Williams Lake strongman Tyson Delay has powered his way to a berth at the CAASA National Championships this October in Regina, Sask.
Delay finished in the top four in his weight division Aug. 3 in Richmond at the provincial championships to earn his spot at nationals. He said it’s a result he’s been working toward since he began seriously training in the sport two years ago.
“Every year now I’ve been able to qualify for provincials but was never able to go to nationals,” Delay said.
“Well this year I finished top four and went through. I did not expect it, but it’s pretty cool. As far as I know I’m the only natural athlete to make it.”
At nationals Delay will compete in the 105 kilogram (231 pound) division where he will be squaring off against strongmen much heavier than himself.
“I’m definitely on the smaller side,” Delay said. “I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been now at 212 pounds. Most guys will be cutting weight to be at 231 (pounds).”
The competition will take place over one day where 120 of the strongest men in the country will descend upon Regina.
“This will feature the best in Canada that are amateurs,” Delay said. “If you don’t have your pro card this is the highest level of competition you can go to, which is pretty neat.”
Delay said he’s training hard in preparation and added he hopes to finish in the top 10 in his division.
“It’s kind of freaky, but it’s going to be exciting competing at that level,” he said.
Reflecting on the recent provincial championships in Richmond, Delay said it was one of his best competitions.
“That was the hardest one I’ve ever trained for,” he said. “It was super heavy and the level of competition was so, so good. I improved on so may things but I still wasn’t able to make a dent in the top guys.”
At provincials, strongmen competed in five events as opposed to the usual four held at competitions.
“Usually in B.C. they do four, and after the last two events at provincials we had a couple guys cramped up so badly they could barely move by the end of it,” he said.
Athletes competed in a farmer’s walk, an overhead press, an axe hold, a deadlift and stones at provincials.
“The farmer’s walk was my worst,” he said. “You had to carry 275 pounds in each hand and only made it about 10 feet. My back could handle more but my grip could just not hang on.”
In the overhead press, just Delay and one other strongman were able to get past the second stage — a 210 pound keg filled with water.
“It was just super awkward, but I managed third place in that.”
In the axe hold — a 45-pound axe held with arms straight in front of the competitor’s chest — Delay hung on for just shy of a minute.
“That was a really good event for me,” he said. “I was half a second behind the top guy.”
His 515-pound deadlift in the next event was good enough for fourth place, and Delay followed that performance up with another strong showing in the stones event.
“Despite being the shortest guy there I was able to do pretty well,” he said.
“I was half a second behind the guy who won — he’d never lost a stones event.”
In stones, competitors had to lift four stones onto a platform weighting 220, 260, 300 and 330 pounds, respectively.
“I’ve massively improved in that event,” he said.
As nationals approach, Delay said he hopes to do some fundraising to help with travel costs to the event.
He’s planning a fundraising barbecue in the near future, and said if any individuals or businesses are interested in helping to sponsor him they can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.