It was just fun, something to do. It was something to pass the time. —Jordan Sill
LAYTON — Jordan Sill never played competitive sports in high school or college.
So when a co-worker invited the Layton man to an arm-wrestling practice, he had no dreams of recapturing the competitive glory of his youth.
“I was pouring concrete,” he said with a slight laugh. “I was working with a guy, and he invited me to a practice ... I really didn’t think a whole lot about it.”
He joined the friend at a practice, and it turned into something he never expected. Seventeen years later, he travels the world arm-wrestling circuit for championships in the World Armwrestling League. His best finish was second place in the heavyweight division of the WAL Southern Regionals in 2016 (left-handed).
“It was just fun, something to do,” he said. “It was something to pass the time.”
Sill, who is known in arm-wrestling circles as “The Thrill”, will compete Thursday night in the World Armwrestling League’s Supermatch Showdown Series. He will arm wrestle the same man — Craig “The Fury” Tullier — five times in the same night with just a one-minute rest in between each showdown.
“It’s a super match,” he said, “Me and him, best of five ... Usually just enough time to get blood back in your arm and catch your breath.”
Sill said he prepares by getting together with a group of arm wrestlers and practicing until someone surrenders.
“Our practices are, you just stand at the table and arm wrestle until you can’t move your arms anymore,” Sill said. “I have a good group of guys I work with, and we’ll go maybe an hour or more.”
He said he’s never faced Tullier before, but the Louisiana native has a lot more years in the sport than Sill, who has been competing for about 17 years.
The father of four now manages a restaurant, and he jokes that his favorite technique is “whatever it takes.”
While others are surprised by his hobby, his family is loud and proud in their support of him.
“My wife loves it,” he said. “She’s pretty loud. When videos are taken, she’s the only one you can hear.”
The most common reaction he gets is, “People actually do that?”
“It’s more of a shock that we actually travel around and pay money to compete in tournaments,” he said. “Most people don’t realize it’s going on.”
Actually, the sport is growing, especially these super matches organized by WAL, which was founded in 2014. They champion the idea that ordinary people, like your friendly neighborhood restaurant manager, can do extraordinary things.
Sill said he’s not really interested in attention or notoriety. He loves the camaraderie and competition.
“The one on one, either I’m better than you, or you’re better than me,” he said. “I’m not really good at all this other stuff. I just like to arm wrestle.”
Sill is just one of the local pullers featured in the quickly growing sport. “Lovely” Lisa Wolfley, of Kearns, is also competing Thursday night. This is the second of five regional events that will be available on Turner Sports’ new digital platform B/R Live, Thursday at 6 p.m.