XENIA — The Strongman competition held Saturday at the Greene County Fair wasn’t really about competition. It was more about friends helping one another achieve personal goals.
“You just compete with yourself, better yourself,” said Shawn Brooks, competitor in the heavyweight class. “You really don’t compete against the other guys here. You’re trying to make yourself better. And that’s what makes Strongman good – there’s always records to be broken.”
Orie Barnett, who manages Christ Strength Gym in Xenia and runs many Strongman competitions in the area, was disappointed in his effort on the day.
“I feel dejected because I didn’t get to my goal. My goal was 1,100 pounds [on the squat], and I’ve done it twice before,” he said.
It wasn’t because he didn’t have support, though. Affectionate cheers of “C’mon old man” could be heard from longtime friends trying to encourage him to finish the lift.
Barnett, Brooks and Sam Rogers have been training together for many years.
“I’ve know Sam for too long. He asked me if he could train with me in an apartment that I was in and he’s followed me ever since,” said Barnett. “I’ve known [Shawn] since ninth grade.”
Rogers, who set a personal record on the squat lockout at 900 pounds, said he started lifting because it seemed interesting.
“Orie and I have been training 15, 20 years and it’s just fun. It’s unusual and it keeps us going,” he said. “It keeps us old men still moving around, I guess. It’s fun. I think people enjoy seeing something weird like that.”
Lifters competed in five events on the day. There was a Bus Pull, the bus which was donated by Legacy Village in Xenia. There was a deadlift carry and walk, where competitors had to lift a heavily weighted two-inch bar to their hips and walk it around. In the Atlas Stones event, competitors lift three large, round stones from the ground to a platform. It is one of the most popular events in Strongman competition, according to Barnett. The Viking bench press is a modified version of the Viking press, where competitors lift weights on a hinge above their heads. The final competition of the day was the squat lockout, in which competitors lift a bar with large drums at either end. Empty, the bar weighs 500 pounds and weight is slowly added.
While a Strongman competition might seem odd to outsiders, Barnett says lifters are always driven to push their limits.
“Some records have been around for a long time,” he said. “We get an itch in our pants and that’s how we get started. There are always more goals to achieve.”
The following people, separated by class, competed in Saturday’s event:
Heavyweight – Doug Madewell (1st place), Shawn Brooks (2nd), Jason Hubbell (3rd)
Middleweight – Pete Schalk
Lightweight – Jaycob Burns
Teen Heavyweight – Corey Brunner (1st), Zach Robinette (2nd)
50+ Lightweight – Sam Rogers
50+ Heavyweight – Orie Barnett
Women Lightweight – Kiley Hefty
CABL Leightweight – Brooke Fudge