Northeast Strongman Showdown 2001
Wilmington, Massachusetts

Held on Febraury 17,2001




Strong·man (strôngmn) n.:  an intense sport of which the modern derivation is a direct descendent of the Scottish and Icelandic/Scandinavian test of manhood.  A typical strongman competition is a test of strength, endurance, ingenuity and heart.  It consists of events adopted from traditional Scottish Highland Games, variations of powerlifting, Olympic lifting and just plain “crazy” events such as the rope and harness truck pull.

                The Budweiser Northeast Strongman Showdown held on February 17, 2001 certainly fit the bill of the aforementioned definition of the strongman sport.  Fifty-six Herculean athletes assembled to pit their might, strength and grit against seemly unmovable objects made of metal, machine, and stone.  The many members of Valhalla, the mythical eternal Viking resting grounds for the warriors of old, smiled, laughed and reveled as they gazed upon this mighty spectacle of man, steel and rock.

                Forty-two “amateurs” and fourteen pros assembled at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, Massachusetts over a twelve plus hour period to see who would not only be left standing, but who would be the top of the heap and earn their eventual entrance into Valhalla.  Art McDermott, highland games competitor, produced this extravaganza.  The competition itself began at 10:00 a.m. with the amateurs finishing up at around 5:30 p.m.  The pros then took over the show and the excitement became palpable.  When all was said and done, at a little past 10:30 p.m., Svend Karlsen amid shouts of “VIKING POWER” was the triumphant winner of the day.  All that was needed was for the mighty Norwegian to slice through the air as if with a sword to fully evoke memories of the late great Jon Pall Sigmarsson.  It should be noted that in this writer’s opinion, several of the top “amateurs” would have given the pros a real run for the money literally.  This article will start perhaps counterintuitively and certainly in a non-chronological fashion by addressing the professional meet first.  Then, the amateurs will be examined.



                Prior to the event, this writer had the opportunity to spend much of Friday with the athletes.  There was one common theme among them:  This was the first international event of the new strongman season for them and they all wanted to win it to set the pace for the entire year and to send a message that this year was going to be their year. 

The Northeast Strongman Showdown was not simply a traditional strongman contest where a bunch of individuals competed against one another, but rather it was billed as the best of the United States versus the best of the World.  The United States was represented by the Indiana Connection of Chad Coy, Brian Schoonveld, and Bryan Neese along with West Virginian Phil Pfister, Pennsylvanian Walt Gogola, Bruce Tessier of Massachusetts and resident of Las Vegas Gary Mitchell.  The international field was as diverse featuring the likes of Canadian strongman trio of Hugo “Huge-o” Girard, Travis Lyndon and Ed Brost along with Svend “Viking Power” Karlsen of Norway, Sami Heinonen of Finland, Glenn Ross of Northern Ireland and Jamie Barr of Scotland.  The men assembled on this field were truly some of the best that both the United States and the World had to offer.  Not an inexperienced man in the bunch.  Nine of them had competed in the World’s Strongest Man.  Four had been there at least twice.  Additionally, four of the competitors had made it on past the qualifers to the finals of the big show.  Arguably, it could be posited that this event was the greatest assembly of international caliber strongmen on the United States since the 1997 World’s Strongest Man Contest in Las Vegas.

                At approximately 5:30 p.m. with in excess of 1500 spectators on hand enveloping the competition floor on both sides, the lights went down, the spotlight turned up, the American flag was raised, the national anthem was sung, the competitors were introduced and the POWER began.


Preliminary Notes on the Competitors

                Several of you will undoubtedly skip or have undoubtedly skipped to see the results before reading this very statement.  If you have you will have noted a statistically rather surprisingly poor performance by the usually solid Glenn Ross.  Prior to his long plane flight over here to the United States, he had contracted the flu with a cold.  When he arrived, the symptoms went from bad to worse to nearly unbearable for the 400+ pound strongman.  As he ate with some of us, the usually outgoing, jovial and jocular strongman spent his time in between bites and strained breaths in apparent agony of coughing fits accompanied by sneezes.  This undoubtedly affected his performance as it carried on into the next day’s competition. 

                lBoth Svend Karlsen and Brian Schoonveld had used the time following the World’s Strongest Man to trim themselves down to at or near 300 to 310 pounds to become as Schoonveld stated “more of an athlete and more mobile.”  Svend remarked that as he did this, he had fears that his core strength would suffer, but he commented that his core strength surprisingly went up quite a bit quite unexpectedly.  This translated to a very impressive and memorable performance for the modern Viking, as we shall soon read for the Viking.  Svend showed up looking like a massive bodybuilder complete with prominent abs.  Bruce Tessier and Walt Gogola were each cutting their figurative teeth, as this was their first major international caliber competition.  Physique-wise, Hugo Girard looked more massive than ever before.  Chad Coy had put on some weight.  Bryan Neese was had been recovering from some injuries including a bicep tear and looked to be back into the physical and mental swing of things.  Gary Mitchell reported that he had had the best training cycle of recent memory.  So much so as to have his training partner Mark Phillipi remarked that this was the strongest and best conditioned that he had ever seen Mitchell.  Alas, Mitchell found himself suffering from a infected spider bite on his then enflamed left elbow that effected his grip.  Sami Heinonen brought a small film crew with him to chronicle the event.  Magnus ver Magnusson was on hand to act as referee and judge of the professional event.  The four-time World’s Strongest Man looked like and acted like the champion of old as he graciously accepted the crowd’s praise, signed autographs and stood for pictures.  He will be back in full action this year at Gayle Schroeder’s Azalea Festival Strongman Show in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Also of note in attendance was meet promoter Jim Davis whose upcoming meet in St. Louis will be one of the next major strongman events in the United States, Olympic Gold medallist Harold Connelly, Dr. Ken Liestner and World Strongest Man competitor Steve Pulcinella.



