Grant Norquay and Zoe Vanzuylekom are part of a team organizing the first annual Cariboo’s Strongest Man event coming soon to Williams Lake. LeRae Haynes photo

Cariboo’s Strongest Man coming to Williams Lake

LeRae Haynes

Special to the Tribune Advisor

Anticipation is building as the date approaches for a truly unique athletic event in Williams Lake – the first annual Cariboo’s Strongest Man fun competition on September 16.

Open to both men and women, and organized by Zoe Vanzuylekom, Grant Norquay, and Tyson and Brynn Delay, and sponsored by Concrete Fitness, the event will focus on the strong, healthy lifestyles of real people, such as loggers, mine workers, ranchers, fire fighters and RCMP members.

The four organizers met one another at Concrete Fitness, according to Vanzuylekom, who said it’s a pretty tight-knit community for people who are there regularly.

“Tyson and I had been talking about doing this for a while,” Vanzuylekom explained. “He’s done a few in Kamloops and Kelowna, really enjoyed them and wanted to bring it to the Cariboo where there are farmers, mine workers, loggers and ranchers – naturally strong people who are fit in their everyday lives. Maybe they don’t go to the gym every day, but we can showcase their talents in a different way.”

Norquay said there will be five events in the Cariboo Strongest Man: a truck pull, a loading race, an overhead medley, zones and a tire flip. “We wanted it to be more rustic, and to be outdoors and we needed a lot of space to make it work properly,” he said. “Tyson knows the manager at the Wholesale Club, who offered their parking lot for the event.”

He said the medley is going to have an axle, a beer keg and a log, with a minimum of two reps for each one. “They’re all different weights – each class will have a different weight to lift,” he added.

“There is a lot of free weight. For the log lift, it will be a combination of dead lifts and a shoulder press.”

Concrete Fitness is the main sponsor for the event, providing things like wrist wraps and belts, prizes and promotion.

It’s a free family event, with competitor fees donated to wildfire efforts. Vanzuylekom said they’re looking for further sponsors. “This is such a great opportunity for local businesses and individuals to create a unique bond with their community, and to put their name out there as sponsoring a healthy, active lifestyle,” she said.

“We’re looking for items to go in the gift bags, focused on health and fitness, such as gift certificates, water bottles and health bars, as well as used tires, particularly for the women’s event.”

At this point, there are two categories set up for men, under 200 pounds and over, and one for women; the categories can be expanded as more competitors sign up.

Norquay said that it promises to be fun for the competitors.

“I’m in it for the fun – you get out there and see guys twice your size lifting the same weight as you,” he said. “If you win, you get to say, ‘I’m the strongest man in the Cariboo.’ Or, ‘Wow, I just lifted that weight – I can do this.’

“We’d love to see people like firefighters and RCMP officers get involved.”

Vanzuylekom said it’s also about personal growth and improvement.

“I’m hoping to do this again next year – make it even bigger and better,” she added. “And it’s about what I lifted this year, and what I’ll be able to lift next year.”

She said it will be a fun, family event.

“I think it’s very cool for kids to see and experience something like this. This is a really good role model competition, with kids getting to see real men and women from their community who are fit, strong and healthy – people for them to look up to,” she said.

“One of the reasons Tyson wanted to start this was to bring the community together and find commonality.”

“It will be exciting and fun – real life fitness for a real-life community,” Norquay added. “Come out and show us what you’ve got.”

Cariboo’s Strongest Man, for competitors 18 and older, will start with a safety meeting for competitors at 8 a.m. All are welcome to attend, and the competition kicks off at 8:30am.

For more information, email zoe_vanz@hotmail.com or visit Cariboo’s Strongest Man Competition on Facebook.

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