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I ended up taking 19th place out of 64 Heavyweights at this year’s North American Strongman National Championships in Denison, Texas on October 18 and 19. I traveled down there with my Mom, since my Dad farms and my brother was in the middle of his senior football season. It was a little more than a 10 hour drive, which wasn’t so bad. We were scheduled to start at 3 PM Friday, but didn’t actually start until 6 PM or so due to the amount of competitors that were in the womens and lightweight divisions. It is definitely awesome to see so many people getting involved in strongman.
The first event was the axle clean and press for reps (one clean and then press away) with 325 lbs. I finished this event with 8 reps, which put me in a tie for third place, which is about what I was expecting, both in regards to reps and placing. I really didn’t have any issues with this event. The ground was relatively flat, so that helped with balance. I have definitely seen competitions where the platform to press is on an incline or a decline, which gets very tricky.
The next event was the keg carry and wheelbarrow load medley. Three kegs of increasing weight were set up at 80 feet, 50 feet, and 25 feet. The athletes had to carry the kegs to the wheelbarrow then push the whole apparatus 80 feet back to the starting line. I finished this event with a distance, I just plain ran out of gas at the end. I finished somewhere in the top 15 still, as a lot of guys had trouble with it. I believe I was the highest finisher of those who were credited with a distance.
The third event of day 1 was the car deadlift. The car deadlift has either gone very well for me in the past, or very bad. This is an example of one of the bad ones. I did not get credited with any reps, along with about 40 of the other competitors. The apparatus itself was heavy, especially since many of the guys who finished with double digits in the car deadlift last year struggled to get 2 or 3. I’m still not 100% sure what went wrong with this. I had a good setup, and my suit was adjusted well. I partly blame my height for my struggles with the car deadlift, but that’s how it goes.
We were supposed to finish day 1 with the frame carry, which is one of my best events, but due to it being nearly 10:30 p.m, the frame was consolidated to a medley with the yoke on day 2.
The yoke and frame carry was the first event for day 2. I was looking forward to this, as my training for it had gone very well. However, I was a bit disappointed that the frame was taken out as an event by itself, because I needed all the points I could get. I finished this event in just over 30 seconds, which was good for a top 5 finish. I had no drops on either apparatus, which was definitely what I needed.
The next event was the press medley. This consisted of a 340 lb log, a 210 lb giant dumbbell, a 300 lb axle, and a 270 lb keg. I knew that I was at least good for the log and axle, and anything else would be helpful. I was very concerned during warm-ups, because I was still sore from the axle on day 1, so I barely was able to hit a 290 lb log in warm-ups. I knew that adrenaline would eventually take over, and I was able to hit the 340 lb log (few competitors did), move on to the dumbbell, then the axle. I wasn’t able to get the dumbbell in a good position, so I gave up on it and made sure to hit the axle. I finished with 2 implements, which kept me in about the same spot in respect to points.
The final event in the competition was the atlas stone carry and load. 3 stones (310, 330, and 350) were placed 15 feet from a 56” bar to be loaded over. This event had gone well in my training as well. I was able to get the first 2 stones loaded in just over 20 seconds, but wasn’t able to finish the third, which definitely would have been helpful. With split times, I finished somewhere in the top 15, which was helpful, but not how I wanted to finish.
All in all, I felt very prepared for the competition, and really wouldn’t have changed much in my training. Supplementing with HMB was a key factor in this preparation, since I trained 7 days a week for 10 weeks or more. I finished 2 points away from an automatic invitation to the Arnold Classic, which was my goal to go to again this year, but it wasn’t meant to be. The level of competition this year was much stronger than it was the year before, which shows that North American Strongman has improved as an organization, and more and more top quality athletes are getting involved.
Over the next few months, I have decided to focus my training more towards powerlifting, as I would like to do a meet sometime in the spring. I have some ambitious powerlifting goals, and I feel that now would be a good time to focus on achieving them since I don’t have any definite strongman plans in the next few months. I want to thank everyone for their support over the past few months, and also want to thank everyone at Team HMB for everything they have helped me with over the past few months.