Standing tall in his hometown with the best of the best among Wyoming arm-wrestlers, Devin Bair was inducted into the Wyoming Arm Wrestling Hall of Fame Saturday during the inaugural Battle in the Big Horns Tournament at the Lovell Community Center.
Jeff Ames of Mile High ArmSports made the presentation to Bair, presenting a long list of accomplishments from Bair’s 17-year career, followed
by a slide show that included video footage of many of Bair’s winning bouts.
“The Hall of Fame award goes to the individuals who have represented the state of Wyoming and the sport of arm-wrestling with their accomplishments and dedication,” Ames said, noting that past recipients of the award were Ed Baxter, Joe Ujvary, Trenton Meyer, Danny Hedges, Gaylon Russell and Chris Chandler. Ames recognized Baxter, Hedges and Ujvary, who were in attendance and joined Bair during the presentation.
Ames also dedicated the tournament to “two of Wyoming’s great heavyweight pullers, Trenton Meyer and Steve Muller, who we lost in 2016 to their battles with cancer.”
During his presentation, Ames said Bair is the only World Armwrestling Federation silver medalist in the history of Wyoming Arm-wrestling.
“Devin started arm-wrestling right here in Lovell in 2000 and during his 17-year career he has represented the state in well over 120 tournaments in 17 different states in a record six different countries,” Ames said. “He was Rookie of the Year in 2000 at the age of 17 and was trained by Hall of Famer Ed Baxter, from Cody. Ed also trained Steve Muller, Jaime Petrich and Travis Davis in a group the four of them named the ‘Baxter Boys’ as a tribute to their mentor.”
Bair is considered one of Wyoming’s best ever, Ames said, winning many local, state, regional and professional events, adding that Bair is one of Wyoming’s top all-time earners in career prize money including winning a custom Harley-Davidson at the 2006 Ohio Harley Pull. Bair has held the number one ranking in Wyoming and also the region in six different weight classes, Ames said, and he is a two-time Wyoming number one overall champion and has won Supermatch titles in three different states. Bair is a member of the Wyoming All-Time Team, the Mile High ArmSports Hall of Elite, and is a five-time Wyoming Arm-wrestler of the Year. He was named to “Merle Meeter’s Hall of Fame Team” and he has trained some of Wyoming’s best pullers, Ames added.
“Devin’s accomplishments at the National and World level in his weight class have put him in an elite category of pullers that are considered the best in U.S. history,” Ames said. “He has 23 top three placings at the National Championships, winning eight national titles in two different organizations in four different weight classes. He has won some of the most prestigious international titles in our sport including the Golden Arm Championships in Sweden, the Arm Wars Championships in England, and the World Wrist-wrestling Championships in Petaluma, Calif. He has defeated many of the top pullers in the World of Arm-wrestling and has been ranked number one in the U.S., number one in North America and number two in the world.
“There is no better gauge of an arm-wrestler’s talent than when they are matched up against the world’s best and at the WAF World Championships is where pride of Lovell shined the brightest. In his five appearances at the WAF Worlds, which only Hall of Famer Chris Chandler has accomplished, Devin had a record seven top-five placings and a record five top-four placings including his 2005 Bronze medal in Japan and his 2003 Silver medal in Canada.”
In addition to his historic career, Ames said, Bair has been a representative of the United States Arm-wrestling Association and has refereed in USAF, USAA, MHA and Wyoming ArmSports tournaments. Ames added that Devin and his wife, Stacy, have been generous sponsors of state, regional and national events.
Following a video of Bair winning numerous arm-wrestling matches, Ames led into the presentation by stating, “I am very proud to introduce the newest member of the Wyoming Arm Wrestling Hall of Fame, Devin ‘TNT’ Bair!”
After accepting the award – a large silver cup – Bair said the sport of arm-wrestling has blessed him with maturity and confidence, and after starting so young in the sport, he has made many friendships and has a community of arm-wrestlers wherever he goes.
By David Peck