Thunder Bay Luke Skaarup Ontario’s Strongest Man

Thunder Bay hosted the Ontario Strongman Championships over the weekend.
Thunder Bay hosted the Ontario Strongman Championships over the weekend.

Second Year in a Row for Luke

THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – For the second year in a row, Luke Skaarup is Ontario’s strongest man.

The Ontario’s Strongest Man competition wrapped up in Thunder Bay over the weekend and local Thunder Bay man, Luke Skaarup, came out on top with his 2nd Ontario’s Strongest Man title. The event took place at the CLE Coliseum in Thunder Bay on June 21 & 22nd with all proceeds raised donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay hosted the Ontario Strongman Championships over the weekend.
Thunder Bay hosted the Ontario Strongman Championships over the weekend.

In total, over $4000 was raised to support the local programs and initiatives offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters to local Thunder Bay youth. The event featured demonstrations by Dynamite Cheer All-Stars, Defense Labs, face painting, and other activities for children in addition to the strongman competition.

Fifteen giant men from across Ontario made their way to compete in this national qualifier with athletes coming from Renfrew, Kitchener, Trenton, Kapuskasing, Thunder Bay…etc. The athletes competed in nine unique tests of strength to determine who the strongest man in Ontario is for 2014. The top three athletes were: Luke Skaarup (Thunder Bay), Ben Ruckstuhl (Trenton), and Paul Vaillancourt (Renfrew) with Karl Hjelholt (Hamilton) winning the under 105kg Ontario’s Strongest Man crown. By placing first and second, Luke and Ben have qualified for the Canada’s Strongest Man competition in Quebec City, taking place in mid August and airing on TSN in October. More information on each of the nine events is below.

Day 1- Five events
1st event- Famer’s Walk. The athletes had to carry 350lbs in each hand over a 100ft course for the fastest possible time. Eric Rautenburg (Kitchener) got the win with a time of 15.4s followed by Max Boudrealt (Kapuskasing) with 16.3s and Paul Vaillancourt (Renfrew) with 16.4s to complete the course.

2nd event- Viking Press. The athletes had to press 430lbs overhead as many times as they could within a minute. Training partners Ben Ruckstuhl and Joe deWitt from Trenton, Ontario shared first place with 10 repetitions of the Viking press followed by Luke Skaarup and Kyle Rayner of Thunder Bay with 9 reps who tied for third place.

3rd event- The George Contracting Group- Maximum Deadlift event from 18”. In this event, the athletes were trying to lift the maximum weight on a bar from below the knee to waist level. Luke Skaarup came out on top with a Ontario record lift of 1150lbs; finishing just shy of the World Record held by Canadian Strongman legend Tom Magee of 1180lbs. Tying for 2nd place were Ben Thompson (Thunder Bay) and Paul Vaillancourt who each lifted 1100lbs successfully. Prior to the event, Ben Thompson had challenged Luke Skaarup in a retirement match, in that if Luke lost the event he would retire from the sport of strongman and that if Ben lost he would only complete deadlifts from the floor in training. In the end, Ben followed through and will only complete deadlifts in training from standard height.

4th event- Carry and Drag Medley. The athletes had to carry a 240lbs keg and 250lbs sandbag for 50ft, load into a cube van, and then drag the 18,000lbs cube van backwards for 50ft for the fastest time. It was Luke Skaarup in first with a time of 41.0s, followed by Eric Rautenburg with 42.6s, and Paul Vaillancourt with 42.7s.

5th event- Tire flip. The athletes had to flip a 750, 950 and 1100lbs tires three times each in the fastest time for 9 total flips of the tires. Max Boudreault finished the course in 37.3s, followed by Paul Vaillancourt with 44.9s and Eric Rauntenburg with 45.5s.

Day 2- Four events
6th Event- the Taranis Contracting Group Truck Pull. The athletes had to pull a 36,000lbs dump truck over an 80ft course for the fastest possible time. Eric Rauntenburg was first with a time of 40.2s followed by Ben Ruckstuhl and Maxime Boudrault with times of 41.5s and 43.6s respectively.

7th event- Press Medley. The athletes had one minute to lift five objects overhead as fast as possible. The objects included a 340lbs log, a 320lbs axel, a 250lbs steel block, a 240lbs keg, and a 180lbs circus dumbbell. Max Boudreault was first with four objects in 35.5s, followed by Luke Skaarup with four objects in 43.3s and third was Ben Ruckstuhl with three objects in 21.3s.

8th event- The Dominion Motors Car Squat. The athletes had to lift a Buick Verano in a squat lift as many times as they could for a full squat, the weight was approximately 700lbs. This event was very difficult and many of the athletes were not able to successfully complete a lift. It was Luke Skaarup taking his third event win with 5 repetitions, followed by Paul Vaillancourt and Joe deWitt who both managed 4 powerful reps with the car.

9th event- Field Stones. The athletes had one minute to load five stones from 230lbs to 450lbs onto a 48” platform as fast as they could. Paul Vaillancourt proved to be the master of the stones and loaded all five stones in 39.6s. In second was Ben Ruckstuhl with 4 stones in 14.6s and Max Boudreault in 3rd with 4 stones loaded in 16.2s.

Final Standings.
1. Luke Skaarup- 92 pts
2. Ben Ruckstuhl- 86
3. Paul Vaillancourt- 85
4. Max Boudreault- 84
5. Eric Rautenburg- 75
6. Joe deWitt- 75
7. Ben Thompson- 53
8. Karl Hjelholt- 42
9. Eric Brady- 37
10. Jared Wick- 35
11. Rob Gordon- 25
12. Eddie Warne- 16