American Strength Legends

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Bill Kazmaier
Don Reinhoudt
Fred Hatfield
Jon Davis
Paul Anderson
Steve Pulcinella
Tommy Ingalsbe
Siegmund Breitbart
Chief Ironbear Collins
Ed Coan
Cynthia Morrison
Kim Bergman
Gary Mitchel
Mark Keshishian
Jim Voronin

Jamie Harris
Anthony Clark


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A brief write-upFull Strength pictures-Day 1Pictures from Day 2-The International CompetitionOfficial Full Strength Website

1998 Full Strength Challenge Weekend-October 2-4, 1998

Photos and full write-up to come

List of the American competitors

Fabrice Nahmiash-young Canadian strongman making his strongman debut.  5 foot 8 inches tall

Massive Gary Mitchell- six foot 1 inches tall and 320 pounds, hit this link to learn more about him

Steven Brian Bell-made a very respectable showing

Karl Gillingham-Minnesota state powerlifting champion and Brad Gillingham's (1998 USAPL Superheavyweight powerlifting champion) brother.  As a side note his other brother Wade was also in attendance and planned to compete, but a sudden bout of appendicitus kept him from competing.  I am sure he will be there next year.

Chad Coy-gym owner, strength and conditioning coach, lots of determination and took to coaching well

Kris Assaley-made a strong showing

Douglas Ahr- six foot 5 inches 365 pounds, reminded many people of Cleve Dean in his body structure (i.e., big hands, big feet, big structure and a gentle giant)

Phil Makdisi-six foot six, 415 pound monster was from Texas, a collegiate and pro wrestler now lives and trains in Texas

Chad Knowles-did very well

Marshall Ennis-highland games competitor from Canada, tester for last year's US Strongman Finals

Mark Keshishian-hit this link to learn more about him

Terry Brennan-1998 WSM competitor "tuning" up for Morocco, also competed in the World Muscle Power Classic

Michael Gillert-fierce determination

Harold "IronBear" Collins-41 years old, this soft spoken man was arguably the crowd favorite hit this link to learn more about him

Odd Hagen-48 years old, 6 foot 5 and 295 pounds, competing in only his fifth strongman competition

Day 1: American Qualifier for the first International Full Strength Challenge

The events

1. Tandem farmers walk:

        The apparatus: Two thick tree trunks were bolted and lashed together to make each side weigh about 220 pounds. The attached bar used for the gripping was long, thick and smooth. This apparatus was to be carried over the longest possible distance around a rectangular course. Once the objects are dropped the distance was measured.
        The strategy: As Gary Mitchell quickly learned in his race against Fabrice, the key to this race was coming out of the blocks first. If you weren't first, then you could be slowed by your competitor or when your competitor who was in front of you dropped the apparatus, you would trip over them

2. Tandem Forward hold:
The competitors faced each other while they had to hold a very large but empty drum weighing about 55 pounds with their arms parallel to the floor. The competitors' arms were supposed to be straight, their backs were supposed to be straight or else they would be disqualified. The winner was the one who recorded the longest time. In this event Gary Mitchell moderately injured himself.

3. Carry and Drag:
A large and cumbersome tire weighing 220 pounds had to be carried. Then two larger tires (combined weight of 700 pounds) that were lashed together were to be dragged by a rope across a line about 50 meters away. The time limit was 90 seconds. Only two competitors finished the race.
            The apparatus: Simply put, the drag aspect of this race was very grueling or in Manfred's words "very crueling"
            The strategy: The time in the first tire meant nothing since the battle came down to the drag. At first, the competitors tied the rope around their waists in such a fashion that part of the tire would be off the ground. The thought behind that was that less tire on the pavement meant less friction. However, this strategy ended up tripping the competitors as their feet got caught under the tires. Later, the strategy turned to simply looping the rope around the waist so that the maximum amount of distance from the tire could be achieved.

