Battle At Quinte: Strongman Team Grudge Match

Thor was vengeful. The skies opened up on us. It was a slow start to the Battle At Quinte: Strongman Team Grudge Match as we waited for the torrential rains to pass in order to allow us to get started. The two teams, CSA - Colborne Strength Athletics from the Big Apple itself and their comrades and rivals from Kingston, Clydsdale Powere Team - yes we spell it without the E because we don't actually have horses for sale- faced off in two-man lift events along with the final showdown being the Stone of War. It's always fun to compete in strongman competitions that are set up a little different than the typical every man for himself battles. This competition will definitely go down in my books as one of my most memorable and I look forward to competing in more team competitions like this in the future.

The Lineups:

Both teams consisted of two 2-man teams that would compete in each event together.

Team CSA:  

- Mike and Sean

- Adrian and Zach Maguire

Team Clydsdale Power:

- RJ and Cor-Paul (CP)

- Giles and Zach Kennedy-Brinklow

This was a for-fun demonstration competition, so nothing was on the line except pride, but both teams supplied the implements for two events each in order to keep things fair and the truck we were supposed to have was coming from a local company.

Event 1- Truck Pull

The first event of the day was set up to be a truck pull on the same course that I talked about at the Eastern Canada’s National Strongman Qualifier event back in the spring. It was first said to be a tandem pull of a tractor and trailer, possibly with or without ropes. Then once the rain put a damper on things as the competition was about to get underway, they changed it to every man pulling the tractor alone one at a time. The rain was pouring down at the 10 am start time, so disappointingly the event organizers decided to cancel the truck pull event and change the order of events to allow the ground to try as much as possible before doing the tire flip. I always like to see at least 5 events in a competition, so I would have been happy to give the truck pull a shot even with the ground being wet.

Event 2 - 2-Man Tire Deadlift

The apparatus is set up with a near 700 lb. tractor tire loaded with an anvil and additional weights. The two competitors stand on platforms on either side of the tire and pull from the bar that is attached through the centre of the tire. 

All competitors made it to 1030 lb. easily and then Zach and Giles from team Clydsdale were eliminated at 1130 lb. The remaining teams completed the lift with little effort. 

We had our second stroke of bad luck at the next attempt, which was 1230 lb. The first group up was Sean and Mike and the bar bent on their attempt, injuring Mike’s back. 

The organizers and judges would not allow CP and I to attempt the weight with a bent bar and instead decided to add a different event to the competition to determine who would get placings 1-3 in the deadlift event. 

Event 2b - Tire Deadlift

There was an alternate tire deadlift setup for a professional strongman demonstration also going on, so the event was decided to be a 900 lb. tire deadlift by each team for reps in 60 seconds. CP and I were up first and got 13 reps in 60 seconds, Zach and Adrian got 18 reps and Sean and Mike got 13 reps, but the judges gave them an extra rep for their attempt on the other deadlift when the bar bent. 

Event 3 - 2-Man Log Press

I was looking forward to this event going in to the competition. CP and I had worked out a very nice rhythm and were looking to hit more than 5 reps with the 400 lb. log in the competition. The first rep went up smoothly and we were off to a good start and that’s as far as we got. I watched CP out of the corner of my eye in practice to keep the pace throughout each lift. In competition, whether it was the competition nerves and adrenaline or the sun peeking through the clouds, I couldn’t see him well enough to stay in-sync with him and our timing was atrocious. We locked out a second rep, but it didn’t count and then we had no more luck getting reps and even struggled with timing the clean properly. Zach and Giles got 3 reps, giving our team a first place in this event, but Adrian and Zach from Team CSA figured out the rhythm well enough to get between us with 2 reps.

Event 4 - Tire Flip

The tire flip was back and forth to your teammate for 60 seconds. The tire was pretty challenging. Somewhere north of 700 lbs. Mike and Sean went first and hit a solid 9 reps in the time limit. Considering that they are both great at tire flip and our team was not familiar with the tire, I knew everything had to go perfectly and we had to watch out for the wet spots on the parking lot. CP and I were the second group to go and I also knew we had to put up a solid number to seal another event win, because Adrian and Zach would get to go after us and know the number to beat. CP and I had very good coordination and power to blast through this event and we hit 3 reps within the last 15 seconds to finish with 13 flips. Zach and Giles tied Zach and Adrian with 10 reps.

Event 5 - Stone of War

Our comeback from being down after the first event meant that the two team were tied at 14.5 point apiece going into the final event: the Stone of War.

This was a very uniquely designed event. Both teams would lineup on either side of the yoke and cycle through each teammate lifting the 285 lb. stone over the bar to the opposing team, who would then lift the stone back over to the next competitor in line. Each lift would be given 2 attempts before you were eliminated from your team, which then continued on without you. We got off to a bad start as Gile was eliminated on the first attempt due to a mishap. The battle then ensued for the next 20 minutes with each athlete refusing to give way before we agreed to start raising the bar lest we continue on all day. After several more cycles and the bar raising several more notches, Zach was eliminated from our team and Adrian eliminated from Team CSA. That left CP and I against Mike and Sean. This held out a little bit longer before CP was also eliminated. I felt pretty good up until this point, but then I started to get nervous. Being down 2-1 means you get no more time to rest and the other team can still catch I few breaths. I had tweaked my bicep early on in this event, or possibly earlier in the day, which didn't help things and the two opposing athletes were still giving up no ground. I held on for several more minutes before my body quit on me and I couldn’t get the stone over the bar another time. 

This event was brutal! We were all really beat up from it, but that’s just a part of the sport. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone continued filming the whole thing, as no body expected it to go for so long and many spectators started to get bored. Next time an event like this comes around I hope we make one adjustment to it: instead of cycling through each athlete on every attempt, we do it more like a relay and each competitor completes all of their reps at once until they are eliminated. This way each competitor doesn't get to rest once they start their reps and if the teams are pretty well evenly matched it will still come down to the best stone lifters on each team in the end, if you choose to save them for the end of your line. The athletes at the end of the line will wait around a bit longer, but the event overall shouldn’t take as long as we took and the spectators will find that more exciting. 

Partners in Strength

I always look forward to team competitions like this, as I find the setting a little more relaxed and enjoyable than when you have athletes brooding in the corner at the typical strongman competition. If you get the chance to compete in a two-person or team strongman competition, even if the events are individual, get out and do it and I guarantee you’ll have a great time.


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