Today we celebrate the anniversary of a legendary personality, the Father of the world armwrestling David Devoto. ()
Thanks to this man, arm wrestling became a sport discipline of a global scale!
Thanks to his devotion, thousands of people have the opportunity to find their place in the sport, regardless of age, gender and physical features. David Devoto founded the most democratic sport, created a culture of armwrestling and devoting 60 years of his life, brought it as a gift to all mankind.
Here's what his friend and partner Bill Soberanes wrote about him:
«Dave Devoto became a football hero at age of 16.
Years later he became a pioneer in a new sport called Wristwrestling or Armwrestling.
During Devoto is the President of the World’s WristwrestlingChampionship, Inc., United States ArmSports, and Vice President of the World Armwrestling Federation. The events he supports and nourishes have brought him in contact with a new breed of athletes.
At age 16, Dave was the captain and All-League end on the Santa Rosa High School football team and captain of the track team. The next year he was All-Conference end at Santa Rosa Junior College. At 18, he was again All-Conference end and was selected for the Little All American Team.
Devoto played for what many say was the greatest Santa Rosa Junior College team of all time and helped the team to achieve many records. During his first year at SRJC he scored four touchdowns against Marin Junior College, their major rival in the game for the League Championship. Dave held the scoring record for an offensive end during the past 50 years which was finally broken in
2001. He was recently installed into the SRJC Football Hall of Fame.
Dick Blewett was the athletic director at the college for more than thirty years and selected Devoto for his All-Time Great Team. It was while playing for the College of the Pacific (now University of the Pacific) that Look Magazine selected Devoto to be on their All-Coast Team. The coach at that time was Ernie George and his advisor was the immortal Amos Alonzo Stagg.
In his adult life Dave received commendations from the Attorney General of the State of California and the City of Petaluma for heroic action in pursuing an individual who had stolen a car and crashed through a police car barricade. As the city of Petaluma police chief wrote, “The suspect fled on foot with the officers, who were slightly injured in the crash, giving chase. Officer Boon has informed me that at this point the individual was well in front of him and that he observed Mr. Devoto in his front yard and called for him to stop the individual who was running. Mr. Devoto responded by giving chase and actually tackling the suspect and subduing him until such time as the officer got to the location.”
Dave grew an athletic mind from his football experiences as a young man and developed an unusual interest in armwrestling. His contribution to the sport of armwrestling and the World’s
Wristwrestling Championship Tournament in Petaluma every October for 41 years has been remarkable.
It was Devoto who negotiated the famous contract that brought ABC’s Wide World of Sports to Petaluma where they televised the event for sixteen years and helped put Petaluma on the map. Hundreds of millions of viewers have witnessed the World’s Wristwrestling Championship tournament on the ABC network.
Dave also led a wrist wrestling tour of New Zealand years ago. The tour took in most major cities in that faraway land and the sport caught on with the locals. The wristwrestling safari was covered by New Zealand television and radio networks as well as by all the major newspapers.
That trip did much to help promote the sport down under.
Dave established a relationship in 1990 with Igor Akhmedshin and the Russian Armwrestling Federation, then took Team USA to Moscow from 1990 through 1998. If you were fortunate to have made the journey with either of those teams you have memories you will never forget.
In the process of helping make Petaluma the “Wristwrestling Capital of the World,” Devoto appeared on the Johnny Carson Show with Dona Meyers who at the time held a title as current World Champion. On the broadcast, Dona wristwrestled and beat Johnny Carson twice while Dave refereed the event. It’s unbelievable, but Devoto still receives residual checks from the Carson show due to the many times that particular favorite show had been shown in reruns and is available in The Best Of Carson Videos.
It was Devoto who was instrumental in setting up the major wristwrestling/armwrestling tournaments at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. He also laid the groundwork for tournaments in Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Houston, Texas; and dozens of other cities and states. One of Dave’s favorite stories is about former President Ronald Reagan and myself. I’ve been Dave’s partner over the years in promoting the sport and was always up for a photo opportunity. Reagan was set to pose for a wristwrestling photo and I was to be his opponent.
Dave was the referee and Reagan insisted on taking me on instead of merely posing for the photograph. When Dave set up the match and Reagan asked what the “Go” signal was, Devoto promptly replied, “Ready Go.” At that instant Reagan slammed me down and Devotodeclared the President to be the winner. It was unforgettable for me how quick Reagan’s mind worked. He had instantly driven my arm into my side, cracking two ribs on Dave’s “Go!” But I liked him anyway. That day President Ronald Reagan declared Petaluma to be the “Wristwrestling Capital of the World.” The outcome of the Soberanes vs. Reagan contest created a great deal of publicity for the sport and Petaluma throughout the country.
Devoto is a member of a pioneer Sonoma County family. His great grandfather was the first of the Dave Devotos’ to settle in the county followed by six generations all of whom had one sibling named Dave. During his reign as International Vice President of Active 20/30, he spent a month as a guest lecturer in Australia and later spoke in Canada and Mexico as well as countless states in America.
For the past 12 years Dave has been the sole owner of Petaluma’s radio station, KTOB. In February of this year he sold the station.
Dave Devoto is known as the “Father of Armwrestling” on the internet in the same way that James Brown is known as the “Godfather of Soul.” Since he began United States Armsports in 1995, and has had the www.armwrestling.com website online since April 1996, it has been the highest rated armwrestling website of all time.
Many millions have visited the site and Dave has kept it free of all advertising subsidizing his expenses from his own finances.»
Today, Dave turned 87. Dave still takes an active part in the life of arm wrestling, supports the enthusiasm of young athletes. He actively uses the Internet and keeps abreast of everything happening in our favorite sport.
Let us wish Dave good health and success in all new beginnings.
Used materials «Petaluma Post». Source: http://www.petalumapost.com/pastissues/PostwebOctober2002.pdf
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