Sault pulls weight at strongman provincials

On a cool, windy, overcast morning in Perth, Ont., the announcer, Dr. Sam Dube, asked everyone watching the livestream of the World’s Strongest Disabled Man Competition: “What’s your excuse ladies and gentlemen?”

Local competitors did Sault Ste. Marie proud at the recent 2022 Ontario Amateur Provincials Strongman Competition.

In the heavyweight division, the Sault’s Nathan Edwards took second place, narrowly missing first and Lance Gingras placed sixth. In the men’s under 105 kilograms, Scott Dinter grabbed second place, and Jared Musgrove took third in the under 90kg division.

The provincial strongman athletes competed in five events, including the Town & Country Chrysler Jeep Wagoneer pull, log clean and press for reps, sandbag to shoulder for reps, the farmer’s carry, and the deadlift for reps event.

Held by Jakabol Strongfit and Oakfield Rugby Centre, for Strongman Corporation Canada, the day’s head referee was Magnús Ver Magnússon, the Icelandic four-time World’s Strongest Man. Strongman Canada was represented onsite by Maxime Boudreault, who placed third at the World’s Strongest Man competition, and his fiancé Sam Belliveau who is the middleweight women’s champion.

In the day’s opening event, as Edwards was pulling the 3,000 kg Wagoneer by rope from a seated position, Dube said, “Nathan’s quite muscular … he’s picking up speed … he’s actually accelerating the Wagoneer.”

But that first event turned out to be Edwards’s worst for the day, as he placed fourth. Jake Ripco, a world class powerlifter from Hamilton, Ont., who towered over the other competitors at 6’8”, won the event with a 20.13 seconds hand over hand pull, and he went on to win the division.

“I wasn’t able to get my hands moving fast enough,” said Edwards, who won the Valhalla’s Mightiest 2022 Strongman competition in early May in the Sault. “There was too much slack on the rope. I just felt off. Strongman is about strength, but I’m learning that there’s a lot of technique to master as well.”

Edwards then went on to place first with eight reps in the 286 pound log clean and press, placed second in the 285 pound sandbag to shoulder with four reps, and tied for first in the 585 pound deadlift event with 14 reps.

He got discouraged in the third event.

“The farmer’s carry was supposed to be 320 pounds per hand for a 100-foot carry, but no one completed it,” he said. “The organizers told us later it was heavier than 320, but it didn’t feel good not to finish it. After that, I felt like whatever I did didn’t matter.”

Edwards placed third in the farmer’s carry.

Once the results were announced, however, Edwards realized just how close he’d come to taking the top spot.

“I lost on my own stupidity, because I kind of gave up thinking that I was in fourth place,” he said. “Losing by .5 I felt better… in a way. One more rep on deadlift, log press, or sandbag, and I would have won. It was a mistake of inexperience, with only three shows under my belt. But better to learn that lesson at the provincials and not a bigger competition.”

Edwards, Gingras and Dinter had already qualified for the nationals in May, so they saw the provincials as a training opportunity; to get in more practice before the nationals in Thunder Bay Oct. 22. Musgrove’s finish at the provincials earned him a spot at the nationals as well.

Edwards has an extra step before the Nationals, as he was invited to the pro-qualifier event in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec at the end of July.

“There is one slot for the top person in Ontario to go to Canada’s Strongest Man, and one open spot,” he said.

“I’d like to walk away with one of those. There’s going to be a lot of strong guys at that show, and a lot of pros. If I don’t win … I’ll learn.”

Videos of the World’s Strongest Disabled Man and the 2022 Ontario Amateur Provincials Strongman can be watched at:

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