QUEBEC CITY – Sports – Thunder Bay strongman Luke Skaarup states, “I came up a whisker short at the Ontario’s Strongest Man competition held in Thunder Bay this past June and was 1.5 points away from going back to Canada’s Strongest Man (CSM) for a 3rd time just behind Ben Ruckstuhl, Kyle Rayner and Maxime Boudreault”.
“I had a good performance but had a few things didn’t go my way, that happens in sports and I chalked it up to fate and moved forward as I always do”.
That meant that the classy athlete was not one of the competitors for the Ontario’s Strongest Man this year. Or at least he was not scheduled for the competition.
However, Kyle Rayner had to back out due to injury and the 2nd Ontario spot went next to Max Boudrreault.
“Well, Friday morning of this week, I received a text from Max stating that he could not compete at CSM because of a family emergency,” shares Skaarup.
“I checked the flight schedules, called Hugo Girard and booked my flights to Quebec City the same day. I arrived about 30 minutes late for the athlete’s dinner but was in plenty enough time to compete. Fate was on my side. As Kyle was training for CSM and he is my training partner, I was doing some of the events to help him prepare”.
“I had just competed in Saskatoon six days before but did not want to pass up this chance to compete at nationals again,” shares Luke.
Here is an overview of the Canada’s Strongest Man
Event # 1- Seated Transport Truck pull. Pull a 24,000lbs truck up-hill for 80 feet
“This is my worst event,” commented Skaarup, “And the course was looking difficult, several good pullers went and managed just over 40ft. I started pulling and it seamed easy at first and quickly became impossible, I kept inching the truck forward for a poor result of 42′-1″ and 11th place”.
None of the athletes finished the course with former 2x CSM Champ Christian Savoie coming the closest with 75ft.
Top 3 were 1) Christian Savoie (QC), 2) Jean-Francios Carons (QC), 3) Jon Wade (MB)
Event # 2 Wheelbarrow for Maximum weight (1500, 1850, 2000, 2110, 2200lbs) for 20 feet
“Having another grip event so soon after the truckpull had an affect on all competitors.
“This wheelbarrow is tough and every second feels like your hands are ripping apart. I did the 1500 and 1850 weights easily and then finished the 2000lbs with only one drop for a new personal best. I made some good progress with 8 ft on the 2110lbs for 5th place”.
Christian Savoie (world record holder in the wheelbarrow) won and finished the whole 20ft course with 2200lbs.
Top 3 were: 1) Christian Savoie, 2) Simon Boudreau (QC), 3) Jon Wade (MB).
Event 3- Log press with 300lbs for reps
The athlete must lift the log from the ground to overhead with each rep.
Ben Ruckstuhl of Trenton Ontario set the pace with 5 reps and current 2x Canada’s Strongest Man JF Caron managed 4 reps before Skaarup.
“I did the first two effortlessly, pressed out two more and just missed the fifth. Chrstian Savoie followed later and matched my four reps for 2nd place. The course was difficult and several of the athletes failed to registed a single repetition”.
Top 3 were: 1) Ben Ruckstuhl (ON)- 5 reps, 2) Luke Skaarup (ON), Chrstian Savoie (QC), JF Caron (QC) all with 4 reps.
Event # 4- Atlas stones
The athlete must load five slippery stones to 56″ rings ranging from 275lbs to 385lbs.
“As always, many of the athletes struggled with the course. Before I went Mike Saunders (QC) had the lead with 4 stones in 46s. I did the first one easily and then had trouble picking up the slippery second stone, I finally did it and loaded the third easily and missed the fourth stone. I finished with 3 stones in 42 seconds for 8th place”.
JF Caron flew through the course finished all five stones in 34 seconds followed by Ben Ruckstuhl with four in 23 seconds and Christian Savoie with four in 25 seconds.
“After the first day, this put me in a tie for 7th place but only 4 points out of 4th spot. My plan was simple, to move up in the standings!” comments Skaarup.
Event # 5- Hercules Hold
The athlete holds the weight of a car in each hand with the cars being on ramps (approx. 375lbs per hand).
“Before I went Jon Wade put up a really solid time of 29 seconds, Simon Bodreau better that with a time of 41 seconds. I was up and I took the strain and squeezed my hands as hard as possible, with the thought of denting the steel handles, I held on for 22 seconds, and a new personal best on this event but only good enough for 8th place”.
Christian Savoie managed 31 seconds for 2nd place.
Top 3 were: 1) Simon Boudreau (QC), 2) Christian Savoie (QC), 3) Jon Wade (MB).
Event 6- Train wheel carry
In this event it is a pick up from the ground and carry a 340lbs train wheel for 80 feet, drop it and carry a 410lbs train wheel for maximum distance.
“I was up early and the top distance was around 168ft from Alex Wallace (PEI), I picked up the first train whell and quickly finished the 80 feet, put it down and picked up the 410 beast, I was making fast time and then started to feel my legs and back begin to shutdown”.
“I managed 221 feet which was good enough for 5th place,” stated Skarrup.
The top 3 were 1) Hanton Landry (QC)- 320ft, JF Caron (QC)- 262ft, Simon Boudreau (QC)- 244ft.
Event 7- Crucifix Hold
The athletes hold a 30lbs hammer in each hand with arms straight out in crucifix position for max time. This is always a tough event to judge and one that often sees the less physically strong athletes do well.
“Alex Wallace (PEI) put up a really good time of 45 second before I went and many athletes were having difficulty with the postitioning. I started with my arms straight out and held the position still and steady, at 40 seconds I began shaking but held on for a litle longer for a great time of 49 seconds and a 2nd place finish”.
“My time was bettered by the current Canada’s Strongest Man with a time of 51 seconds”, shares Skaarup.
Top 3 were 1) JF Caron, 2) Luke Skaarup (ON), 3 Allex Wallace (PEI).
Event # 8- Medley- flip
The is an event with a 955lbs tire being flipped nine times over 80 feet, and then drag a 700lbs marine chain for 80 feet.
Skaarup says, “This was nothing short of the nastiest medley ever put together, the tire and chain alone are gruelling. Most competitors did several flips of the tire and failed to reach the chain”.
“Before I went Mike Saunders was in the lead witha total distance of 115 ft (80ft tire, 35ft chain). I needed to beat Mike or to place close behind him to secure 6th spot, 3rd through 5th were a little too far out of my reach. I had never finished this tire flip but I knew I had to to place well. I finished the tire quickly and moved on to the drag…I dragged the chain for 25ft and a total of 105ft for 5th place overall”.
The final race was very close between JF Caron and Christian Savoie but in the end it was JF Caron who inched ahead of Christian with a total of nearly 125ft each.
Top 3 were: 1) JF Caron, 2) Chrisitan Savoie, 3) Mike Saunders.
“Placing 6th in Canada for 2 years in a row was a great feat and something that I’m extremely proud of. With Ben Ruckstuhl’s 3rd place finish and my 6th, this is the best that Ontario has done at CSM in more than a decade”
Skaarup says, “Next up for me is Hugo Girard’s North America’s Strongest Man in Gatineau”.