Arm-wrestling champion reflects on his journey

Arm wrestling can be found in many countries, including Russia, where this recent competition was held. (Photo by Dmitry Feoktistov/TASS via Getty Images)

Arizona in Focus is a podcast from Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS. Each season we dive deep into a particular topic or story to bring you stories you haven’t heard elsewhere. Check out the rest of our episodes here, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

SCOTTSDALE – Travis Bagent is a professional arm wrestler from West Virginia who came to the desert in June to showcase his sport at the Arizona Arm Wrestling Championship.

Bagent, who’s one of the organizers of the championship, also participated in it. He helped promote the event by talking to local news media and sometimes doing-off-the wall promotional events to boost the profile of the championship and the organization that runs it, the National Armwrestling League. When Bagent wasn’t competing, he played host and color commentator for other bouts.

The event filled a showroom at Talking Stick Resort and Casino with dozens of contestants over two days.

In this episode of Arizona in Focus, Cronkite News talks with Bagent, 43, about how he became a professional arm wrestler, and the super heavyweight wrestling champion of the world.

This episode begins with Bagent’s beginnings in West Virginia, where he grew up poor with a father who wasn’t around much.

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