Kenai holds its first Strongman competition

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to add information about Sarah Belle, she is from Wasilla. 

Kenai’s National Guard Armory hosted the first Kenai Strongman Challenge weight-lifting competition on Saturday, January 17.

Some of the participating lifters were local, such as Kasilof’s Lesley West. Others came from longer distances, such as the group from the Heavy Metal Gym in Anchorage, North Slope worker Roger Smith, of Bloomington, Indiana or Sarah Belle, of Wasilla. The twenty two competitors began lifting at noon and continued until 7 p.m, taking on five challenges: a race to transport two 160 pound sandbags and a 200 pound keg, lifting a weighted steel log, dead-lifting a vehicle, loading large stones over a bar and into a crate, and a one-on-one weight pulling race.

The events

The competition’s organizer and promoter Danny Autrey said that a Strongman Challenge has no set events.

“There’s no standard picture of what a strongman competition looks like,” Autry said. “It’s essentially all on the promoter to choose different events that showcase and focus on different aspects of strength.”

Saturday’s competition was part of the national North American Strongman competition, which holds regional amateur weight lifting challenges year-round, as well as a national competition in Reno, Nevada, at which the winners in each class of the regionals are invited to compete.

At Saturday’s competition, those winners were Lesley West in the women’s class, Dylan Baker in the teen’s, Wayne Martin in the light weights, Chris Bolin in the middle weights, and Gary Loyd in the heavy weights. Autrey plans to hold the competition again next year.

“I’d like to see more local participation,” said Autry. “I’d like to see more than three Kenai and Soldotna area people get into this competition, so we can start giving these Anchorage guys and Fairbanks guys who come down a reason to travel.”


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