Scott Dinter was in second place going into the final event, which happened to be his least favourite of the five.
He’d need to muster everything he had to heave the 300 pound atlas stone over a 54-inch bar more times than Chris Murray, of Waterloo, Ont.,who was leading him by 1.5 points. Dinter took a whiff of his smelling salts and the ammonia burned his nostrils. The surge of adrenalin, a smile from his wife, and his consistent training gave him the strength to complete seven reps. With that, Dinter, of Sault Ste. Marie, overtook Murray by one point to become the Canadian National Strongman Champion in the middleweight division (under 105 kilograms).
“I didn’t have the greatest hopes for the atlas stones,” said Dinter, who weighs in at 229 pounds and stands five foot nine inches tall.
“In the Sault competition in May, I was only able to do six reps with the 260 pound stone, so with an extra 40 pounds, I was expecting to only do three to five reps. I’m not as tall as some of the other competitors, so that puts me at a disadvantage for this event for sure.”
The Amateur Strongman National Championships, hosted by Strongman Corporation Canada in Thunder Bay, pitted competitors from across Canada in five feats of unbelievable strength. Competitors from each province donned coloured shirts. Dinter, and Lance Gingras, both 24 and from the Sault, stood out wearing Ontario red.
The day’s first event was the mid axle clean and press alternating with a circus dumbbell for reps. Dinter tied for third with two reps of each. “It was a good way to start off the day, in the top three of eighteen competitors,” said Dinter.
The moving medley was the second event, where competitors in the middleweight division did a 300-pound sandbag carry for 50 feet and then carried a 600-pound frame for 50 feet. Dinter came in second with 22 seconds. In the third event competitors had one minute to deadlift a car estimated at 560 pounds as many times as possible. Dinter counted 18 reps, tying him for second place. The fourth event was the yoke run, where middleweight competitors had to carry a 700 pound yoke 50 feet out and back. Dinter placed second with 19 seconds. The last event was the atlas stone, where Dinter heaved the 300-pound stone over the 54-inch bar seven times, giving him a second-place finish in the event.
Heavyweight competitors have the same events, but with increased weight. Seven of the 19 competitors in the heavyweight class were unable to complete at least one event. Gingras scored in all of them and was consistent in his finishes, though he struggled most with deadlift. He stood out with a sixth-place finish in the 815-pound yoke carry and tied for third with three reps in the 365-pound atlas stone event.
“Consistency across the events and ultimately that seventh rep won me the national middleweight title, by one point.” Dinter said. “Chris Murray had beaten me by one point in the Sault event, so this felt like redemption. I’ve been working tirelessly for this for the last two years. It still doesn’t feel real. It’s an honour to be this young, standing out with competitors up to 40 years old in the class.”
Winning the Nationals qualifies Dinter for three international shows, including the Arnold Classic in March 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. He also earned his pro card.
Dinter competed in a number of shows in 2021 and 2022 to prepare for and qualify for the Nationals. Always competing as a middleweight, he won the Weight Pit Strongest Man in Cambridge, Ont., in July 2021 and the Healing Games in Niagara Falls, Ont., in December of 2021. On May 7, he came second in Valhalla’s Mightiest in the Sault, edged out by one point by Chris Murray. As a Strongman Corporation Canada sanctioned event, run by Gary Knox, Dinter’s second-place finish qualified for the provincials and Nationals. The following week, Dinter won the Niagara Falls May Madness competition. Then at the Provincials held in June in Smith Falls, Ont., Dinter came second, again qualifying him for the Nationals.
Gingras, as a heavyweight, placed first in the Weight Pit’s Strongest Man and in the Thunder Bay Strongman Corporation Provincial Qualifier. He placed fourth in Valhalla’s Mightiest, and sixth in the Ontario Strongman Corporation Provincials. He took first in the World Heavy Events Association Canadian Nationals, which qualified Gingras for the WHEA Worlds in Finland where he placed sixth.
Dinter took the Physical Fitness Management program at Cambrian College, which prepared him to be his own nutritionist and coach.
“You can’t out train a bad diet,” Dinter said.
Dinter is also part of the Sault’s Valhalla Power Strongman Club that has Strongman Saturdays or Sundays, with event specific training to focus on competitions.
“Gary has set up a great home strongman gym, and he’s been supporting me from day one, telling me I’d come back a winner from Nationals. It’s great to have a group like that and a man like Gary behind you.”
And, as if going to school at Sault College for occupational therapy / physiotherapy assistant, working part-time at Home Depot, doing online coaching, and training for the Nationals wasn’t enough, Dinter married his college sweetheart, Jessica, the Saturday before the event.
“My wife is my No. 1 one supporter,” said Dinter. “She was in the front row and I could see her smiling at me while I was competing. She gave me a reason to push a little harder and I really couldn’t have done this without her. I’m also thankful for my sponsor, Niagara Falls CSS Strike Supplies, for apparel and equipment and help with registration fees and travel costs.”
At Korah Collegiate, Dinter played football and did shot put. He was also a musical theatre student.
Dinter started working out to improve his mental health, and was hooked immediately.
“Music is still a big part of my life and my training,” said Dinter. “I’d rather lift heavy, than sing and dance on a stage. But, my three-year-old daughter and I love the movie Frozen so I sing a lot of those songs while training. Other than that, I listen to 2000s pop at the gym, including Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. But before a competition I listen to something to get me angry and focussed on killing the weight.”
Now Dinter says his focus as a pro is to “lock in and get ready for the Arnold,” to get his name out there and to find more sponsors. “I’d love for Cerberus Strength Canada to take notice of me now that I’ve won the middleweight Nationals,” Dinter said.
He also wants to train others in the sport, and hopes people find him via social media on Facebook (Scott Reese Dinter) or on Instagram at Scott_thesquat_pro105.
Four local competitors qualified for the Nationals: Jared Musgrove (under 90kg), Scott Dinter (middleweight), Nathan Edwards and Lance Gingras (heavyweight). Musgrove and Edwards did not compete.
Gingras, after his sixth-place finish in the provincials, came tenth out of 19 competitors in the highly competitive heavyweight class at Nationals. Jake Ripco, of Hamilton, Ont., won the Heavyweight division at the Provincials and the Nationals and has earned his pro card as well as invitations to international events including the Arnold Classic, like Dinter.
“Over the past year and a half or so I’ve watched Scott and Lance put in a massive amount of work to get where they are today,” said Knox. “All of us at Valhalla Power Strongman Club are extremely proud of them and excited to see them continue to grow.”