                The apparati themselves were for the most part produced by Mastiff Equipment, which is owned and operated by pro strongman and 1999 “US Strongest Man” Bryan Neese and his wife Erica Neese.  Not one complaint was heard throughout the day in regards to the equipment as they were professionally manufactured and held up to the abuse placed on them by the athletes.  Mastiff Equipment can be contacted at


The Farmer’s Walk   Click to see photos

                The very first event was the farmer’s walk where the professionals were challenged to carry the farmer’s walk implements weighing 325 pounds each.  The athletes were not allowed to drop the implements.  If they did so, a measurement was made.  The event took place over a 200-foot course.  This was a tandem event where each competitor was paired with someone else.  So, there were times when athletes looked over at their opponent to spur themon further.  It was a straightway course with some of the competitors turning it into a runaway.  Phil Pfister sent early notice that the “off season” for him did not mean the “sit on the couch season” as he turned in the winning time.  Brian Schoonveld and Hugo Girard were right on his heels as they were the only other two finishing the event.  Surprising to many, Svend Karlsen did not finish the course.  Chad Coy turned in a new personal best in this event.


1)       Phil Pfister                                     26.2 seconds        

2)       Brian Schoonveld                        26.9

3)       Hugo Girard                                  27.2

4)       Sami Heinonen                             182’

5)       Svend Karlsen                              178’

6)       Travis Lyndon                              158’

7)       Brian Neese                                   157’6”

8)       Chad Coy                                      151’

9)       Walt Gogola                                  133’

10)    Glenn Ross                                    99’6”

11)    Jamie Barr                                      91’

12)    Gary Mitchell                                80’ 9”

13)    Ed Brost                                         79’

14)    Bruce Tessier                                70’


Viking Press   Click to see photos

                Rather than using the traditional strongman method to determine the order of the competitors where the individual currently in last place went first, this competition utilized a random order system where the athletes found themselves in a new competition order for each event divorced of rhyme or reason.  The crowd really got into this next event.  T he place was rocking and counting the reps along with Magnus ver.  The Viking Press apparatus was manufactured by Mastiff Equipment similar in design to the one originally used in the Helsinki Grand Prix with three notable exceptions.  First, the weight at the hands was heavier in the Mastiff version with three hundred and fifty (350) pounds, which is much heavier than the Helsinki version.  The second difference was that instead of a series of canisters used to hold the weight, ten full kegs were implemented.  Thus, making the Mastiff version of the apparatus a little more unruly to the inexperienced in that there was more lateral motion.  The most important difference was that unlike the Helsinki version, the Mastiff version had a “resting stand” where the apparatus rested when not in use.  This fact would play an important role later on as you will read.  Coming into this event several people were mentioned by the athletes to probably win this event.  Had Glenn Ross not been so sick, he would have been mentioned more often, but nevertheless he was still a favorite.  Hugo Girard was picked by many to battle it out with Brain Schoonveld for the top honors.  Schoonveld was rumored to have done in excess of 25 in practice and had done twenty plus in the Snowman Challenge only a month earlier. 

This event proved to be the most controversial in the entire day.  Prior to this event, there had been small fireworks between Svend Karlsen and Phil Pfister as Svend had commented on Phil’s prior performance in the Helsinki Grand Prix of last year.  In that event, Phil turned in a sixteen-repetition result a few of which Svend found of questionable “lock out.”  Naturally, Phil took exception to this comment and stormed off to the warm-up area to finish preparing amid vocal protests of  “That’s not cool ” and “What the f-ck Svend.”  Svend soon followed into the warm-up area and extended his hand in friendship to Phil who after some pause took it.  Prior to the event, Magnus ver Magnusson explained in no uncertain detail that he was expecting strict lock-outs and the repetition would not count if and until he gave the down signal accompanied by the number of the repetition.  The second area of controversy came as Phil Pfister began the event.  The six foot five inch Phil Pfister uses a deep jerk technique to press the weight overhead.  In doing so, he began the event by banging the weight against the “rest stand” of the apparatus very violently thereby catching some rebound effect benefits.  After two warnings to Phil and four repetitions, Phil was ordered to stop by Magnus ver.  At first, Magnus ver was not going to allow Phil Pfister to proceed and record only four reps, but after some contemplation, Phil was allowed to return following everyone else’s performance.  The third incident occurred as Ed Brost took the handles.  Ed started motoring through rep after rep after rep as Magnus still had not signaled one rep.  Ed had forgotten to wait for the down signal from Magnus ver.  This led to some grumbling as Ed was awarded ten reps in the end.  Brian Schoonveld had a few of his reps not counted by Magnus ver.  Also, Chad Coy found his last rep to be very difficult as Magnus ver properly made Chad wait until his right elbow fully locked out.  He had to wait a good five-second with the 325 pounds above him.  When the smoke cleared and the event was over, Hugo stood as champion of this event.  Again, Brian Schoonveld was making his presence known as he came in a solid second.  Schoonveld engendered the crowd’s support as through his performance and by throwing t-shirts into the crowd.  Bryan Neese tore out an explosive and clean 14 reps.  Phil Pfister’s second chance netted him a tie for the seventh place finish with Gary Mitchell with nine reps.  Glenn Ross would have been undoubtedly good for at least twice what he got if he had not been sick.  Jamie Barr commented that this was his least favorite event of all strongman events.


