The 2021 Cariboo’s Strongest in Williams Lake Saturday, June 26 proved to be record setting in more ways than one.
The annual strength sport competition, held at the parking lot of the Real Canadian Wholesale Club off Highway 20, saw not only the daily heat record shattered, but also B.C.’s largest ever strongman and strongwoman competition with around 40 competitors, said organizer Tyson Delay.
“It was a little bit nutty but we made it through and, honestly, I was pretty happy with how the competition went,” Delay said. “We had double the competitors we had at last year’s.”
On top of many local athletes, competitors travelled from Vancouver, Prince George and Kamloops — even from as far away as Grande Prairie.
“I was super pumped to see such a high calibre in our competitors,” Delay said. “We legitimately had very, very good competition and it was exciting to see all the different levels that came out. Despite the huge size of the event it went really smoothly, and I have my volunteers and team to thank for that.”
Events at Cariboo’s Strongest included a hussafel lift, log lift, stone to shoulder, deadlift and truck pull.
The heavyweight men’s division (over 231 pounds) saw Vancouver’s Joey Plamondon take the crown, followed by Vanderhoof’s Jonathan Cupples in second and Prince George’s Anthony Faggiani in third.
Prince George’s Jennifer Ferguson — the 2017 world’s strongest woman — claimed the top prize in the women’s heavyweight class (over 180 pounds), followed by Taisha Maynard of Courtenay, B.C.
The middleweight women’s division had Prince George’s Tara Webber finish first, Maria Barwig of Vancouver take second and Prince George’s Alefa Sakakibara place third.
On the men’s side it was Williams Lake’s Richard Lee winning the top spot in the men’s middleweight division (231 pounds and under). Williams Lake’s Joseph Wilburn was second, followed by Jake Birkeland of Kamloops.
“Jake’s been competing in heavyweights and made a massive weight cut and still finished third, which was impressive,” Delay said. “In his defence, Ricky and Joseph are probably some of the best 105ers (kilograms) in the province right now. They’re both incredibly talented people.”
In the women’s lightweight division it was another Prince George local, Robyn Schmidt, taking top honours. Second was Williams Lake’s Krystle Carpenter, followed by Kathryn Rowsell of Prince George.
Tanner Edwards of Prince George — a national record holder in powerlifting — nabbing first in the lightweight men’s division (180 pounds and under), with Bryton Neufield of Kamloops in second and Williams Lake’s Vaughn Delay in third, despite never having trained in strongman.
“The men’s division was great. Nobody was left super far behind in the dust. No matter who you were you had someone to fight with. Even on the women’s side, which was a bit more unbalanced, we had Krystle (Carpenter) come in who doesn’t even really train in it, and she absolutely smashed it.”
Spectators, despite the heat, took shade under umbrellas and tents as they enjoyed the morning and afternoon’s events.
Delay, meanwhile, thanked his team of volunteers which he noted made the event possible, and as successful as it was.
He said Garrett LeRoy, Kyle Cook, Kyle Ivanoff, Kelly William, Joseph Wilburn, Haley Van Diest, Sierra Van Diest and Brett Potter were to thank for making it all possible.
“We were breaking records across the board,” Delay said. “This was one of the first to also offer cash prizes, which I’m also super happy about — our sponsors really came through on that — and I’m thankful.
“On top of that I’m just very appreciative of all the competitors competing in that ridiculous heat. At one point my buddy held a thermometer at head height above the concrete and it was about 45C. I actually burned my feet with my shoes on.”
While Delay didn’t compete due to hosting the event, he’s looking forward to begin training for the B.C. strongman provincials coming up this August in Courtenay. Aside from Delay, Lee and Wilburn are also preparing to make a run for national qualification through the provincials.