SUNAPEE, NH (CBS) – It Happens Here, in Sunapee, New Hampshire. Known as Sunapee since 1850, the town was named after the Algonquin word meaning ‘goose lake,’ since Lake Sunapee attracts so many wild geese to its waters.
Located 45 minutes north of New Hampshire’s capital, Concord, the little town is host to scenic waterfront views, great skiing, and absolute rock stars like Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns, and the baddest grandmother of five.
Cathy Merrill is a five time World Champion Arm Wrestler.
“The first time I arm wrestled, I went to this county fair,” Cathy recounted. “Friend of mine, Jim Dooling, who was my business partner at the time, said, ‘Well let’s go check out the arm wrestling.’ So we went up there, and I was like ‘I don’t really know if I want to.’ So Jim said, ‘I’ll pay the entry fee and if you win I’ll buy you some fries.’ Well you’re not going to not do it for fries.”
After winning her first match, Cathy was hooked and began training with a group in Manchester called Granite Arms.
“Granite Arms is the only based arm wrestling team in the state of New Hampshire. My coach, Badger Drewes, has been involved with arm wrestling for 40 years.”
“I started what we had for a team at the time -two, three, four guys in ’82,” Badger told us. “So from ’82 to now, we’ve been a constant every Wednesday night team.”
Today Cathy is a five-time world champion. She competed in three classes: the masters for women 40+, the grand masters for women 50+ and the senior class, which has no age limit. She has traveled all over the world competing, from London to Budapest.
When she is not bending biceps internationally, Cathy is a local school bus driver.
“She’s the sweetest person ever,” shared Granite Arms teammate Kayla Waterman. “She trains me every single week. She does everything for me. She helps me be a better arm wrestler.”
And Cathy’s not done yet.
“I’m getting ready for Nationals next year,” Cathy revealed. “I’d like to do one more Worlds to have the seven, and help bring back two more golds. I’m just a regular person, I feel, that gets do something very extraordinary in my life. It’s been phenomenal.”