1)       Hugo Girard                                  21 reps

2)       Brian Schoonveld                        19

3)       Bryan Neese                                 14

4)       tie - Svend Karlsen

                Travis Lyndon                      13

5)       tie - Chad Coy

                Walt Gogola                          11

6)       tie - Ed Brost

                Bruce Tessier                        10

7)       tie - Phil Pfister                            

                Gary Mitchell                        9

8)       tie - Sami Heinonen     

                Glenn Ross                            8

9)       Jamie Barr                                      5



Tire Flip   Click to see photos

                Again, the random order system that was used found several competitors with little time to recover from the previous two events.  Following this event, Bryan Neese summed up the feeling among the professionals for the need to slow down the pace of the event a little when he talked to meet promoter Art McDermott.  This event was again a classic tandem event where the competitors went head to head using a near 900-pound tire over a 100-foot course.  As anyone who has flipped a tire of this size can tell you, this is perhaps the most grueling event known in strongman.  So much so, that many a well conditioned athlete found themselves acting as if they were sucking air through a straw at the end.  Svend Karlsen simply put ran away with this event.  His technique was superlative and tight.  Following suit was the “new guy” Bruce Tessier.  He was such an unknown quantity in at this show that no one knew what to expect of him.  Several professionals came up to this writer to ask who he was, where he came from and what to expect.  All this writer could do was state Bruce’s name and shrug his shoulders as to the rest.  Needless to say, by the end of the day, he became very memorable for not only his Whit Baskin like physique but for his performance as well.  It was at this event that all eyes started to shift towards Travis Lyndon of Canada.  He was followed by his fellow countryman Hugo Girard.  Jamie Barr was the only other professional to finish the event in under a minute.



1)       Svend Karlsen                              47.8 seconds

2)       Bruce Tessier                                55.47

3)       Travis Lyndon                              56.27

4)       Hugo Girard                                  57.1

5)       Jamie Barr                                      58.76

6)       Chad Coy                                      1:02.7

7)       Bryan Neese                                 1:11.75

8)       Sami Heinonen                             1:23.7

9)       Brian Schoonveld                        1:24.08

10)    Walt Gogola                                  1:30

11)    Ed Brost                                         99’

12)    tie - Gary Mitchell                        98

                Phil Pfister                             98’

14)    Glenn Ross                                    95’ 2”


Atlas Stones  Click to see photos

                This event had the crowd rocking and was perhaps the highlight of the whole day.  The weight of the Altas Stones ranged up to 365 pounds. The platforms ranged in height from 64 inches to 48 inches. The lights were again turned down and the spotlight was used to bathe each athlete in bright light.  Bryan Neese was the first man up.  There were three timekeepers used in this event:  one at the third stone, one at the fourth stone and one at the fifth stone.  Apparently there was some confusion by one of the timekeepers.  Bryan had flown through loading four stones.  As he was about to attack the fifth stone, one timekeeper, believing the event to be a ninety second event, erroneously told him that he had thirty seconds left when in fact he only had fifteen.  Neese stepped back and re-tackkied his arms only to only be called out at seventy-five seconds.  Bryan was given an extra turn after this timing error.  On his second attempt, he failed to load the third stone.  No times were kept for those who loaded less than 3 stones.  Hence, his DNF result below.  On his first turn, which was negated by his decision to go again, he loaded the first 4 stones.  Bryan's fourth stone time was 42.1 seconds.  This would have moved him up ahead of Jamie Barr and Ed Brost, but would not have changed his place in the overall.  Svend Karlsen showed all in attendance what he means when he yells “Viking Power” as he blazed through all five stones.  He hardly struggled with the last stone as he popped it from the floor to his lap and onto the pedestal with no hesitation.  Equally impressive was Travis Lyndon whose huge six foot-five inch body made getting his arms around the stones easy.  Travis no doubt has great genetics for this event to be coupled with his fast feet and athleticism.  Chad Coy flew through the stones as well which provided little surprise to many as he had reported that he has lifted heavier stones, higher and faster.  Bruce Tessier, Brian Schoonveld, Gary Mitchell, Phil Pfister, Sami Heinonen and Walt Goggla loaded all five stones.




