2000 Metroplex Strongman Challenge Contest

by Al Wood
The 2000 Metroplex Strongman Challenge Contest was held on Saturday Mar. 18 at the Star of Texas Facility in Euless Texas.  This great facility is set up for everything from golf to baseball and other sports.

Before anything else I gotta say this.  Much is made of the issue of sportsmanship in this day and age.  We see pro and college ball players throwing tantrums.  Trash talking rules the waves.  This is not true in strength sports.  One of the best things was the fact that Meet Director and founder of the North American Strong Man Association, Bill Holland, and his wonderful wife Linda opened their home to the athletes for the last couple of months to train for this.  They symbolize what our sports are about.  Also each and every athlete was cheering the others on.  No trash talking, no tantrums, and everyone had a good time.

The day started out cold and dreary with a light mist in the air.  This did not scare anyone it just made them wet.  This group of athletes was composed of 16 fine athletes;

Steve Rowley from Tennessee.  He is in his first year of strongman competition at the tender age of 25.
Jeff McCreary from Oklahoma.  At 36 he is a veteran of 2 years in this type of competition.
Jeremy Fowler from Kemp Texas.  He is 18 and just starting in his first contest.  
Carl Marcum at 45 is from Ardmore Oklahoma. He is also in his second year of competition.
Sam Clarkson from Dallas entered his first contest.
Scott Hall is from Southlake Texas.  He is a 28 year old powerlifter competing in his first strongman contest.
Buddy Hill from Tyler Texas is a 35 year old 275 pound athlete.  He looks strong and is in his second year of strongman.
Keith Jones also from Tyler is a superheavy who looks as imposing as anybody I have ever seen.  This guy is in his first strongman contest, but has obviously lifted a lot of weight before.
Joshua Kosarek from Kingsberry Texas is competing in his first strongman.  This at the young age of 50.
Dwayne “Bubba” Melton from Mckenzie Tennessee was great.  He is a friendly, deeply committed young man.  He is also the state chairman for NASS in Tennessee.
Duane Hamman from Fort Worth reminded many of another Hamman from Oklahoma,  Nobody confirmed if they were related or not, but he is one strong young man.  
Shane Musselwhite from Kemp Texas entered his first contest and is only 15.  
Joe Musselwhite is the father of Shane and did pretty well.
Mike Ray, a 34 year old firefighter from Tennessee, is also in his first year of competition.
Donovan Rascon from Waxahachie Texas was looking real strong.  He is in his second year of competition.
Robby Brown was in his first meet.  He is from Blue Ridge Texas and will do well.
Michael Coon from Fort Worth Texas is a 29 year old veteran of powerlifting and Highland games.
Of this bunch 8 were in their first strongman competition.  That says a lot about the sport and the people in it.

The first event was the fire engine pull.  This was done on a wet concrete pavement in a light mist.  The engine loaned by the Euless Fire Department weighs about 40,000 pounds and was neat just to have there.  What red-blooded mail has not dreamed of being on fire engine when we were young.  The pull was accomplished by being harnessed to a chain on the engine, then pulling on a rope tethered to a “hummer” at the other end.  The engine had to be pulled the distance of 50 feet.  Every one of the 16 athletes there made the pull.  Even the ones in their first competition made it.  Best time in this event was Duane Hammon, followed by Sam Clarkson and Buddy Hill.

The next event was a dumbell clean and press.  Sounds easy, it was not.  First the dumbell handles were specially made for this and weighed 25 lbs.  Next they were thick bar, 2 inches in diameter.  I cleaned them with no weight and realized this would be something to see.  Many started out with only 50 lbs in each hand and got the feel.   Each athlete had 3 attempts.  Heaviest lift in this was a tie between Buddy Hill and Keith Jones hoisting 110 lbs then Sam Clarkson with 105 lbs.  This event would signal the end for most, but not these guys. 

Next on the agenda was the “hummer” pull.  This involved moving a hummvie vehicle a distance of 40 feet.  A few wrinkles were thrown in.  The vehicle was on grass, the rope used was 2 inches in diameter, and thanks to the earlier rain, it made it’s own rut.  Many actually got this hummer to move back and forth, but in the end only 2 made legal pulls.  Buddy Hill the 275 lb athlete of the year for 1999 in the NASS won the event pulling it 5 feet 11 inches.  Keith Jones out of Tyler Texas moved it just over 5 feet.  Jones looks like he was carved out of a mountain and does well at all strength sports.

This event taxed everyone so much they declared a 30 minute rest before the next event.  

This was the tire toss.  This tire weighs about 40 lbs and technique was as important as strength.  Each competitor was given 2 throws.  The winner of this was Bubba Melton out of Tennessee.  Steve Rowley had the second longest throw, but showed what is good in sport.  He coached many of the other athletes on how to do this properly during the break.  How and why things are done with the body to throw your best.   He is a fine young man and it was a real pleasure to see how he carried himself.  Look for big things from him in the future.  He threw the thing almost 29 feet.

Next was the stone loading.  Thanks to the Baskins we had 5 McGlashen Stones weighing 160, 190, 210, 230, and 260 lbs.  The object was to load as many of them onto fitted barrels in the fastest time.  Now many of the smaller competitors did 2 or 3 of them.  Donovan Rascon became the first to do 4 stones.  Then Steve Rowley again, who also showed new guys how to do it, became the first to do 5.  Then the next to do 5 was Buddy Hill.  Then Bubba Melton became the last one to do all 5.    When all said and done that was the order of finish.  Rowley did it again with a time of just over 35 seconds.  This was 4 seconds faster than the second place athlete.  This kid is amazing.

Brady Baskin was the outstanding one of this though.  He put on a demo of how to do the lift, then helped remove the stones after each competitor.  Then after the event he did a timed demo.  He only did 4 of the stones, how he had energy to do anymore is beyond me.  

Final event of the day was the Farmers Carry.  This was a race where you ran from point a, to point b, then back to point a, finishing at point b.  Only this was done carrying weights.  You start with a piece of railroad track with a handle in each hand.  Each rail weighs 101 lbs.  Then after running 50 feet you drop them and pick up 2 empty gas bottles, they weighed 130 lbs each.  Then after that 50 yards you drop them and pick up 2 more that weighed 160 lbs each.  These were heavy enough just lifting them to get them ready for the athletes.  Trying to run with them was out of the question.  Everybody successfully completed the course.  Winner was again Steve Rowley, followed by Keith Jones and 3rd went to Sam Clarkson.   What was gutsy about this was Keith Jones even doing it.  In the stone loading he injured a bicep and only got 3 of the stones.  He looked to be setting a good time too.  

We wish this giant well and expect to see him real soon.

Overall went to Buddy Hill of the heavyweights.  He is the 1999 Athlete of the Year in NASS and is really strong looking.  All of the athletes did well, and watching them in the future will be a real treat.