[captionpix imgsrc="http://netnewsledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/560883_10152008285490160_941563758_n.jpg" captiontext="left to right Dan Skaarup 1st place under 200lbs, Luke Skaarup 1st place over 200lbs, Kyle Rayner 2nd place over 200lbs, Ben Thompson 3rd place over 200lbs" width="620" height="430"]
THUNDER BAY – Sports – Last Saturday Thunder Bay was witness to an incredible display of strength, determination, showmanship and character. A crowd of close to 300 people gathered in the parking lot of Paulucci’s Wayland Bar & Grill as the sound of music and the smell of food filled the air. Anticipation and excitment started to build as the men suited up and prepared for the battle that was about to begin and answer the question; Who Is Thunder Bay’s Strongest Man?
Eleven athletes, two weight classes, and five events- best overall wins. The crowd screamed and cheered as they watched these men run with kegs, flip 800lb tires, and lift a Kia Soul. The competition was tight as two of Ontario’s best pushed and pulled in the over 200lb category- Luke Skaarup, TBSM 2011 winner who recently won Ontario’s Strongest Man, and Kyle Rayner who placed 2nd at the OSM, returned home for what was called the Hometown Showdown.
Rayner took the Viking Press with 18 reps while Skaarup dominated the Kia Soul Deadlift with 16- the last rep he actually had the Wayland Owner, Gary Paulucci, hop in for a ride which added an extra 260lbs to the cars weight!
At the end of the day Luke Skaarup proved he really is Thunder Bay’s Strongest Man- with Kyle Rayner in 2nd place and Ben Thompson 3rd in the Over 200lb category. Both Skaarup and Rayner will be heading out to compete at Canada’s Strongest Man later on this month- watch for it on TSN.
[captionpix imgsrc="http://netnewsledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/306308_10151996245040492_726078041_n.jpg" captiontext="Ontario's Strongest Men Luke Skaarup and Kyle Rayner- both will be competing at Canada's Strongest Man in a few short weeks" width="620" height="410"]
Dan Skaarup, Lukes younger brother, also won for his category (Under 200lbs) being the only lightweight to lift the Kia Soul and doing so for 4 reps with 18 year old Jeffrey Nason taking 2nd and Matt Canning placing 3rd. Excellent Judging done by Kaitlyn Pavlick- one of Thunder Bay’s Strongest Women; she holds multiple records for powerlifting both provincial and national.
“When you have an older brother like Luke, you have to be tough, I’m used to competing with him- makes everything else seem a little easier.” Dan Skaarup said after the competition.
It turned into a family affair for the Skaarups, with the Event Co-Ordinator being Kateri Skaarup (Dan’s wife) and the score keeper, Nicolette Skaarup (Lukes wife).
Nicolette has scored multiple sanctioned events, she knows the rules and she understands exactly what’s happening, the men have a tremendous amount of respect for her and trust that she will be unbiased in scoring. Kateri Skaarup (co-ordinator) has competed and assisted in multiple power lifting competitions for close to seven years, has placed top two in every competition, and last year she took 1st place at the Motors & Muscles Push Pull by lifting 250lbs. She knows what works and what doesn’t and she uses input from the competitors and spectators to design a fair and exciting event.
“We love the competition- its crazy, it’s friendly and it’s a lot of fun! We’re all friends here and we’re all pulling for everyone to do their best. It’s rare in sports to cheer on the person that’s competeting against you but in power lifting and Strongman you do” said Kateri Skaarup “And the crowd, especially the children, Love It!”
[captionpix imgsrc="http://netnewsledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/599254_338395989580979_1530340207_n.jpg" captiontext="Strongkid competition with Event Co-ordinator Kateri Skaarup and Wayland Owner Gary Paulucci in background" width="620" height="827"]
This year they had close to 30 children sign up for the Strongkid, ages 3-17; every child that entered recieved prizes with the top taking home medals and trophies. Also the first Strongwoman competition was held with Melissa Harasym taking 1st place in that.
“All around it was an amazing day and I’m already planning and looking forward to our 2013 show.” stated Kateri after the event.
Local Thunder Bay Strongmen that made it to Ontario’s Strongman Challenge this year are Dallas Hogan, Rob Gordon, Eric Brady
A huge Thank You is also being sent out to Gary Paulucci and the staff of Paulucci’s Wayland Bar & Grill. “It’s the most action Westfort has seen, other than the annual street fair, in years.” said one spectator. “The Wayland and Thunder Bay’s Strongest Man provided a lively, fun and safe environment to bring the family out to and it didn’t cost a fortune.” said another.
The food and entertainment were fantastic with many children exclaiming “Paulucci’s has the best fries!” Many at the event were shouting and ringing cowbells, becoming fully involved in the battle being fought in front of them.
The day also included an Arm Wrestling Tournament indoors with John Osieki winning the 0-175 class, Dennis Lavoie winning 176-210 right and left open, Dwayne Losier, previous World competitor, coming out of retirement to conquere the 211+ and Shawna Wilson taking the Womens open.
Miss Westfort took place at midnight with Georgia House sending the crowd wild and claiming the Title and the $500 prize package from Hair Infinity.
For more local Strongman action you can check out Motors & Muscles August 25 2012 starting at 1pm in the OLG Casino parking lot. For info on the event please see the Facebook event page or contact Dallas Hogan (Muscles organizer).