THE 1999 AFSA GNC U.S. STRONGMAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Left to right: 2nd Brian Schoonveld, promoter Manfred Hoeberl,
1st Odd Haugen, and 3rd Jim Glassman
THE FIRST DAY
Twenty contestants squared off to contest 10 spots in the final, which was held on the second day. The first event was the Farmers Walk with two 240 lb. cylinders carried for time. Then came the heaviest Tire Flip ever! Only two men flipped the 1300 pounder more than once, Odd Haugen from Hawaii and Jim Glassman from Indiana. Both men were given a 1st place tie on this event. The Forward Hold was next with a 60 pound keg held for time. Harold "Chief Iron Bear" Collins won with a time of 50 seconds. The final event of the 1st day was a Load and Push. A barrel was half filled sand bags and pushed to various points starting with 500 lbs. It was then loaded with more sand bags to 700 lbs. and finally loaded to 900 lbs. where it was pushed to the finish line for the best time.
Steven Bell Farmers Walk Michael Perry, Tire Flip Jim Glassman, Forward Hold
Gary Mitchell pushes 900 lbs toward the finish line.
THE SECOND DAY
The second day left 10 finalists from the first day, and two men were tied for first, 49 year old Odd Haugen from Hawaii, and 25 year old, Brian Schoonveld from Indiana.
The first event, the Pole Push eliminated 5 of the 10 contestants in the first round, and this angered the crowd because of several controversial decisions by the referee. IMO, Harold "Chief Iron Bear" Collins won the first pairing with Odd Haugen, when Odd's foot crossed the edge of the line. However, the event was allowed to continue with Odd finally getting the win overall. Now, as I've said before, I don't believe strongman contests are an appropriate place for events where the contestants directly focus their physical aggression against one and other. The Pole Push, for want of a better term, "sucks" as a strongman event.
Odd Haugen vs. Harold "Chief Iron Bear" Collins on the Pole Push
On the next event, the Log Lift for reps, The Chief redeemed himself. However, this was tougher than usual, because he was suffering from a torn bicep from the Tire Flip.
Harold "Chief Iron Bear" Collins lifts the 240 lbs. log for 15 reps and a win.
The Sand Bag Carry for distance was a substitute event when the Truck Deadlift and Walk was canceled! Apparently promoter Manfred Hoeberl and referee Marshell Ennis felt the truck, a Toyota Tacoma, was too heavy and that no one would be able to lift it. For what it's worth, I didn't agree! I have seen two similar trucks lifted this year, and I believe at least 4 of the 10 finalists in this contest could have done this event.
Well, a 325 lbs. sand bag had to be lifted and carried for distance, and this proved to be a very tough break for several competitors who were suffering from Tire Flip caused bicep tears. Both Iron Bear and powerlifting sensation Steven Bell could not participate in this event. Thus Brian Schoonveld of Indiana, a farm hand and labor worker, was right in his element. Brain smoked the field carrying the sand bag back and forth for 9 trips.
Now, on the Car Flip for time, no one could match the old pro Chief Iron Bear who roared right back with a win.
Left: Brian Schoonveld goes for a stroll with 325 lbs. on his shoulder,
and right, Shawn Smith roles the car over.
The winner, Odd Haugen: left to right-Loading the kegs.
Showing a happy grin after beating a bunch of guys half his age. With ESPN's Kim Walden.
THE PROS AND CONS
Every contest has problems and this one was no exception. First, as I've said before, IMPLEMENTS MUST BE TESTED AHEAD OF TIME. Example: the tires, which were supposed to have weighed 800 lbs. were 500 lbs heavier! Apparently the dealer sent the right size, but with 6 plies more than were ordered. Also, not using the Truck DL and Walk hurt those who trained for it. And the seams in the astro turf caused a few problems.
Many of the athletes felt misled thinking that they were going to compete for $10,000.00! However, several changes in the program lowered that figure to only $750.00 for 1st place. Apparently ESPN dictated the format wanting an "All American" show. So the money that was budgeted for this weekend's contest is being held until the international affair, that was scheduled to be held with this contest, is contested. That contest has been postponed until November.
The refereeing, by Canada's Marshell Ennis, for the most part was fair! I've refereed these affairs myself, and I know that it's a thankless job. Marshell is to be commended for his efforts, particularly on the car flip! He stood very close by as the car went over, with a beer keg in hand ready to protect the athletes, just in case the car accidentally rolled back. The only injury here was when Steven Bell cut his forehead. Not serious.
LETS HEAR IT FOR THE OLD GUYS.
Chief "Teddy Bear" Collins gets some TLC when Ellen Stein applies the ice pack to his torn bicep.
Then to the right with one of his many fans.
All in all this was a very entertaining contest and should make for a very good TV program which is scheduled to air sometime in November on ESPN. Also, 1998's contest will be on ESPN in mid September.
Now, of the five final events, four were won by two guys over 40 years old age. Odd Haugen at 49 won the Pole Push and the Keg Loading Race, and Chief Iron Bear Collins at 42 won the Log Lift for Reps and the Car Roll. Essentially the Chief only competed in three of the five events because of his torn bicep, but even at that he tied for 5th place.
Of the other competitors, I was very impressed with 2nd place finisher, Brian Schoonveld. This young man is a force to reckoned with, as is Jim Glassman who took 3rd place. In fact the whole group from Indiana, that Jim trains with, is super.
BEST OF LUCK TO ALL OF YOU WITH YOUR TRAINING. JVA
I want to thank "J.V." for allowing the re-posting
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