The Results:

Competitor Farmer's Walk Placings Forward Holding Placings Carry and Drag Final Points Final Places
Fabrice Nahmiash 8 2 13 25 7
Gary Mitchell 7 12 6 23 9
Steven Brian Bell 14 5 12 17 12
Karl Gillingham 1 1 5 41 1
Chad Coy 4 11 3 30 5
Kris Assaley 9 15 11   13
Douglas Ahr 5 8 1-completed 34 2
Phil Makdisi 10 14 2-completed 30 5
Chad Knowles 6 6 10 18 11
Marshall Ennis 15 13 15 5 15
Mark Keshishian 11 10 14 13 13
Terry Brennan 12 4 8 24 8
Michael Gillert 13 7 7 21 10
Chief Collins 3 3 9 33 3
Odd Hagen 2 9 4 35 3

Your American Full Strength Challenge Winners:  These six men went on to face the international competitors on Sunday

1.  Karl Gillingham

2.  Douglas Ahr

3 (tie)  Chief "IronBear" Collins and Odd Hagen

5 (tie)  Chad Coy and Phil "Big Mak" Makdisi



Day 2: The First International Full Strength Challenge

The competitors


1.  Karl Gillingham

2.  Douglas Ahr

3.  Chief "IronBear" Collins

4.  Odd Hagen

5.  Chad Coy

6.  Phil "Big Mak" Makdisi

7.  Wayne Price of South Africa, WSM competitor

8.  Uli Schwarz of Germany; he was at the Arnold Classic Strongman Expo

9.  Ron van Wamel of Holland

10.  Matti Uppa of Finland


The events

1.  Bus Pull:  An eight ton passenger bus was pulled by the competitors in Marshall Ennis's home made harness.  It was a distance of 25 meters.  The fastest time won.

        The apparatus:  This course had a slight upward dip at the end of the course which made for a really difficult ending.

        The technique:  The key to this event was keeping hips low with a good back arch and constant leg movement.   Momentum was crucial.  Once the bus stopped rolling that was it.

2.  Overhead Lift:  An unbalanced tree trunk weighing 220-250 pounds was to be lifted from the ground into an overhead position with arms locked out completely.  Both the Chief and Wayne tied with six reps.  Most of the competitors completed three reps.

        The apparatus:  This log was unbalanced on one side and the grips were unusually wide which made for a real challenge.

        The technique:  Wayne Price and the Chief had the best technique by far.  It was a three step process.   First was the pull up into the lap, then the long roll up to the chest and finally the overhead press.

3.  Super Yoke: A yolk with 650 pounds was used and the furthest possible distance won this event.  There was no time limit, but once the race started the yolk could not be put down on the pavement or else time would stop.  Ron van Wamel of Holland and Karl Gillingham were the only competitors that made it past 10 feet from the line.  Phil Makdisi had a really, really bad time negotiating this event.

        The apparatus:  The weights were too far apart from one another.  The apparatus was too wide.   Hardly anyone moved it more than a foot.

        The technique:  Slow and steady seemed to be to common denominator with those who moved the yolk further than a foot

4.  Car Flip:  A car weighing about 2000 pound was to be turned 360 degrees back on to the wheels again.  Then, the competitor had to sprint to the finishing line.  The fastest time won. In this event, Odd Haugen unfortunately severly injured himself. He said that he felt his right bicep tendon come loose and also his left calf was torn. He had to stop competing, but he did not stop cheering for his fellow competitors. What a sportsman. In addition, Karl Gillingham suffered a major shoulder separation in this event. As of 10/06/98, he is not sure if this injury will require surgery, but he says that it will probably not.

        The technique:  Those who remembered to keep a flat back, pushed with their legs and walked towards the car as they pulled up seemed to do the best.

5.  Loading:  The competitors would race against one another.  There were five objects.  Two tires, a 400 pound small in diameter barrel and two 200 pound large and cumbersome barrels had to be loaded on to a truck platform which was 50 inches off the ground.  This was a timed event. Despite his shoulder separation, Karl Gillingham attempted this event and made a really guttsy performance.


1998 International Full Strength Challenge Weekend-Finals

1.  Wayne Price

2.  Phil Makdisi

3.  Matti Uppa

4.  Chief IronBear Collins

5. Uli Schwarz

6. Doug Ahr

7. Ron Van Wamel

8. Odd Haugen (injured)

9. Karl Gillingham

10. Chad Coy