GOSHEN — It might be enough of a physical effort just to be at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair with temperatures above 90 degrees during the festival’s first two days.
Not so for a group of strong men and women.
Between 85 and 100 people participated in the 2019 Elkhart County Fair Strongman Competition under a baking sun, lifting, dragging or throwing beer kegs, logs and even a tractor.
“It’s all about being strong. They’re short bursts of energy, but you’ve got to be strong,” said Cathy Anderson, coach at CrossFit Elkhart, which put on the competition.
So what’s the appeal of lifting stuff?
“People like to go head-to-head. They like competitions. They like to see how strong they are,” said Anderson. “It’s just, ‘I want to see if I’m stronger than the next guy.’”
One of the contestants, Millersburg resident Colton Hurst, who made one of the longest beer keg tosses of the event at 42 feet, said this was his first strongman competition.
“I lift with my cousin, Eric. I’ve sort of gotten into it through him. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do ... just being able to pick up heavy stuff is fun for me,” Hurst said.
He expected to be in the middle of the field in the overall competition, but said he had done well with the keg toss and tractor pull. That’s due to both muscle and technique, he said.
“It’s both, honestly. Obviously I’m not the strongest guy here, but you can win a couple of events if you play your cards right,” he said.