’t even placing in any event. He was just getting the idea of it and sort of doing it for fun in a sense. There were a lot of people in the Hinton club that he couldn’t beat, and now in the Hinton club there’s only one other kid that Keenan still technically can’t beat,” said Cartier’s dad, Kyle Cartier.

Since joining the club, he has pulled in two tournaments, including provincials and the Hinton tournament, where he also earned bronze.

“Right now we’re on the training game. We’re doing a lot of training and we’ll have to see what happens,” said Kyle Cartier.

His training consists of strengthening his forearm, biceps, triceps, and working through a lot of pulling motions, said Cartier.

Hand grips, form, and technique play a big role in arm wrestling, he added. Besides training certain muscles, club members get together one or two times per week to pull and assess their strength levels.

Coach McKinley added that he works with the kids often and encourages them to work on their strength outside of the gym as well.

“He’s got a little chin up bar he works out with and he does wrist curls,” said McKinley about his son.

The adults heading to nationals on July 12 to 14 in Edmonton are Vince McKinley, Herman Bartling, Adam Andruski, Krissy Sprague, and Kyle Cartier.

For Vince McKinley, this will be his first time back at nationals as a competitor since he won his double gold world championship in 1985 in the 70 kg class.

He often helps organize or run tournaments but will now be competing in the grand masters class. Go to to learn more about arm wrestling in Canada or Hinton Armbenders Professional Arm Wrestling Club on Facebook.