A different kind of man cave – where sights are set on a world championship

Eight-time national arm wrestling champion Dan Gallo twists wrists with John Brink, who is sponsoring him this year. Bill Phillips photo
Eight-time national arm wrestling champion Dan Gallo twists wrists with John Brink, who is sponsoring him this year. Bill Phillips photo

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

For most of us, when we think of a man cave we envision a cozy room downstairs with a nice soft couch, plenty of sports memorabilia and a honkin’ big flat screen TV.

Dan Gallo’s man cave has a nice couch in it and plenty of sports memorabilia. But that’s where the similarities to a traditional man cave end.

There’s a chin-up bar on the door frame as you enter his ‘man cave.’ There’s a 200-pound barbell on the floor next to some very impressive weightlifting equipment. The sports memorabilia are all trophies and ribbons he’s won over the years and in place of a big screen TV is a huge fish tank with a dragonfish and two stingrays prowling the waterways.

When Dan Gallo goes into his man cave, which he does pretty much every day, he doesn’t go there to take it easy, although watching the fish swim back and forth does have a calming effect. Dan Gallo goes to his man cave to train.

The 15-time provincial and eight-time national armwrestling champion trains in his basement … with his fish and few other stalwarts who help Gallo train and who learn from someone who knows what it takes to get to the very top in one’s sport. And while Gallo still has plenty of competitions ahead of him, he is enjoying teaching others who are just learning the sport.

“It’s awesome to have a good training partner who is willing to put in the time to win,” he said of training partner Jacob Lee. “And watching him win. It was a very proud moment when he won nationals.”

Ben Skrepa also trains with Gallo and helps build some of the custom training equipment, such as an actual armwrestling table.

Gallo has a SuperMatch coming up in a couple of weeks and he’s getting prepared to compete in the 175-pound weight class.

“I’m going against an opponent that I’ve never pulled before, a heavier opponent,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good test, hopefully I get to keep my belts.”

And like any world-class athlete, the training regimen isn’t for the feint of heart.

On a typical day he gets up about 6 a.m. and heads downstairs to lift weights for a while. Breakfast then consists of a protein shake and then it’s off to work as a heavy duty mechanic. After work he’s back to training for a two to three hours. Then he gets to clean the fish tank.

One of the most important ingredients is his wife Sadie, who supports his efforts and his training regimen.

While he has been national champion eight times, his next big goal to capture a world championship. He’s been there before and finished sixth. Next time he wants to do better. He will first have to compete in provincials and if he moves on from there will go to the nationals in Quebec. If everything goes well at nationals, he will qualify to compete at the world championships, which will be held in Turkey.

Gallo has been supported by Brink Forest Products and on Monday owner John Brink stopped by to see where Gallo trains and twist a few wrists with the champion.

“You can feel the strength and the power,” Brink said of armwrestling with Gallo.

He said a lot of people don’t know much about the sport, but like any it takes a lot of work.

“If you want to be at the level Dan is, you have to put in a lot of work,” Brink said. “To have a world class athlete like Dan in Prince George, shows us what kind of community we have.”

Dan Gallo's Dragonfish, who patrols his tank while Dan trains. Bill Phillips photo
Dan Gallo’s Dragonfish, who patrols his tank while Dan trains. Bill Phillips photo