Queens arm wrestler heading to world championship

- On Wednesday morning, Fox 5 found Patrick Baffa cutting pipes of copper in Astoria, not 24 hours after watching this plumber from Bayside crushing pipes of muscle in Little Bay Park.

"I don't know if I can make a whole lot of parallels between plumbing and arm-wrestling," Baffa said, "but I can say that plumbing will help with arm-wrestling."

Patrick learned to arm-wrestle from his father.

"Roughhousing around the house, who's stronger, then it elevated into lunchroom cafeterias," he said.

Patrick started competing in amateur city tournaments in 2000, entered a few state tourneys after that and then laid down his arms from the sport for nearly 10 years, before appearing on the reality show "Game of Arms" in 2014 and re-discovering his passion for this most primitive of contests.

"It's a full-contact sport," he said. "I mean, it's testosterone-fueled."

Next week Patrick flies to Las Vegas to compete for the first time in the World Arnwrestling League's World Championship against the other 149 strongest arms on the planet as the only representative from the five boroughs.

"When you actually meet people who have been competing in this for 20 and 30 and sometimes 40 years, then you learn that there's a lot of physics involved, a lot of dynamics, a lot of conditioning," Patrick said.

When not threading pipes or practicing his hook with friends Chris Fiorenzo and Steven Black amid a smattering of mostly disinterested park-goers, Patrick is at the gym, destroying weighted pull-ups.

"It's sweat and blood," he said. "It's like a second job."

To qualify for worlds, Patrick dropped a weight a class ("A lot of these guys, the lighter they are, the faster they are. A lot are very explosive.") and obeyed a message from the arm-wrestling gods that found him from a chalkboard in a bar in the East Village.

"There it was saying: 'When nothing is going right, go left.' And I just froze," Patrick said. "I was like, 'This is the universe talking to me.'"

Patrick wrestles with both arms but writes and throws with his right, which he describes as more dynamic.

"Whereas my left is kind of like, the brain'll fire to tell it to do something but it won't," he said, "but the strength is there."

Armed with the inspiration of a barroom quote, Patrick posted a stronger season with his left arm than his right and qualified for Worlds lefty.

The World Armwrestling League lost a sponsor in the months leading up to its championship, greatly diminishing the tournament's prize money, but Patrick said most competitors plan to wrestle anyway. Many are paying for the journey, lodging, etc. on their own.

"We're going to find out who the champion is," Patrick said.

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