As usual, Calgary was well represented at the Strongman Competition on Saturday over the Sam Steele Days weekend, however there was some local talent in the lineup of 15 athletes.
However, the Albertans ran away with the top finishes, with Paul Binnette winning the who competition after barely making it into the event, according to Trevor Zak, who organizes the show.
“Paul Binnette, the guy who won, he’s friends with all the guys in Calgary,” said Zak. “He just came down because he wanted watch and he ended up coming to our banquet on Friday night and just asked me, ‘Man, can I go in? I’m so stoked about this.’”
“I just said, ‘Sure’.
“Kind of a last minute walk-on and he ended up winning.”
Huge crowds showed up beside Rotary Park to check out the show, which had some impressive feats and challenges, such as a head-to-head dump truck pull and a medley event that featured a deadlift of a car.
“Every year, it gets bigger and bigger,” Zak added. “I’m just happy the community supports it so much. People from kids up to grandparents just love the event. It kind of boggles my mind, just how much people love the Strongman show. Every year it continues to grow.”
“We had some new athletes this year, so that was phenomenal and it seems like even though they’re still amateurs, they seem to be getting stronger and stronger.”
Other events included the Atlas stone lift, tire flips, the Husafell carry and the keg press, which made a return to honour the memory of Grant McReynolds, a past competition judge who passed away.
“That was one of Grant McReynolds favourite events, so we decided to bring that one back,” said Zak. “Even though it’s only 150 pounds, it’s a lot harder because it’s so short, compared to logs.”
It was the first time the competition had head-to-head truck pulls, as competitors raced side-by-side to get the huge machine rolling.
The atlas stone lift was another tough one, but that didn’t stop one competitor from requesting even bigger weights, which started at 250 pounds and only got heavier from there on in.
“Travis Dergousoff said he wants a 400-pound stone next year, because the 365 was easy. We’ll see what we can do,” laughed Zak.
However, by the time it got to the tire flip near the end of the show, the leaders of the pack began to pull away.
“It kind of separated the stronger guys from the guys who weren’t as strong, because towards the end, the guys who were first, second and third were obviously the guys who flipped it a lot further,” Zak said.
Prizes for the top finishers included: two nights accommodation and skiing at Kimberley Alpine Resort or Fernie Alpine Resort for first place. A $500 gift certificate from Uniglobe Travel went to second place, while a night at Panorama Mountain Village Resort with four mountain bike passes went to third place. An anonymous donation of $500 in memory of McReynolds was split between fourth, fifth and sixth place.