Inspiring Utah Summer Games Stories: Kirby Family
Jeff Kirby and his wife have learned that weaknesses can be overcome. After conquering their alcohol and drug addictions in their youth they have found a love in each other and their family, in helping others and competing together in arm wrestling and bass fishing.
Jeff Kirby and his family: Jeff Kirby age 37/ Wife: Summer, age 28 / Son:Jarett, age 9 / Daughters:Alissa, age 4, Lexi, age 14, Savannah, age 19.
Living in Leeds, Utah
Utah Summer Games Sport: Arm Wrestling, bass fishing
The Kirby Family Story From Jeff:
About 10 years ago my wife and I both came from a lifestyle of addiction and homelessness. before we met each other we were both living a hopeless life of drugs and alcohol which led us to homelessness. My wife was living in her car in California, and I was living on the streets of Las Vegas, sleeping in bushes, on sidewalks ect.. By the grace of God through a prayer we were both led to the same recovery club in Las Vegas where we met, fell in love, and decided to use our broken pasts to glorify God by helping others with addiction. So we opened up our garage in our home to hold recovery meetings and bible studies. About three years ago we moved to Leeds, and started the only registered life recovery bible study in Utah, at Southland Bible Church in Washington, Utah, where our goal remains the same, to carry the message of hope to hurt and broken people and show that miracles do happen.
As a youth I wrestled and played hockey amongst other sports. My wife was in dance and very active in exercise as a life guard and a swim instructor. I started showing interest in arm wrestling again in competition, as I did as a young adult. With my wife’s encouragement my son and I entered the Utah Summer Games last year. My wife showed interest in the sport and decided to train, practice technique, and enter with us this year, taking place on June 9. We are also a family who loves to fish, and discovered the Utah Summer Games holds a bass tournament, June 30, So my wife and I are entering that as well. We are grateful to have moved to a state that has such an awesome organization of events, that were able to participate in as a family, and be motivated to live an active and healthy lifestyle together.
2012 UPDATE ON KIRBY FAMILY ARM WRESTLING COMPETITION
Summer Kirby — Gold in her weight division
Jeff Kirby took Silver in his weight division.
Photo by Asher Swan
Summer was ecstatic at taking gold during her first Utah Summer Games competition.
A Few Questions For The Kirby Family
What sport or sports are you participating in?
Arm Wrestling: Jeff, Summer, Jarett, / Bass Fishing: Jeff & Summer
How long have you been playing these sports?
Arm Wrestling: Jeff started in 2001 placing 3rd in the U.S. Nationals in Laughlin, NV. He also competed in 2002 placing 2nd “High Desert Championship”, and in the 2011 Utah summer games, receiving a silver medal.
Jarett Kirby — 2011 Utah summer games bronze medal.
Bass Fishing: We have never competed, however we have both fished since we were young children and bass fishing as a family approx. three days a week.
What motivates you to compete?
Jeff : I believe God created me with a competitive spirit, I have always had the desire, and competed in sports like wrestling and hockey as a youth never letting my “disability” hold me back.
I also want my children to have a father that they are proud to have.
What motivates you to win?
I’ve always thrived to win and tried to be the very best at everything that I do, however after our struggles with addiction we are here to be a witness and example, that through Christ, miracles do happen, and our goal is to inspire, not only hurt and broken people, and not only disabled people, but to give hope to all people.
What inspires you to keep practicing even on the difficult days?
I always tell my son that our opponent might be feeling the same way and decide not to train that day, so that puts us one day ahead them. And to always stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.
Do you have a training secret?
To always be training as often as possible. For arm wrestling, I use my driving time to work, on lunch, and driving home to strengthen my grip, wrist, and forearm, which are some of the most important tools in arm wrestling. For bass fishing, “marry a woman who loves to fish”.
What is your favorite Utah Summer Games event to watch? (not including your own)
Unfortunately we`ve never watched another event. I discovered the Utah summer games last year searching for arm wrestling tournaments online. Moving here from Las Vegas over two years ago, we feel really blessed to now live in a state that has such an awesome organization of events.
How have you let your “disability” change into one of your strengths?
Being born without my right arm has given my left arm tremendous strength, also being forced to adapt, not knowing any other way, therefore in my mind I’m not missing anything, if I had another one I wouldn’t know what to do with it. It would probably get in my way. And then there is always the under estimation factor from my opponents that I think works for my benefit.
What is your favorite reward for yourself after you have completed a competition?
The feeling that we accomplished what we set out and trained so hard to do, taking the experience of participating as a family, and using it to analyze our strengths and weaknesses to adjust our technique and training for next time knowing that we all did our very best to be an example of what God can do in a human being. “The medals are pretty cool too”.
Jeff and his family are competing on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in the SUU Sorenson PE Building Room 101
560 W University Blvd.
Stay tuned and we will bring you an update on their competition results.