GOSHEN — The number of women competing in the Saturday, July 20, Strongman Competition at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair was down from previous years, but the level of competition was still high.
Only four women competed in this year's Strongman Competition, down from eight or nine a year ago.
Bobbie Sage, owner of CrossFit RAZE gym in Elkhart, said several who had signed up for the contest did not show up.
Sage was one of the four women competing at varying levels of preparation and style. It was her third time competing in the fair's Strongman competition.
She said the gym has programs that train specifically for Strongman competitions, so those who train at the gym generally have a good idea what to expect come competition time.
Diane Haas of South Bend was competing for the first time in the fair's event.
She signed up with her husband and had been training at home doing many of the same events that were featured Saturday morning.
“We have a keg at home so we had that to practice with,” Haas said. “We don't have a hill at home, though, so it's much different here,” she added with a laugh.
Competing in the fair's Strongman for the second time, Amanda Buck of New Paris, took an interesting approach to the event, deciding to compete without shoes.
A scary moment occurred when Buck dropped the keg during the keg carry event, but the keg did not fall on her feet and she simply picked it up and continued to carry it to the top of the hill.
Buck, who also convinced her brother Andy to compete this year, said she just likes hauling things and thought the Strongman Competition was a good outlet for that desire.
“I love being barefoot,” she said. “I hate wearing shoes.”
Buck said her training regimen, besides hauling things at home, also includes pushups and pull-ups before every meal.
Though their numbers may have been down at this year's competition, the women's category of the Strongman was clearly composed of some strong women.
“It would be nice if there were more girls,” Haas said, but added, “it's competitive even with it only being four girls.”
“(The competition) is great, we love it,” Sage said. “It's always really positive. People are always really positive, so it's a lot of fun.”