Strongman competitors pull tractors, flip logs for bragging rights

    Locals did feats of strength for an admiring crowd Saturday, July 19, at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen.

    Posted on July 19, 2014 at 8:08 p.m.

    Locals did feats of strength for an admiring crowd Saturday, July 19, at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen.

    Bobbie Sage, owner of Crossfit Raze gym, competed in the Strongman Competition for the fourth time Saturday.

    She likes the event environment, she said. It’s fun and positive, and the competition is free, which is always good.

    “As a gym we train for it,” Sage said. “It’s a good way to test our fitness.”

    Sage has won her class before. She said she sees familiar faces every year at the competition, including one athlete whose score is always close.

    “She’s always chasing me,” Sage said.

    Because not many female athletes sign up for Strongman, women aren’t divided into weight classes. Sage estimated about 10 women signed up this year.

    That leaves five classes: Women and heavyweight, middleweight, lightweight and featherweight men.

    Spectators cheered on each competitor as the athletes pulled tractors up to 75 feet and sprinted uphill carrying kegs that weighed about 150 pounds.

    For the tractor pull, competitors were harnessed to a 1956 diesel tractor and given 90 seconds to drag it down a 75-foot path.

    Andrew Smith was the second to drag a tractor behind him, bending at a 45-degree angle to the ground while he pulled himself hand-over-hand along a heavy rope. 

    “It wasn’t too hard after I got it going,” he said afterward.

    After the tractor pull and and keg run events, the top 12 competitors from each weight class moved on to the log flipping contest.

    Competitors lifted logs above their shoulders and pushed them upright, then ran along the log as it tipped to its other side. Each athlete lifted a log six times total.

    The audience cheered for everyone, especially those who were struggling with the lift.

    “Cheer him on!” yelled the announcer. “You got it!”

    Spectator Brandon Gangwer competed last year and said he enjoys rooting for people and watching all of the events.

    “What it takes to do ’em, man,” he said, nodding. “It’s a lot harder than it looks.”

    Winners of the Strongman Competition have yet to be announced as of 8 p.m. Saturday.

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