1)       Svend Karlsen                              5 stones @ 27.90

2)       Travis Lyndon                              5 @ 30.64

3)       Chad Coy                                      5 @ 36.62

4)       Bruce Tessier                                5 @ 39.09

5)       Brian Schoonveld                        5 @ 39.24

6)       Gary Mitchell                                5 @ 40.08

7)       Phil Pfister                                     5 @ 44.53

8)       Sami Heinonen                             5 @ 45.44

9)       Walt Gogola                                  5 @ 56.09

10)    Hugo Girard                                  4 @ 27.85

11)    Glenn Ross                                    4 @ 40.12

12)    Ed Brost                                         4 @ 44.43

13)    Jamie Barr                                      3 @ 30.29

14)    Bryan Neese                                 DNF*



Super Yoke  Click to see photos

                The apparatus itself weighed in excess of 800 pounds.  The course was ninety feet.  The most amazing aspect in regards to Svend Karlsen in the Super Yoke event is not only does he hold the world record and that he always wins the event, but that he consistently shows us all why he does.  He ran with the apparatus.  Svend commented that he felt the pressure of Brian Schoonveld.  Before the event, Svend stated that he was nervous because he had heard that in practice Schoonveld who had designed the very apparatus that they were using had been turning in times to rival Svend’s best performance.  Svend’s concern almost proved prophetic, as Brian was only two seconds behind Svend.  Svend seriously complained about his own performance citing it as pathetic.  Hugo Girard’s constant improvement in this event amazes many.  In the 1999 Beauty and the Beast strongman competition, Hugo on a similar apparatus could only budge the weight two feet.  Phil Pfister blazed away as well.  Ed Brost turned in his best performance of the day in this event.



1)       Svend Karlsen                              16.0 seconds

2)       Brian Schoonveld                        18.80

3)       Hugo Girard                                  20.0

4)       Phil Pfister                                     29.9

5)       Ed Brost                                         30.41

6)       Chad Coy                                      34.2

7)       Bryan Neese                                 44.43

8)       Glenn Ross                                    56.5

9)       Travis Lyndon                              85’8”

10)    Walt Gogola                                  76’3”

11)    Gary Mitchell                                75’2”

12)    Bruce Tessier                                32’5”

13)    Jamie Barr                                      19’3”

14)    Sami Heinonen                             10’5”



Truck Pull  Click to see photos


                Coming into this event, several things were clear.  It had been a long and arduous day of competition for the competitors.  The issue was still in doubt as Svend Karlsen had the lead, but Schoonveld and Hugo were close behind.  Rather than utilizing the random order system as had been used previously, the traditional method was used with the current person in last place going first and the leader going last.  This created an exciting climax to the showdownthat had everyone on pins and needles.  At this point Svend was in the lead, followed by Schoonveld with Hugo Girard one point behind him.  Additionally, the United States was in first by two points.  The truck pull was in reality a massive 30,000-pound dump trucks pull with a harness and a rope for simultaneous arm over arm pulling.  Traditionally, a 15-ton truck is not that challenging to men at this level.  However, as we all know, these size dump trucks have massive tires in terms of both height and width making the event much more difficult as there is more tred per revolution creating more friction.  The course itself was unmarkable excepting a slight upward dip at the end.  Travis Lyndon and Phil Pfister smoked this event.  So much so that Magnus ver commented “Phil needs no help when it comes to truck pulling.  I will be giving him no more help.”  As an interesting aside, Chad coy used a 40-pound lead vest to weigh himself down for this event.  All eyes now turned to the last three men to go:  Hugo Girard, Brian Schoonveld and Svend Karlsen in that order.  Hugo took the slack and turned in what would later prove to be the winning time of the event with 45.08 seconds.  Brian Schoonveld went next turning in a time of 50.78 seconds which would later place him in fourth place for the event and knock him narrowly out of second overall.  Everyone watched any waited to see if it was going to be Hugo or Svend to be crowned champion.  Svend needed to turn in s time faster than a minute and five seconds.  Svend appeared to be nervous and not as confident as he had been all day.  Svend took the strain, kept his head down and turned in a gutsy performance under pressure with a fifty-five second result.  Immediately following the whistle being blown to signify his completion of the course, Svend was unsure if he had won or not.  He looked around for the timekeeper.  He couldn't find the timekeeper.  Finally, after several seconds, as he was told his time, the mighty Norwegian strongman launched his arms in the air triumphantly accompanying his loud shouts of “Viking Power!!!” which was echoed by some in attendance.  As a result, of this last event, the United States lost its narrow lead with the international competitors walking away as champions this day by one point.   


