Cariboo’s Strongest tests athletes’ mettle

A solid contingent of local and visiting competitors helped make this year’s fourth annual Cariboo’s Strongest strength competition in Williams Lake the best yet, said organizer Tyson Delay.

A strength athlete, himself, who finished third in his weight class at the B.C. provincials last month, Delay sat this one out to focus on organizing and making sure the competition ran smoothly.

Cariboo’s Strongest took place Saturday, Sept. 5 in the parking lot outside the Real Canadian Wholesale Club.

“And it went really well, and I’m really happy with it,” Delay said. “We had a really good mixture of some really good guys and some beginners, as well — just guys who are naturally strong — and then on the other end of the spectrum you had guys who have been training for the past four to five years, and each class had a pretty even spread.”

Split across lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions, 20 men competed. On the women’s side, three took part.

Events included a max deadlift, sandbag carry, natural stone loading, overhead medley and an 18,000 pound truck pull to cap it all off.

The middleweight division saw a tightly-contest matchup between three competitors: Joe Willburn, Garret LeRoy and Kyle Mctague. First in the class was Willburn, followed by LeRoy in second and Mctague in third.

“The heavyweights really slugged it out,” Delay said.

READ MORE: Delay powers way to third at B.C. provincials

Vancouver’s Joey Plamondon powered his way to first, followed by 37-year-old strongman Palko Wondratschek of Kamloops, who had previously retired from the sport five years ago.

In third place was Darren Kennedy.

“It was really awesome to see those guys come out from Vancouver and Kamloops,” Delay said. “I had comments like: ‘wow, I can’t believe how far these events [in Williams Lake] have come.’”

The lightweight men’s title went to Ben Wallner of Williams Lake.

And on the ladies side, it was Williams Lake’s Ksenia Kolodka claiming the first-place title in the lightweight class, with Marina Davies, also of Williams Lake, coming second.

First place in the heavyweight women’s division went to Brittany Baird.

Delay thanked all of the volunteers who helped make the event a success, along with sponsors Misfit Powerlifting and Strength, NAPA Auto Parts, Reflex Supplements in Prince George and Adam Cox with Cariboo Driver Training, who donated his transport truck for the truck pull event.

Delay said highlights included watching the three heavyweight men’s competitors duke it out, and watching Kolodka deadlift 250 pounds, and Baird deadlift 305 pounds, as a couple of his favourite moments from the event.

“After that I’d say the next highlight was Garret [LeRoy] deadlifting 600 pounds at 195 pounds of bodyweight. He made it look like a warmup.”

He also gave props to local competitor Masiu Fine who, at 51 years old, competed.

“He was having so much fun,” Delay said. “At one point he yelled out to the crowd, joking: ‘Anyone who’s 51 please come and compete. I need someone my age.’”

Adding to the atmosphere, Delay said 50 to 60 spectators cheering on the athletes really made a big difference.

“It was really cool to see,” he said. “And with all the great volunteers this year I wasn’t as stressed. And with the split of the athletes — some beginners and some with lots of experience — guys were stepping in, giving tips and helping out in typical, classic strongman fashion. All in all just a really good time.”

Delay, meanwhile, is now preparing to compete at the Canadian Strongman Nationals in Quebec in October after qualifying through his third-place result at provincials.

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