Strongman (and woman) Competition returns to the Lancerlot

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One event at the St. Patrick’s Day Strongman Competition at the Lancerlot on March 11 will be Tire Flipping.
Strength athletes at Tri-Star gym are training for the Strongman Competition organized by Tyler Perdue (back far left) and Chad Clark (front far right).
Autumn Hull trains for the Hussafel Stone Carry.
The Strongman Competition at the Lancerlot on March 11 will benefit Angels of Assisi who rescued this dog from a hoarder in West Virginia.

If you missed last summer’s Strongman Competition at the Lancerlot in Vinton, don’t miss it again.

You will be amazed at what is described as “spectacles of strength,” which include athletes competing in repeatedly flipping massive tires (up to 750 pounds) and heaving gigantic stones over a bar, in addition to deadlifting and carrying hefty Hussafel stones.

Chad Clark, along with Tyler Perdue of Tri-Star Roanoke and the Lancerlot Sports Complex, have organized the March 11 St. Patrick’s Day Strongman Competition, which will benefit Angels of Assisi.

Clark says that the competition combines his two passions— a love for strength sports and a love for animals.

The events included this year are the Axle Clean and Press, the 15-inch Deadlift, the Tire Flip, the Carry Medley (Farmers’ Carry, Hussafel Stone, and Sandbag), and the Stone Series.

The first Strongman Competition in July raised $1,200 for Angels of Assisi, which provides reduced cost medical care to companion animals with emphasis on spaying and neutering to prevent pet overpopulation, and shelter, care and sustenance to companion and domesticated farm animals in need, including an adoption center for homeless dogs and cats and a farm animal sanctuary.

Proceeds from the $5 admission fee go to Angels of Assisi. Also accepted will be donations of Cat Chow (the Purina blue bag), cat litter, bottles, kitten formula, dog slip leads (Remington), file folders, puppy pads, and ground wet food for dogs or cats.

Lancerlot Events Coordinator Kathleen Sink said, “This year we hope to have an even bigger turnout and hope the Strongman Competition continues to grow. Chad has a love and passion for this sport. We are glad that Lancerlot is a part of this event and that they have asked us to hold this event for two years now.”

Clark compares Strongman to the World’s Strongest Man competitive events seen on television. He hopes to increase interest in strength sports in this area, especially among women who are becoming more and more a part of the sport and competition.

One of those women is Autumn Hull, who just took up strength training last October.  Her friend Leigh Stover kept asking her to go along with her to the Tri-Star gym and give the sport a try.

“Finally, I said I would do one class,” Hull said. “After class I was totally wiped out, exhausted, and I had never felt better in my life.”

She says that strength training has changed her life completely. She describes herself as a “complete couch potato” before. Now her confidence level is way up, and her “happiness with life in general is through the roof.”

She credits the encouragement of the athletes who have rallied behind her and encouraged her in the “family-like atmosphere” she has found at Tri-Star.

There is no feeling of competition against the other athletes who are training. She said that when she started strength training, what was a workout for her was just a warm-up for the others in training. They were totally supportive of her efforts as she started off slowly— working on form initially so as not to injure herself before transitioning to heavier weights. They have kept her “focused and on track.”

Now she practices three to five times a week. She has lost over 70 pounds and will be competing in the St. Patrick’s Day competition, although she has never even been a spectator at a Strongman event.

Stover, who got Hull into strength training, said she has been involved with strength training for “as long as I can remember.”

“I remember my mom lifting— nothing competitive— but I knew she was strong and I wanted to be strong,” said Stover.

She trained on her own for several years at the Christiansburg Recreation Center, the Weight Club in Blacksburg, and then the YMCA in Roanoke.

“I was working out at the YMCA in 2014 when I saw a flyer about a local Strongman Competition at the former House of Strength gym,” said Stover. “My husband and I went to the competition. I joined the gym a few months later and competed in my first Strongman in July 2015.”

She went on to compete at an event in Richmond, but “then I got pregnant. I lifted, up until two days before I had my baby, got back to the gym four weeks after I had her, and competed in my third Strongman (in Richmond) when she was three months old. She’ll be seven months when I compete in the St. Patrick’s Day Strongman.”

Stover said that when not in training for Strongman events, she practices three big lifts— overhead pressing, squats, and deadlifts.

“I can press about 95 pounds max, squat 205, and deadlift 285,” she adds.

She says the deadlift is her best event in the competitions.

“I feel most confident in this lift, I know I can go heavy and I’m almost positive I’ll break a personal record at the event,” she says. “That’s what Strongman is about– pushing yourself to do things you never thought you could do!”

Stover said the Strongman Competition is “definitely a competition with myself. The Strongman community is so supportive. I’ve made new friends at each event, even though we are competing against one another.”

Stover echoes Hull in saying that strength training has completely changed her life.

“Before I started seriously strength training, I weighed close to 300 pounds,” Stover reveals. “Strength training helped me lose weight and provided a new path to health aside from the typical ‘must use the elliptical/treadmill’ mentality that many women believe. Specifically, being a part of the Tri-Star training community has changed my life. I credit the gym with keeping my body strong enough to endure an entire weekend of labor and a natural, un-medicated childbirth. Getting back to the gym after I had my little girl, Allie, helped to pull me out of postpartum depression. I look forward to her growing up around strong people– especially strong women. My husband, Travis, will be joining me in the gym to train for his first Strongman soon and I can’t wait!

“I’ve met some incredible people in the Strongman sport from around the state and beyond,” adds Stover. “Our local Strongman interest has grown– thanks to Tyler and Chad– from a handful of people to an ever-growing group that is predominantly made of women. It makes me so happy to see other ladies realizing that they do not have to conform to the stereotypical women’s workout and that lifting heavy won’t make them look like men– but it may make men look at them with envy when they’re deadlifting a car, flipping a 500-pound tire or picking up 200-pound concrete stone from the floor and loading it on a platform.”

Strongman sponsors include Twin Creeks Brewery in Vinton, Roanoke’s Serious Steel Fitness, Elitefts, Hi-Temp Weight Equipment, Mountaineer Brand, Complete Nutrition-Roanoke, Cerberus Strength, Spud Inc., Sport Kilt, KiloSlad, Big Lick Screen Printers, Unbreakable Gear, Warrior Genetics Lab, the Strongman Corporation, the Tri-Star gym, and the Roanoke Barbell Club.

The competition starts at 10 a.m. and continues until mid-afternoon. Over 50 competitors have already registered to participate. There are class divisions for weight and between novice and experienced. More information is available on the Star City Strongman Facebook page.