1)       Hugo Girard                                  45.08 seconds

2)       Travis Lyndon                              45.74

3)       Phil Pfister                                     46.03

4)       Brian Schoonveld                        50.74

5)       Svend Karlsen                              55.24

6)       Sami Heinonen                             58.56

7)       Bryan Neese                                 1:06.15

8)       Bruce Tessier                                1:06.20

9)       Glenn Ross                                    1:07.84

10)    Walt Gogola                                  1:13.45

11)    Gary Mitchell                                1:15.32

12)    Jamie Barr                                      1:19.06

13)    Chad Coy                                      1:29.49

14)    Ed Brost                                         98’




1)       Svend Karlsen - Norway             17.5 Points

2)       Hugo Girard - Canada                  22

3)       Brian Schoonveld - USA            24

4)       Travis Lyndon - Canada             26.5

5)       Phil Pfister - USA                         38

6)       Chad Coy  - USA                         42.5

7)       Bryan Neese - USA                     45

8)       Bruce Tessier - USA                    48.5

9)       Sami Heinonen - Finland             52.5

10)    Walt Gogola - USA                      54.5

11)    Gary Mitchell - USA                    63

12)    Ed Brost - Canada                        63.5

13)    Glenn Ross - N. Ireland               64.5

14)    Jamie Barr - Scotland                   68


Team Totals:  (Low point wins)


USA                                                       315.5

International                                         314.5



Svend Karlsen simply put was head and shoulders above the other competitors on that day and with those events.  Svend, without a trace of braggadocio or insincerity, calmly told several that if he had to do these very events all over again on that very day with no rest, he could.  There is no doubt in my mind that he could.  This may very well be his year to win the prize that he has sought now for many, many years:  the title “World’s Strongest Man.”  However, Hugo Girard looks larger and more confident than ever and will undoubtedly prove to be a major foe.  This writer was very impressed by the Mohawk-wearing US strongman named Brian Schoonveld.  He has the requisite attitude and drive to push himself to the limit and beyond.  He has a large potential to become himself a dominant name in the sport with a few changes.  Let’s all remember that he is very new to this sport having competed for less than two years now.  He is nearly as polished as the old pros.  Travis Lyndon will be one to watch this year.  If he is not invited to the World’s Strongest Man, then that will be a big mistake!  Had it not been for a slow start, he might have supplanted one or all of the top three.  Phil Pfister’s performance was perhaps hampered in part by the fact that he has a newborn.  Chad Coy is constantly improving since his strongman debut in the RaceWay in Las Vegas for the AFSA Full Strength Challenge in 1998.  Bryan Neese is coming back strong from his injuries and will perform well this year when he lets some of his hesitation go.  The two “rookies” of the bunch Bruce Tessier and Walt Gogola turned in impressive performances.  One would hope that they would take advantage of the Beauty and the Beast competition opportunity this year to try to qualify for a spot in the World’s Strongest Man.  Sami Heinonen had an inconsistent day, but continues to be one to watch internationally.  Gary Mitchell seems poised to turn in a great performance this year evidenced by his dedicated training and heart.  Ed Brost and Jamie Barr found several of the events not to suit them here.  Poor Glenn Ross was just too sick.  Svend as champion took home $3500.  Hugo $2000.  Brian Schoonveld $1000.  Travis Lyndon took $750.  Fifth, sixth and seventh (Phil Pfister, Chad Coy and Bryan Neese) received $500, $300, and $250 respectively.  Placings of 8 through 14 found $100 their reward.






                Usually in any meet write-up this is the part of the story where the writer takes the time to comment upon the overall event, his impressions, his criticisms and what the meet promoter intends to do next year.  However, before that is all done, this event had a large shadow looming over it---Whit Baskin.  As many of you know Whit was involved in an automobile accident on December 19th that resulted in him being in a coma, requiring intensive care treatment, surgery, rehabilitation and a tracheotomy just to name a few aspects.  Present at this event was Summer Baskin, Whit’s sister.  Summer caught us all up on Whit’s condition (which probably by the time of press has changed).  She explained that it appears as if following happened on that night.  Whit had been working at the Baskin family restaurant that night.  He had left after closing time at 2 a.m. to drive to a nearby town to visit a lady friend of his.  It is unsure whether he simply fell asleep and his foot hit the accelerator pushing the SUV he drove up to 100 miles per hour or he had been traveling at 100 miles per hour and had fallen asleep.  Whatever the circumstances, he came off the road and struck a pole.  In talking to Summer, one definitely was struck by the impact that this personal tragedy has had on the family and indeed us all.  Thousands of people have visited the “Whit Baskin and Family” Board to express their sympathy and to post a note of prayer or will wishing to Whit.  Hundreds have wrote or called the Baskins.  Hundreds have contributed to his various funds.  This event was not different.  Throughout the event Art McDermott acting as emceee reminded us all of Whit and encouraged us all to think about him.  Art McDermott together with some of the booths present held a Thomas Inch dumbbell challenge with the proceeds to go to Whit.  Over a thousand dollars was raised in this manner to help him.  Thank you to everyone who has helped.



THE AMATUERS  Click to see photos

                This class was divided into three groups.  The Lightweights (under 200 pounds), the Middleweights (201 through 250 pounds) and the Heavyweights (251 pounds and over).  The events the amateurs did were akin to what the pros were going to do later on in the day.  The lightweights would all do an event, the middleweights would follow doing the same event and then the heavyweights would finish the event moving on to the next event.



