by Heidi Kristiansen

For a long time I've wanted to see the legendary Strongmen Bill Kazmaier and Geoff Capes compete, finally I did. Lester Thurtle from England sent me a tape of the WSM contest - 1981 and 1985. Thank you Lester :)

In 1981 the following strong men participated:

Jerry Hannan, USA - Olympic Weightlifter
Joe Zelezniak, USA - Shot Put Champion
Craig Wolfley, USA - American Footballer
Geoff Capes, GB - Olympic Shot Putter
Durwin Piper, USA - Super Heavy Weight Power Lifter
Keith Bishop, USA - American Footballer
Dave Waddington, USA - Super Heavy Weight Power Lifter
Bill Kazmaier, USA - Super Heavy Weight Power Lifter
Staggo Piszko, HOL - Super Heavy Weight Power Lifter
Bishop Dolegiewicz, CAN - Shot Putter

First event: THE LOG LIFT (max, massive logs)
Bill Kazmaier was superb, he lifted 360 lbs and could have done more.
Wolfley and Hannan second and third.
Wolfley was a nice man, said he was happy with the free dinners they got... 
(not quite true, later he said he didn't like being beaten by anyone)

Second event: THE WEIGHT TOSS (56 lbs, event from Highland G, 200 years old)
Geoff Capes threw 17 feet 1/4 inch. Kazmaier second, Dolegiewicz third.

Third event: THE TRUCK PULL (8,5 tons)
Some funny techniques here :) 
Capes won with 30.95 seconds, Piszko and Kazmaier following places.
It's a hard event, Piszko said he needed one hour to pick himself up the first time he 
tried it.

Fourth event: THE UPHILL RACE (800 lbs engine in a wheel barrow)
The reporter said some of them forgot to bring their driver's license, but..
Bill Kazmaier raced in to 9.65 seconds, followed by Capes and Zelezniak.

Fifth event: THE BARREL LOADING (12 x 167 lbs kegs onto a truck)
Beer, do not drink it - load it!
Kazmaier fastest with 49.11 secs, Capes and Waddington next.

Sixth event: THE BATTERY LIFT (forward hold, 60 lbs battery)
I love these events, they hurt!
Piper impressed with 46.63 secs, Waddington and Hannan second and third.

Seventh event: THE BAR BEND (started with a 5/8 ", ended with a 11/16" steelbar)
Capes was the great winner, followed by Kazmaier and Zelezniak.
This event was tough! They used their heads and necks to bend it. In the last attempt Capes and Kazmaier broke down in pain, luckily they both could continue the contest.

Eighth event: THE BLOCK LIFT (squat with cement blocks)
First a demonstration from The World's Strongest Man 77 and 78, 
Bruce Wilhelm USA. 
Kazmaier was again outstanding with 969 lbs (looked like he could do more). 
Piper and Waddington 2nd and 3rd.
Kazmaier said he wanted to go for 1000 lbs in a later national contest, did he? 

Ninth event: THE SILVER DOLLAR DEADLIFT (playboy girls filling up the silver)
Just a note to the "boys" - this contest was held outside the Playboy center New Jersey. 
Kazmaier was RAW and just to show us all he indeed was SUPERIOR, he lifted 960 lbs TWICE - straight up! Amazing again, he could do more! 
Waddington and Hannan 2nd and 3rd.

Tenth event: THE CABER TOSS (14 feet, 87 lbs caber)
Capes wanted to win this event, but Zelezniak did great and won with 40 feet, Waddington and Capes following places.

Eleventh event: THE SUMO CHALLENGE (very entertaining :)
Winner: Keith Bishop with a quick and impressive style! He flipped all of the bigger guys out of the ring! I was impressed by Keith Bishop, he was a "thinner" man, but did very well.

After this event, the reporter asked Keith Bishop: "This event must be made for Footballplayers, is this a training technique an "off line" coach would use?"
Bishop replied: "Ohh, no-no-no, a-a-a, your heart beat goes too fast, there will be too many people fallen."

Wolfley and Capes placed second and third in the Sumo event.

Final Scores:

Bill Kazmaier - 96 points
Geoff Capes - 88 p
Dave Waddington - 74.5 p
Jerry Hannan- 69.5 p
Craig Wolfley - 65.5 p
Keith Bishop - 63 p
Staggo Piszko - 56 p
Durwin Piper - 54.5 p
Joe Zelezniak - 54.5 p
Bishop Dolegiewicz - 40.5 p

After the contest the reporter talked about East Europeans - Russians...
Reporter: "How do you think your strength compares to theirs?"
Kazmaier: "Well, in their lifts they are the Kings, in my lifts I am The King."

And he was right! It was GREAT to see Bill Kazmaier compete, he knew how to psyche himself up before an event - dragonlike - and be calm about it afterwards. His strength was incredible!

Do not forget - Bill Kazmaier is still a very strong man!

I'm told that the events and the competition gets tougher every year... but is this true? 
I saw 10 strong men - 11 hard events - oxygen masks - struggle - effort - pain - fire - 
good strongman spirit!

I strongly recommend the strongman fans to see the older tapes of the WSM contest.

Retrospect of the WSM contest 1985 and Geoff Capes coming next...