Joyce King and her family are some of the world’s greatest arm-wrestlers.
A 13 times world champion, Joyce and co devote huge chunks of their lives to the traditional bar sport. Three generations of the family have taken it up, including Joyce’s daughter Jessica King, 28, and granddaughter Josie King, 20.
‘Arm-wrestling is ingrained in this family. Once you’re an arm-wrestler you are always an arm-wrestler,’ says Joyce, 51, who came out of retirement after five years in 2014.
‘I love watching my children and grandchildren compete, even when they lose, because they are happy just being up there competing.
‘Arm-wrestling used to be a pub sport but now they have tournaments in casinos in Las Vegas. It’s really growing as a sport.’
Even more impressive is the fact that Joyce, from Fredericton, Canada, has returned to the arena after a nasty arm-break last year.
‘I was in the middle of the match… I brought my wrist back up and then snap – it just snapped off,’ she recalls. ‘I didn’t feel anything, no pain, until 15 minutes into the ambulance ride.
‘But everything is good now. I made a good recovery and now I’m back.’
But doesn’t Joyce feel under threat from the new talent coming through, in her own family?
‘I presume my daughter will beat me some day but I’ve always told her she’ll have to really beat me as I’m not going to just give it up. I had to learn my own way and so will she.’
Mother-of-two Jessica is now a two-times world champion herself, while Josie Montana King, a full-time student, has won two golds in Canada’s Arm Wrestling Championships.
Jessica, a construction worker who is 6ft and weighs 200lb, says: ‘I first started arm-wrestling when I was 11 years old. I just love the sport. The people are absolutely amazing. Everyone comes together and shares tips and doesn’t turn everything into a rivalry.’
The rest of Joyce’s family, while not quite reaching the women’s heights, are also all keen arm-wrestlers.
These include Joyce’s son Cody King, 28, and grandchildren Hailey, 7, Jaxson, 7, Jacob, 6, and Jenika, 3.
WAll idolise Joyce, who weighs 180lb and has 17in arms, and her record-breaking achievements in the tough sport.
The self-confessed tomboy became interested in sport as a child, playing with her three brothers and three sisters in the fields.
But it was only when she turned 30 that she started to become interested in the world of arm-wrestling.
‘My first matches were pretty simple. There was only a couple of smaller ladies who weren’t very athletic and so I won easily,’ says Joyce.
‘I got more confident and decided to take it on more seriously.’
She won her first world title in 2003 and went on to win a further 12, but there was one last challenge before she could consider herself the world’s best.
‘The reason I considered myself the best in the world in 2006 is because I’m the only person to ever beat the heavyweight champion from Russia, Liliya Khamidullina.
‘I took her on at Ultimate Armwrestling lll 2006 in Las Vegas. Nobody else could beat her and we went the whole three matches with me winning two. It was an amazing feeling. I still get chills now thinking about it.’
To stay at the top, the women endure gruelling gym workouts, protein-rich diets and three-times weekly technique training.
Their devotion has impressed trainer Derek Wilson, who has helped them with strength work for the last two years.
He says: ‘They’re the strongest arm-wrestling family in Canada. Hands down. They really take the sport seriously.
‘Joyce is extremely resilient and stubborn to come back from the arm break. I don’t think there is a limit for her.
‘You could put her up against a 250lb guy or a bodybuilder and if he doesn’t have good technique then forget it – she will pummel him every time.’
The training has arguably taken a toll on their feminine features but one man who isn’t complaining is Joyce’s devoted husband Alan, 62.
He also competed but quit when he broke his arm.
‘Joyce could definitely beat me in an arm wrestle because she is stronger and better locked,’ admits Alan. ‘I am not embarrassed. She could beat guys a lot bigger than me.
‘I find her big muscles sexy. I think she is a super woman and very feminine – just not at the table.’