The Farmer’s Walk

The amateur competitors used farmer’s walk implements with a weight of 225 (the lightweights), 250 (the middleweights) and 275 pounds (the heavyweights) in each hand.        The traditional rules of the farmer’s walk were implemented as once the apparatus touched the ground that athlete’s performance was over and a measurement was taken.  The course itself was a 200-foot straight away.  Of the lightweights, only Dave Rose and Knut Bjorvatn finished the course.  They turned the event into the farmer’s sprint by turning times of 25.26 and 28.17 seconds respectively.  The middleweight class saw Nick Osborne turn in an impressive time of 28.21 seconds to only be narrowly picked at the post by Dave Barron with 27.87 seconds.  Seven of the thirteen middleweights completed the course.  Jared Spybrook, certainly the class of the large field of heavyweights won this event with a time of 30.08 seconds to find Charlie Kaptor hot on his heels with 30.31 seconds.  These two were the only heavyweights to complete the course.  The full results are as follows:



Lightweights                                                         Middleweights                                     Heavyweights


1)       Dave Rose                     25.26s                     Dave Barron          27.87                       Jared Spybrook    30.08

2)       Knut Bjorvatn               28.17                       Nick Osborne        28.21                       Charlie Kaptor      30.31

3)       Kevin Nowak                191’10”                   Chris Ronson        31.07                       Derek Hurley         198’9”

4)       Chris Nation                  189’10”                   Rob Greico            35.77                       Don Pope              191’11”

5)       Nick DiGregorio            177’11”                   Don Stewart          37.65                       Chris Doyle           191’2”

6)       Scott Regan                  167’3”                     Ross Baker            39.47                       Dan Ford               150’8”

7)       Robert Schnell              147’3”                     Ken McCrossen   42.3                         Dana Florence      149’9”

8)       Peter Fernandes           97’9”                       Kevin Irwin           174’                         Daniel Jay              138’1”

9)       Eugene Marsolais        93’                           Dana Taylor          162’10”                   Scott O’Connor    132’11”

10)    Scott Goldy                   87’9”                       Kevin Fernandes  128’5”                     Hunter Allen         122’2”

11)    Steven Reynolds          40’                           Scott Calander      119’10”                   Jon Riggs              96’10”

12)    Jon Havens                   25’2”                       Bob Jodoin            91’9”                       Gerard Benderoth 73’4”

13)    Anthony Janicke          1’                             Nick Biello             85’2”                       Ron Slusarski        67’2”

14)    Tim Ramey    51’

15)    Paul Becker   6’


The Log Press

                This event was the traditional log clean and press for maximum repetitions.  The lightweight class was a hotly contested class in this event as Jon Havens turned in 14.  Robert Schnell locked out 13.  Chris Nation, Dave Rose and Kevin Nowak all tied with 12 reps.  Rob Greico blasted out twenty reps to win the middleweights with Nick Osborne following suit.  Twenty reps also won the heavyweights and the honor of winning this event went to Charlie Kaptor.  Close but only enough to turn in a very respectable second place performance was Don Pope.


Lightweight                                                           Middleweight                                       Heavyweight


1)       Jon Havens                   14                            Rob Greico            20                            Charlie Kaptor      20

2)       Robert Schnell              13                            Nick Osborne        17                            Don Pope              18

3)       tie - Chris Nation          12                            Nick Biello             14                            Jared Spybrook    14

                Dave Rose             12                            Chris Ronson        12                            Ron Slusarski        14

                Kevin Nowak        12                            Dave Barron          11                            Dan Ford               13

6)       Knut Bjorvatn               11                            Kevin Fernandes  8                              Hunter Allen         13

7)       tie - Steve Reynolds    8                              Ken McCrossen   7                              Chris Doyle           13

                Peter Fernandes   8                              Ross Baker            6                              Scott O’Connor    12

9)    tie - Scott Regan           7                              Bob Jodoin            5                              Gerard Benderoth 11

                Nick DiGregorio    7                              Scott Calander      4                              Jon Riggs              10

11)    tie - Scott Goldy           5                              tie -Don Stewart   2                              Paul Becker           8

                Anthony Janicke  5                                    Dana Taylor    2                              Daniel Jay              7

13)   Eugene Marsolais        3                                    Kevin Irwin     2                              Derek Hurley         6

                                                                                                                                                Tim Ramey            5

                                                                                                                                                Dana Florence      3


Tire Flip

                The grueling tire flip event followed the log press for reps.  The course was 100 feet long which probably seemed more like ten times that to several who afterward lied in a heap of pure exhaustion.  Twelve lightweights finished the course with ten of them turning in times of less than a minute.  Amazing.  Knut Bjorvatn, Kevin Nowak and Dave Rose came in first, second and third respectively.  Ross Baker was the only middleweight to finish this arduous event.  Once again in the heavyweights, Jared Spybrook proved his meddle to be followed closely by Don Pope only .13 seconds behind.



