ELKINS – More than 120 of the area’s top amateur fighters are set to square off Friday and Saturday in Elkins to find out just who is the toughest person in central West Virginia.

The Elkins Toughman Contest will take place at Elkins High School’s Richard P. Simmons Memorial Gymnasium, beginning at 7:30 p.m. both nights.

“There is going to be a lot of action and a lot of excitement,” promoter Jerry Thomas said. “It looks like we’re going to have a great group of fighters.

“We’ve got a lot of new faces. We already have 122 fighters scheduled to compete. I’m sure we will have even more by Friday.”

This marks the 34th year the organization has been hosting toughman contests. The group has been bringing the contest to Elkins for the past 12 years.

The event is split up into the following weight classes: heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, lightweight, women’s heavyweight, women’s light heavyweight and women’s lightweight.

The only returning champion signed up at press time is Dakota Linger of Buckhannon. Linger fights in the light weight division.

“He’s a tough kid,” Thomas said. “Each year, we have new fighters. More than three-quarters of the competitors are new. That’s what makes it so exciting. You never know what’s going to happen. You have to be there to enjoy it.”

Nine-year old Gracie Metheney of Elkins is slated to sing the National Anthem and the USMC color guard will be present for opening ceremonies. Metheney has been selected to compete on America’s Got Talent, a reality television series, Thomas said.

New this year, one lucky fan will win a trip for two to Orlando, Fla. The mini-vacation is valued at $1,200 and includes four days and three nights at the Marriott Hotel. The winner and their guest will be flown from the North Central West Virginia Airport in Clarksburg via Allegiant travel.

No purchase is necessary to enter the drawing for the trip. To enter, go to and click on the contest entry link. Two finalists will be announced Thursday on the WDNE radio station at noon. The finalists will be given ring-side seats to the toughman contest and a drawing will be held in the ring to announce the grand prize winner of the trip for two.

Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the events will start at 7:30 p.m. both nights.

Advance tickets are available at Rich Oil stores in Elkins and Philippi and the Speedway stores in Buckhannon and Elkins. Advance tickets are also available online at or at the gate Friday.

Discount packages are also available for groups of 10 or more. For every 10 tickets purchased, two free tickets will be provided. The offer is only valid by calling 800-296-3897 or online.