She took up weight lifting so she could care for her disabled husband; now she wants to be in SI’s swimsuit issue

Great State
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POTEAU, Okla. (KFOR) — It can be hard to keep up with someone like Judy Stetson.

We met her at a water park in Fort Smith, Ark., so she could show us, literally, how important it is to go with the flow in life.

“Ride the wave,” she smiles. “It’s going to be all right.”

Her main job as an English Composition teacher and and English as a Second Language teacher changed early this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Going with the flow meant changing up Zoom classes to make vocabulary lessons a little more active.

If you want to learn directions she doesn’t just tell you, she shows you.

“We’re learning left, right, forward and turn,” she tells her Zoom class.

A few years ago, Judy never would have thought she’d be spending so many hours in the gym, building up muscles she didn’t know she had.

But that was about the time her husband Jon suffered a massive stroke that left him a quadriplegic.

She started lifting weights so she could lift him.

“As I lifted more weights, I started to feel like Wonder Woman,” she recalls. “It’s been such a transformative journey.”

Her husband passed away on Memorial Day 2018.

Judy kept going.

She started entering fitness contests as a 40-something spark plug.

Explaining, “As I got stronger physically, I also got stronger mentally.”

She started taking martial arts classes, always with an eye toward improving at something.

“Isn’t the United States great,” she gushes. “Isn’t Oklahoma Great!”

So this year she decided to take on an even bigger wave by entering the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Search.

Going with the flow, she says, is only the beginning.

Judy is also planning to enter the Oklahoma Grand Prix bodybuilding competition held in November.

For more information on the SI Swimsuit Search, go here.

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