Ryan Espey has become one of the first 50 members of the Canadian Armwrestling Hall of Fame. 

Three Manitobans were inducted into the Canadian Armwrestling Federation's Hall of Fame at the National Armwrestling Championship in Winnipeg. Espey was one of the three people honoured and says the feeling is unbelievable. 

"Everyone in there has been significant in the sport in one way or another. There's a lot of legendary competitors and a ton of people that have invested so much time in their lives trying to build up the sport," Espey explains. "It is truly something special and it's one of the last major accomplishments I could possibly make in this sport."

Espey knew he was joining the 2022 Hall of Fame class and brought some family to share the moment. While he knew it was going to be special, the surroundings made it even more meaningful.

"It was an emotional day. My daughter just finished competing and won two silver medals in the national championships in her youth divisions," says Espey. "A lot of the guys I competed with early in my career just happened to be there. So, that made the event even more special for me. Some of my rivals from way back in the early 2000s that had almost stopped competing over the years just happened to be there. To have a lot of friends and people I care about there with me was pretty special."

The former top-ranked left-arm wrestler in North America started in the sport 25 years ago. If you told the 1997 version of Espey that this was in his future, he says there's no way he would've believed you.

"I'm not sure what I would've said to you because at that point, I was juggling a few different sports, and I had not had any success really," Espey continues. "The Hall of Fame wasn't even established that long ago. With the amount of legends that have come through in Canada, I probably would've looked at you sideways and wondered where you'd come up with such a thing to say."

The Portager adds he first thought this was possible about ten years ago but he notes it still feels surreal. Espey says it's been amazing to watch the sport grow over the years and adds it's been very rewarding to see the people he has trained himself, or has trained with, have success.

Not only did he become a Hall of Famer but Espey also won a gold medal at the national tournament. He outlines what's next in his arm wrestling journey.

"A nice break. The next day I competed in the Left Arm Super Heavyweight Division in the Senior Class, which is basically the hard class," Espey explains. " I took a loss early in a war but I managed to come back and win the whole thing. I had to dig pretty deep, and I'm pretty banged up but the plan is to regroup and decide where I want to go and what I want to do. There are offers for challenge matches around North America, and there might be something overseas coming up again. I'm just going to take a couple of months to regroup before that."

Espey is adamant that he wouldn't have been able to get to this point without a tremendous amount of support.

"It takes a lot of people to help you along the way to make sure you're healthy and staying on the right track. My wife has definitely been a pillar for that," Espey continues. "I have a lot of people around me who have helped me through all of this. I just want to express my gratitude to all of those people, who supported me over the years and to those who encouraged me when I had lofty goals early on."