Lightweight                                                           Middleweight                                       Heavyweight


1)       Knut Bjorvatn               42.79s                     Ross Baker            1:24.9                      Jared Spybrook    1:09.59

2)       Kevin Nowak                43.50                       Ken McCrossen   86’6”                       Don Pope              1:09.72

3)       Dave Rose                     46.26                       Rob Greico            80’3”                       Dan Ford               72.28

4)       Jon Havens                   46.63                       Chris Ronson        80’2”                       Charlie Kaptor      77.77

5)       Scott Goldy                   50.69                       Nick Osborne        78’11”                     Hunter Allen         95’

6)       Steve Reynolds            50.83                       Nick Biello             77’9”                       Chris Doyle           85’10”

7)       Peter Fernandes           52.67                       Don Stewart          60’10”                     Scott O’Connor    85’9”

8)       Robert Schnell              54.17                       Kevin Fernandes  56’9”                       Derek Hurley         81’1”

9)       Chris Nation                  56.19                       Dave Barron          55’8”                       Gerard Benderoth 77’11”

10)    Nick DiGregorio            57.07                       Kevin Irwin           46’6”                       Paul Becker           71’8”

11)    Scott Regan                  62.27                       Dana Taylor          38’8”                       Dana Florence      70’10”

12)    Eugene Marsolias        1:08.04                    Scott Calander      31’9”                       Tim Ramey            64’4”

13)    Anthony Janicke          81’                           Bob Jodoin            30’5”                       Jon Riggs              62’10”

14)    Daniel Jay      61’11”

15)    Ron Slusarski 45’4”


Atlas Stones

                The crowd erupted in anticipation as the loading stands and massive stones were placed into position.  The platforms themselves ranged in height from as high as 64 inches in the beginning down to 48 inches in the end.  The heaviest of the five stones lifted by the amateurs was 330 pounds.  Not to many years ago, that was the heaviest stone featured on the World’s Strongest Man television event.  This just graphically proves that as time goes on the sport evolves and the level of competition does as well.  Six lightweights and six middleweights loaded all five with the equally impressive Knut Bjorvan and Nick Osborne winning their respective classes.  They were followed closely by Dave Rose and Ross Baker.  Jared Spybrook with an exclamation mark loaded the fifth stone in an impressive 36.06 seconds.  This writer would be surprised if Jared could not have loaded the heaviest professional stone of 365 pounds.  Don Pope, Scott O’Connor and Chris Doyle also loaded all five in under a minute’s time.



Lightweight  (# of stones/time)                         Middleweight                                       Heavyweight       


1)       Knut Bjorvatn               5/23.8s                    Nick Osborne        5/25.25                    Jared Spybrook 5/36.06

2)       Dave Rose                     5/25.8                      Ross Baker            5/25.87                    Don Pope   5/ 39.32

3)       Jon Havens                   5/29.8                      Nick Biello             5/30.85                    Scott O’Connor 5/ 50.32     

4)       Robert Schnell              5/38.5                      Chris Ronson        5/35.29                    Chris Doyle           5/ 50.53

5)       Kevin Nowak                5/62.5                      Kevin Fernandes  5/47.99                    Hunter Allen         4/21.6

6)       Scott Goldy                   5/70.3                      Ken McCrossen   5/49.8                      Derek Hurley         4/24.0

7)       Eugene Marsolias        4/28.4                      Dave Barron          4/21.2                      Dana Florence      4/28.8

8)       Nick DiGregorio            4/37.4                      Don Stewart          4/22.0                      Charlie Kaptor      4/31.9

9)       Scott Regan                  4/46.0                      Scott Calander      4/25.8                      Dan Ford               4/32.0

10)    Chris Nation                  4/48.6                      Rob Grieco            4/42.2                      Gerard Benderoth 4/34.8

11)    Peter Fernendes           4/55.4                      Kevin Irwin           4/66.2                      Paul Becker           4/49.5

12)    Steven Reynolds          3/31.2                      Bob Jodoin            3/34.9                      Jon Riggs              3/29.4

13)    Anthony Janicke          1/28.9                      Dana Taylor          2/20.5                      Tim Ramey            3/35.8

14)    Dan Jay          3/38.2

15)    Ron Slusarski 1/8.8




                Here the athletes competed to push a 7000 plus pound humvee 100 feet, drag a 500 pound chain backwards and then carry a 180 pound keg forward 100 feet and load it onto a platform.  As this was the last event, some injuries and manifest exhaustion precluded several from carrying on.  Nick Digregorio, Rob Greico and Dana Florence won their classes.



