Richard and Liasen Henson enjoy a close father-son relationship.
It has grown with their interest in arm wrestling and will be seen on national TV on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network next year.
The Hensons were chosen to be featured in a 13-episode series called Arm Nation, following Canada’s most passionate Indigenous arm wrestlers, after Picture This Productions was contacted by an arm wrestler in Nova Scotia about producing a documentary series on the sport. The Nova Scotian knew of Henson through a Facebook page for First Nations arm wrestlers.
The crew was in Penticton May 14 and 15 filming in various parts of Penticton, including the Henson home and City Centre Health and Fitness where Richard works out.
“It’s super cool. It’s really about the community of arm wrestling,” said Richard. “We can succeed no matter what we want to do. To have the experience and the exposure of a television crew doing a documentary, reality show is phenomenal. I hope I can add benefit for the film.”
Liasen said the experience was cool and tiring. The film crew had them walking a lot and redoing shots.
“It’s very fun,” said Liasen, 13. “It’s pretty cool to get this attention.”
The episode focuses on Richard, who has been an underdog in the sport though he has given some legends a run for their money. He has had some spectacular wins, but has struggled with consistency. This year Richard changed his whole routine determined to win big, regularly and consistently.
Part of the filming included training with partner Tim Gelinas and Liasen. They will also join the pair during the May long weekend, when Richard and Liasen will be in Kelowna for the provincial championship. Richard is a provincial champion from 2015 and finished third in nationals that year.
David Gaudet, director of Arm Nation for Picture This Productions, said Richard was awesome during the filming.
“We have had a busy schedule. We got him up early, kept him up late. He’s been nothing but smiling,” said Gaudet. “He’s a family man. Just hanging out with them has been really great. If Richard wasn’t great, then we would have had challenges.”
Richard said he is stronger and more technical than before. He won’t know how his opponents are until being at the table, but expects to face national and world champions. Liasen feels nervous going in, but also feels ready.
“I think I have a pretty good chance,” he said.
Liasen started competing in 2015. His first competition was at Summerland’s Action Fest, where he won using both arms. He also won a provincial championship with his left arm and silver with his right. At nationals in Saskatoon, he won silver twice.