By James Deffinbaugh
The biggest show in American strongman is this Saturday and Sunday at the Legion Sports Festival in Long Beach, California.
Competition starts at 10AM PDT both days. No word yet on a live-stream. Cellphone service and internet is always a little sketchy at fitness expos, so we’ll see what happens.
I’ll be there supporting my people and maybe help with scoring and stuff. I’m about 50lbs too heavy to compete this year though.
The women’s classes are small this year but as competitive as ever. With there being relatively few women pros since the class is still new, and the recent Strongest Woman in the World in Norway this year, we’re not seeing the numbers we otherwise would. But it’s still a really good showing. The top two lightweight American’s from SWIW are here with Laura Anderson and Jessica Kite (Laura also coming off a win at USS Nats in the 148 class). In the middleweights we have Ashley Crawford (2nd at SWIW) ready for her first big pro win. And in the Heavyweights, we have probably the top American strongwoman of this generation Kristin Rhodes, facing Brooke Sousa (Strongest Woman in the World 2018) and Brittney Cornelius (Strongest Woman in the World 2016 and America’s Strongest Woman 2017). You can’t find a more competitive group of athletes than that.
The middleweight men’s class is the most exciting for me – not just because I competed there, but because it really is the highest-level show in men’s weight classed strongman. The 231lb class has always had the most competitors – it’s a natural weight for people of average height that want to get really strong. Even in powerlifting you see the most competitors in the 220 and 242 range. And because it had the most competitors, the pro class was created, giving it the most opportunities. Which made it even more competitive, since athletes that might otherwise be better at 200lbs or 265lbs go to the 231s for the better opportunities. And America’s Strongest Man is the top opportunity for American middleweights. It has the most prize money of any men’s weight-classed strongman show (I believe the last 3 years was $5000, $10,000, and $3500 for first place, depending on sponsors), and it’s the most exclusive – you have to win (or now podium) the biggest class at strongman nationals or win a platinum plus with a pro-card, which were the toughest shows in the country. And it shows – last year at World’s Strongest Man 105kg, the podium was swept with people that were at ASM – and that’s without Sean Demarinis and I there.
Sean Demarinis and Terry Rady are the big favorites this year. Sean has come back from his brutal injury at ASM last year and surprised a lot of us by winning the Dallas Pro-Am this year. Sean’s static strength is tough to beat – but Terry’s been getting closer this year. Both might hit an 800lb axle deadlift, and expect big reps on the log as well. Cambi is often underrated, but is coming off a 2nd place finish at WSM 105kg and has his eyes on the prize at ASM this year. His efficient log jerk along with his top talent at yoke and stones could take him to the top. And we might see big things from Matt Moeller. He won nationals handily last year – but his lack of social media keeps him off the radar.
The heavyweight men’s class will show which of these guys will be ready for the next level. Many top America’s like Brian Shaw, Jerry Pritchett, and Martins Licis aren’t registered – but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Martins as a late entry, especially with the competition being near him.
Trey Mitchell had a big year, with a win at nationals, a win at Official Strongman Games, and qualified for World’s Strongest Man at the Giants Live North American Championship. Wesley Clayborn’s static strength is crazy, and has a 500+ lb SOS load to his name. This should be a really good show for him. We also have the giant 6’8 390lb Dylan Lockard ready for his first pro show. He has amazing potential that he’s now starting to realize. Josh Reynolds was recently the top American at the Arnold Amateur world championship. And there’s a bit of buzz around Casey Garrison’s return on his home turf.
Competitor list and events below:
Day one 09/29/2018
Log Clean and Press
Must Clean and Press each Reps for as many reps as possible. 60 sec. time limit. Max reps wins
LWW – 160
MWW – 180
HWW – 200
MWM – 300
Carry a yoke 60 feet. 60 sec. time limit. Fastest time wins. One Drop is allowed. Front of the yoke must be carried across. Can not slide the yoke across finish line. A 2 second penalty will be given for slides across the finish line.
LWW – 400
HWW – 500
MWM – 900
HWM – 1100
Axle Deadlift Last Man Standing
60 sec. time limit. Straps allowed.
LWW – 300 starting weight
MWW – 300 starting weight
HWW – 300 starting weight
MWM – 500 starting weight
HWM – 500 starting weight
Day Two 09/30/2018
First carry 60 feet 60 sec. time limit. Fastest time wins. One drop is allowed. Front of farmers must be carried across. Can not slide the farmers across finish line. A 2 second penalty will be given for slides across the finish line.
LWW – 180
MWW – 210
HWW – 250
HWM – 440
Stone of Steel over the Bar
60 sec. time limit. Competitors are not allowed to use the apparatus to aid in putting the Stone over the bar. Max reps wins. Trump Stone will win over lighter stone. Athletes do not have to start with trump stone.
LWW – 200 50” Bar height 260 trump stone
MWW – 230 50” Bar height 290 trump stone
HWW – 260 50” Bar height 320 trump stone
MWM – 380 54” Bar height 420 trump stone
HWM – 430 54” Bar height 500 trump stone
James is 105kg pro Strongman and the 2017 105kg America’s Strongest Man you can follow him on Instagram @jdef_pro_strongman and his gym @spiderstrengthgym