Lightweight                                                           Middleweight                                       Heavyweight


1)       Nick Digregorio            1:32.0                      Rob Greico            1:19.39                    Dana Florence      1:22.45

2)       Kevin Nowak                1:36.53                    Ross Baker            1:23.68                    Jared Spybrook    1:24.06

3)       Dave Rose                     1:48.47                    Ken McCrossen   1:25.23                    Dan Ford               1:26.77

4)       Peter Fernandes           1:49.18                    Chris Ronson        1:25.24                    Don Pope              1:33.34

5)       Knut Bjorvatn               1:50.7                      Nick Osborne        1:29.74                    Paul Becker           1:33.69

6)       Jon Havens                   1:59.65                    Dave Barron          1:30.18                    Derek Hurley         1:39.97

7)       remainder DNF             -                               Kevin Fernendes  1:42.72                    Hunter Allen         1:43.89

8)       Nick Biello     1:47.0                      Jon Riggs              1:44.17

9)       Dana Taylor  1:48.0                      Chris Doyle           1:44.27

10)    Don Stewart  1:55.73                    Scott O’Connor    1:47.67

11)    remainder DNF                             Gerard Bend.         1:54.09

                                                                12) remainder DNF



Overall Placings


Congratulations are in order for all the athletes.  In the overall scoring here, first place was assigned one point, second two points with full placings all the way down to the number of competitors.  Therefore, a score of five would indicate all first places and a perfect score.  Dave Rose, Knut Bjorvatn and Kevin Nowak turned in a mighty fight for the top spots in the lightweight class, which was really exciting to watch.  At the meet sight, there was a significant error in the middleweight top results. In reviewing the scores, Art McDermott found that the log press scores were incorrect for about 5 of the athletes in the middle of the pack. All of them had one point removed from their score. Remembering that low score wins, so this was a good thing for them. As a result, Ross Baker had 19 points and not 20. This put him in a tie with Rob Greico and Chris Ronson. Tiebreakers in the overall score were broken by looking at who had the highest placings in other events. Rob Greico has two first place finishes and therefore, retained second place.  However, Ross Baker had one first place while Chris Ronson had zero first places in other events.  As a result, Ross Baker was the true third place finisher and not Chris Ronson as originally scored. Art McDermott wanted to express his sincere apologies to Chris Ronson for this news and of course to Ross Baker who did not get to receive his trophy in front of family and friends. No other placings were affected.  Without a doubt the class of the heavyweights literally was Jared Sprybrook.  He turned in an amazing score of eight when five would have been perfect.  In a class of great heavyweight amateurs, his three first place finishes, a second place and a third place made for an impressive showing sure to turn heads.   Meet promoters should look seriously at this young man to move up to professional level competition.  Don Pope, Dan Ford and Chris Doyle are on the cusp as well.


Lightweight                                                          Middleweight                                        Heavyweight


1)       Dave Rose                     13                            Nick Osborne                        15            Jared Spybrook    8             

2)       Knut Bjorvatn               15                            Rob Greico                            19            Don Pope              14

3)       Kevin Nowak                16                            Ross Baker                            19            Dan Ford               26

4)       Jon Havens                   26                            Chris Ronson                        19            Chris Doyle           29

5)       Nick DiGregorio            33.5                         Kenneth McCrossen           25            Charlie Kaptor      30

6)       Robert Schnell              34                            Dave Barron                          28            Hunter Allen         32

7)       Peter Fernandes           37.5                         Nick Biello                             33            Derek Hurley         36

8)       Chris Nation                  40                            Kevin Fernandes                  36            Scott O’Connor    37

9)       tie - Scott Regan           45.5                         Don Stewart                          42            Dana Florence      44

10)           Scott Goldy            45.5                         Dana Taylor                          54            Gerard Benderoth 51

11)    Steve Reynolds            49.5                         Kevin Irwin                           54            Paul Becker           52

12)    Eugene Marlsolais       54                            Scott Calander                      56            Jon Riggs              54

13)    Anthony Janicke          63                            Bob Jodoin                            59            Ron Slusarski        61

14) Daniel Jay       63

15)Tim Ramey       78






                This writer was amazed by the fact that this show was Art Dermott’s first promotion of a strongman event.  It was a professional level event in every sense of the word.  Good equipment, lots of help, a great meet situs, a large crowd and plenty of great athletes.  In talking to Art McDermott he stated several elements that he will change for next year.  First, he will make it a two-day event.  One day of the amateurs with possibly a woman’s strongman show.  The next day would be the pros.  He acknowledged that this would shorten up the show’s length and make it more enjoyable for the audience as well.  He will also cut the professional field down by two people also in hopes to speed up the show.  He will also promote the event earlier in hopes of filling out the meet sight.  Finally, he will also increase the prize money.  No date has been set as of yet for next year’s event.




The following is a list of the next major strongman contests of international caliber that will be held in the United States.  If you like the sport, come out and have a great time supporting your favorite athlete.


The 2nd Annualk Azelea Festival                                  Virginia Beach, VA          April 28, 2001

NASS Missouri Strongman Contest 2001                                                                May 19, 2001

Beauty and the Beast Strongman Challenge                Honolulu, HI                    June 2, 2001

The Central USA Strongman Challenge                                                                   June 30, 2001

 Strongest Man In The World                                                                                   June 23 and 24, 2001(tenative)          

The American Hurcules                                                                                              July 6 and 7, 2001

USA v. the World                                                                                                        September 22, 2001



Justin McShane is a competitive powerlifter who occasionally dabbles in strongman.  He co-owns and maintains World Strength Legends website ( where you can find the most in depth contest coverage and interviews with the athletes anywhere.  He also runs the internet’s most popular strength athlete discussion board called the Diesel Power Forum (  Check it out!