A local geologist doubles as a champion arm wrestler.
On weekdays, 30-year-old petroleum geologist Geoff Hale operates X-Hale Consulting LLC, his Tulsa-based geological consulting company.
On weekends, he transforms into “The Haleraiser,” a world champion professional arm wrestler and star on the TV show “Arm Wars International Super Series,” which is broadcast in more than 70 European and Asian countries.
1. Why did you start arm wrestling? I saw “Over the Top” on TV with Sylvester Stallone and I decided to Google “arm wrestling.” I had done it just for fun in high school, and I never lost a match — even to the big guys. Really, it’s a common story ... I found this tournament in Bonner Springs, Kan. I had the option to compete in the professional class or the amateur class. My ego would not allow me to compete in the amateur class. My first match was against a guy I had never met before, but he was from Oklahoma. I sized him up, thought I could take him. I literally got flashed off the table — just crushed. (“Flashed off” is an arm-wrestling term describing a match lasting 1 second or less.)
2. How much is ego a part of arm wrestling? Unfortunately, it is a very large part of it. It is a strength sport, and it’s one-on-one combat. If you lose, it is very difficult to accept because you’re basically facing the fact that this guy across the table from you is stronger than you. It’s very ego-driven for sure, but the people who are the most successful are able to put that ego aside. You learn more from losing than winning.
3. What are the benefits of arm wrestling? The No. 1 benefit is health. Because I have arm wrestling, it motivates me to stay healthy, to stay fit. No. 2, I enjoy competition. I am a competitive person. I enjoy the idea of fighting, but I didn’t like getting punched in the face. This was my avenue into a combat sport I was more comfortable with. There are guys who are still competing at 70-plus years old.
4. How does one become a successful professional arm wrestler? Is this a potentially lucrative sport? It depends on their natural ability — what their genetic gifts are. If it’s an average Joe, I would say it’s going to take at least four years of dedication: three days a week in the gym, one day a week on the table (practicing on a table with a partner to attain the muscle memory required for arm wrestling) and maintaining a somewhat good diet.
There are money events, but in order to take top three and win some of that money, you have to be very good. For an average guy, he’s not going to make any money at all.
5. What does your wife think about arm wrestling? She is not an arm wrestler. She doesn’t enjoy arm wrestling. She supports arm wrestling because I love it. We get to go to some interesting places, and she loves to travel.
My dream opponent is ... Arnold Schwarzenegger.
At the gym you might see me ... working out to the sounds
of “Weird Al” Yankovic.
My next fitness goal is ... bench-pressing 400 pounds.
My favorite part about Tulsa is ... the craft beer.
“Arm Wars International Super Series” is available for U.S. audiences at www.armwars.com. Hale caught the attention of “Arm Wars” founder Neil Pickup when Hale won the Arnold Classic, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s annual arm wrestling tournament. Pickup offered Hale his first “Arm Wars” match in 2010, and he won the vacant title of Lightweight World Champion. He has defended that title numerous times over the past four years.