Strongman event set this Saturday

CRYSTAL FALLS—Who are the strongest people in the Upper Peninsula?
    To find out, make plans to attend the annual U.P. Strongman Contest, planned this Saturday, Aug. 11.
    Several events put contestants through their paces to decide winners in four weight classes, along with a men’s master class and an open women’s class.
    Action starts at noon. The event is held at the Butler Potato Farm at 2788 Highway M-69, Crystal Falls (between Crystal Falls and Sagola).
    The farm has big buildings that can house plenty of spectators and competitors. If it rains, everybody stays dry. There’s plenty of parking, spectator seating, concessions and other necessities. Don’t expect too much down time during the contest—things move along quickly.
    This year’s contest was moved back a week to avoid a conflict with another contest in the Lower Peninsula.
    Organizer Jim Butler explained that the downstate meet, held in Frankenmuth, is a qualifier for national competitions. “People don’t want to miss that one.
    “So this year we thought we would do it a week later. I know we’ve already gained a couple of entries because we’ve done that.”
    Entrants will compete in four men’s weight classes (featherweight, lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight), a men’s masters division (for older lifters) and a women’s open division.
    Contestants will again battle in a variety of events: the farmer’s carry (heavy cylinders and boulders); overhead lifts (axels and logs); stone and rock lift; and a medley event.
    In each event, the bigger guys have to complete tougher tasks—bigger boulders, heavier axels and those ever-lovin’ heavy duty tire chains.
    In each event, a lifter must complete several tasks, each one more challenging than the one before. It’s a daylong test of strength and endurance. Spectators will have a fun time guessing who’s going to come out on top.
    As physically demanding as it is, the competitors clearly are having a great time. There’s plenty of camaraderie among the lifters, who root each other on and enjoy watching the competition as much as anyone.
    The top three overall in each class win trophies. All competitors win T-shirts. The entry fee is $20 in advance and $25 at the gate.
    Butler has been one of the event’s organizers from the very beginning, with Lee Nylund and Bill Santilli.
    The U.P. Strongman Contest is a fund-raiser for the Forest Park High School football program—Trojan football players help with the set-up work each day. All contestants must be 16 or older, and minors need parental consent.
    There is still time to enter the competition. For more information, contact Butler (906-875-4266), Santilli (906-875-6020) or Nylund (906-875-4296).