ST. GEORGE — Dozens of athletes from around the intermountain west gathered at Iron Titans Gym for the fourth annual St. George Strong Man and Woman competition.
The event welcomed young men as young as 15 years old and a separate category for men over 40 years old. Over 40 competitors traveled from all over the state and beyond — with some from as far away as Wyoming and Nevada, making this year’s event the biggest in its history, event organizer Russ Anderson told St. George News.
The gym was packed with spectators, who paid $10 each for a day full of entertainment, filling the room with lawn chairs and food as they watched men flip 900-pound tires and women walk 50 feet carrying 500 pounds in under a minute. The crowd cheered for the athletes as they attempted to complete each challenge.
Each age and gender-specific group was broken into a number of weight classes, including super lightweight, lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight. The top five athletes in each weight class qualified for a bid to the World Strength Games on April 9-11 at Washington County Legacy Park in Hurricane. Qualified competitors will gather in Southern Utah from all over the world to compete, break records and meet with other world-class athletes.
“Because it’s a qualifier, it’s packed in here,” Anderson said. “It’s loud, it’s nice. We have athletes doing crazy stuff already. We just had an athlete deadlift 500 pounds for 17 reps.”
The competition included five individual challenges: deadlift, 50-foot farmer’s walk, 50-foot super yoke, one-arm dumbbell press with a standard dumbbell, and a monster medley tire flip and stone carry.
More people need to attend events like this, Anderson said, to support the local and regional world-class athletes that live and train in Southern Utah.
Events like the St. George’s Strong Man and Woman and the World Strength Games competitions inspire people to push themselves and show the result of hours of hard work and dedication that the athletes practice preparing for each challenge, according to Anderson.
“It pushes the human condition,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know their limit until they take it all the way and figure out what it is. We have more in the tank than we think we do, every one of us.”
This dedication isn’t isolated to lifting heavy weights over unbearable distances. It flows through the life of each athlete, he said, helping them build confidence in areas outside of the sport, including career and family.
Brooke Vawter, who competed in the lightweight open division for women, learned about the strong man competitions through her colleagues. She had been weightlifting for quite a while, she said, and decided to enter the competition to test her strengths.
“No matter what your goal is, it’s a lot of fun,” Vawter said. “Everyone is really supportive of each other. You may not know anyone, but everyone is here cheering each other on.”
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.