Armed And Dangerous -- Behind Smile, DOT Jones Is An Arm-Wrestling Force

TUKWILA - She's a 10-time world champion who has lost only one match in her career. Still, Dot Jones is not a household name. At least not yet.

Yet at 6 feet 4, 245 pounds, Jones stands out in any crowd and is a commanding presence in the world of arm-wrestling.

Even though she wasn't competing, Jones took center stage at the Yukon Jack Arm-wrestling Championships regional finals last night at the Doubletree Suites.

"Anyone who knows anything about arm-wrestling knows who Dot Jones is," said Alan Bown, the director of this state's arm-wrestling association.

Elimination rounds continue tonight, and the local finals are scheduled for tomorrow.

Despite her size and powerful arms, the first things one notices about Jones are her engaging dimpled smile, pale blue eyes, long red hair and musical laughter.

"What percentage of men could I beat? Ha!," said Jones, laughter shaking her head and shoulders. "I don't want to go shooting out numbers like that. There are a lot of big, strong men out there, though I haven't found one yet who could beat me (more laughter). I don't compete against men; that's how somebody could get hurt. Their egos start getting in the way, all that macho stuff."

There were lots of bruised egos among the 30 or so armwrestlers taking part last night. Even though the event's winners will only receive $200 and plastic trophies, Super Bowl defeats have been accepted more gracefully.

Losers slammed their fists onto tables, cut loose with profanities or returned to their tables with their heads slumped to their chests.

Bown, who runs arm-wrestling tournaments across the country, said this event was an eye-opener for many of the less experienced entrants.

"A lot of these guys have always won when they arm-wrestle with their friends at parties or taverns," Bown said. "But they are going to be surprised by how good some of these guys are."

Jones, who earned All-America honors in the shot put at Modesto (Calif.) Junior College and Fresno State, can walk down most streets unrecognized, but her celebrity status could be changing.

Her stage name is Lady Battleaxe on the syndicated television program "Knights and Warriors," a clone of the successful "American Gladiators." Jones is one of four female warriors.

"Being on the show is a rush," Jones said. "You get to act crazy and get paid for it. I'm the meanest of the female warriors and I take pride in that. I take pride in hurting and preying on the other people.

"My mom just loves it."

Jones turned down a chance to become a pro wrestler.

"That's too fakey," she said. "There is nothing on our show that is set up or staged. It's actual competition, just like arm-wrestling."

Jones knows the injuries in arm-wrestling are very real.

"I've broken two arms - of opponents, not mine," she said. "It was gross. It was like pushing against a wall, then having the wall disappear."

Jones, 29, entered her first arm-wrestling event on a lark. The youngest of six children, her only previous experience was arm-wrestling against her brothers and sisters.

"I had no idea what I was doing," she said. "I entered one tournament and one of the ladies I beat there was a world champion."

She went on to win the world championships in Petaluma, Calif.

Before last night's competition, men and women went to Jones for advice on how to advance through the field and earn a spot in the national finals in San Francisco in July.

She gladly obliged, sharing secrets of the grip, weight transfer and other strategies with all comers.

"I love coming to competitions when I don't have to compete," Jones said. "The people are nice, I get the see the women who will be my competition later in the year and I don't have the pressure of having to win."