They won't get splattered with tomato goo, but on Main Street right around the time of the Tomato Fights on Saturday, a group of men and women will engage in fights of a different sort.
It's the 18th annual Arms of Steel Armsport, or arm wrestling, competition at Diane's Deli at 206 S. Main Street on Saturday, Aug. 18. Weigh-ins are from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Start time is 3:30 p.m. sharp. Arms of Steel will have a float in the festival parade.
This will be the 10th year the stand-up style arm wrestling tournament will be at Diane's. In the early years, it was held under a tent in the Cooper's parking lot.
Admission is free and Diane's will be open during the competition. Entry fee is $20.
Tom "Nitro" Simko is the founder of Arms of Steel and is back to run the event again this year. The tournament is sanctioned by the International Armsport Federation (IAF) of which Simko is the Pennsylvania director.
Something different this year - rather than trophies, up to 12 winners in various men's and women's divisions will win cash prizes based on the number of entrants.
Up to 80 arm wrestlers, including 10 to 12 women, from five to seven states are expected to enter.
Also new this year is a raffle for cash prizes designed to raise money to send Simko to the World Championships in Brazil in September. Only 500 tickets will be sold for the raffle with top prizes of $250 and $150. Tickets are $5 or five for $20. The winning tickets will be pulled after the Arms of Steel event at about 6 p.m.
Raffle tickets will be sold at the Tomato Festival on Thursday and Friday and during Arms of Steel, but are available now at B&G Beverage, Generations Hair Salon and Diane's.
Simko, 53, qualified for the Worlds at the national Pro-Am Championships in Connecticut last month in Grand Masters for over 50 competitors.
Simko runs and referees Arms of Steel, but does not officially compete. He is open to a challenge, though. "If somebody from out of state wants to challenge me, I'll have to wrestle."
Simko, who is ranked No. 1 in country Unified Armsport Association 165 and under division, said if a challenge match is arranged it will be a best-of-five staged before the Arms of Steel matches begin.
Among the wrestlers to watch are Al Price, ranked second in the state and Matt Powell from Avoca. Simko said Powell is one of his prized students. "He is one of the most improved I've worked with. He won novice at states and now he'll wrestle pro."
While Arms of Steel is a series of individual matches, there is a state-team component, too. Wrestlers can register as teams for no extra charge. A first-place team plaque will be awarded.
Over the years, the tournament has grown in size and in prestige.
Arms of Steel is considered one of the top two tourneys in the state along with the state championships.
The tournament has six divisions: men's right, men's left, women's, men's novice right, men's novice left and Master's Open 40 and over Men's right and novice are divided into weight classes from 0-154 to 221 and up. The other divisions will be split in half according to weight.
Tournament sponsors are Diane's Deli, Hoof and Paw Jeans, DeMinico Chiropractic, Pittston Appliance, Atty. Joseph Novak, Toyota/Scion of Scranton, Caddie Labar's Polaris, Bonner Chevrolet, Ken Pollack Suzuki, Ranson Quarry and Mobile Glass Services.
For more information, call Tom "Nitro" Simko at 388-8612.
This will be the 10th year the stand-up style arm wrestling tournament will be at Diane's. In the early years, it was held under a tent in the Cooper's parking lot. Admission is free and Diane's will be open during the competition. Entry fee is $20.