Amateur Strongman meant to feel like Pro Strongman, that’s been the goal of this competitionsince it started last year at the California Mid State Fair. Since its inauguration in 2017 the event has brought a feel unlike any other. Up on stage in front of a huge crowd with celebrityappearances and top notch announcers, it’s hard to find an amateur show like it and this yearwas bigger and better than ever.
Not only did athletes have the honor of having the current 4th strongest man in the world Martins Licis judging, they also had former World Strongest Woman contender and AmericanGladiator “Helga” Robin Coleman. The announcer was one of the best in the business, JonEccles, who is known as the loud booming voice at many Odd Haugen shows as well as one of the commentators at the Strongman Corporation National Championships. To top it off, the Strongest Man Who Ever Lived, Bill Kazmaier, was on hand to help announce as well and meet with the athletes. This combined with a rare evening competition that ended with Atlas Stones under the lights provided a unique experience for competitors that none will forget soon.
The competition started with a Strongman Classic, the Log Clean and Press for Reps! This event was “press away” so truly relied on athletes upper body strength to show who was the strongest presser.
In the lightweight women’s division Deanna Flores of Fontana California jumped out to an early lead completing 13 reps with the 115 lb log, narrowly edging out Brandy French of Lompoc, CA and Gabby Guaiumi of Petaluma, CA who each had 12.
In the middleweight women’s division Ghitta Larsen came out and made a statement with 14 reps on the 130 lb log to take first place while Nadia Solis gave her a run for her money hitting 13 reps.
In the heavyweight women’s division there was another tight race as Lindsay Hall of Sacramento, CA started the show off with 10 reps to beat out Francisca Aguilar of Fontana.
The lightweight men’s division had a similar start as Jared Miller completed 8 reps on the 190 lb log giving him a slight edge over Romark Weiss.
The middleweight and heavyweight men’s divisions were a different story. Eric King started out with a commanding lead completing 12 reps with the 240 lb log while all other competitors zeroed except for Nick Biebel completing 1 rep. Dylan Bartz easily took the heavyweight division completing 7 reps while Josh Bonsworth came in second with 3 reps.
The second event of the evening was a crowd favorite, the car deadlift. Each women’s divisionhad to lift a Kawasaki work cart with increasing weight while the lightweight and middleweight men lifted a Honda Civic and the heavyweight men lifted a Toyota Tacoma.
Deanna Flores maintained her commanding lead completing 23 reps in the lightweight women’sdivision with Kat Villarreal starting to make her comeback completing 19 reps.
Things started to get shaken up in the middleweight women’s division with Nadia Soliscompleting 22 reps just ahead of Mirian Fernandez with 20.
In the heavyweight women’s division leaders flipped places with Francisca Aguilar completing 16 reps and Lindsay Hall completing 14 landing them in a tie after 2 events.
The race in the lightweight men’s division grew even closer together with Jared Miller maintaining his lead completing 13 reps, Romark Weiss steadily holding onto second place with 11 reps, and the youngster, 19 year old Jacob Cagliero completing 10 reps.
The middleweight men’s division started to get an even larger gap as Eric King completed 13 reps with only 1 other competitor, Andrew Mendez, completing 4 reps.
In the heavyweight men’s division Dylan Bartz maintained his lead with 13 reps narrowly beating Josh Bonsworth who had 12 reps. This was just a sign of things to come as these 2 would be neck and neck all day.
The third event was one designed to destroy most strongman competitors, a 3 object medley starting with a keg and sandbag then ending with a max distance Husafell Stone Carry.
A pattern was starting to emerge in the lightweight women’s division as Deanna Flores continued her dominance winning the 3rd event in a row carrying the 150 lb Husafell Stone 224 feet with Kat Villarreal right behind her going a distance of 196 feet.
In the middleweight women’s division Jane Battenfeld secured her first event win of the day carrying the stone 145 feet just ahead of Nadia Solis going 128 feet.
Lindsay Hall got her second event win in the heavyweight women’s division carrying the stone 51 feet with Clinay Cameron going 32 feet for second place.
Things started to get shaken up in the lightweight men’s division with local competitor, Jacob Cagliero going 164 feet to secure his first event win of the day just 4 feet further than current leader Jared Miller.
Nick Biebel got his first event win going a distance of 164 feet to beat current leader Eric King who went 148.
The heavyweight men’s division saw a new winner as Morgan Hill got his first event win going adistance of 96 feet to beat Josh Bonsworth who went 83.
The keg toss, a strongman classic, was the 4th event of the day and saw competitors throwing a variety of objects ranging from Thor hammers to sandbags to kegs.
Gabby Guaiumi won the lightweight women’s class getting all 5 objects over the bar to beat thecurrent leader Deanna Flores by 7 seconds.
Ghitta Larsen started to make her comeback in the middleweight division getting all 5 objects in a blazing time of 20 seconds to beat Mirian Fernandez who took 29 seconds to complete all 5.
The heavyweight women’s division was a tight competition with Lindsay Hall taking the win beating out Amra Dempsey and Heather Webster by 1 and 2 seconds.
Jared Miller and Romark Weiss were the only lightweight men to complete all 5 objects with times of 23 seconds and 32 seconds respectively.
Eric King continued his dominant performance in the middleweight men’s division beating Ben Rudy by a single second.
Josh Bonsworth continued his move up the charts tossing all 5 objects in a blazingly fast 17 seconds to beat Dylan Bartz at 20 seconds.
The final event, the one everyone was waiting for, the Atlas Stones! A head to head series just like World’s Strongest Man was quite the show under the lights in front of the roaring crowd.
In the lightweight women’s division Gabby Guaiumi won the stones completing 4 stones in 16 seconds while Brandy French did 4 stones in 22 seconds. However these Herculean efforts would not be enough to overcome the lead Deanna Flores took earlier in the day and she wouldbe the women’s lightweight division champion with Gabby Guaiumi in 2nd and Kat Villarreal in3rd.
Nadia Solis took home the win in the Atlas Stones and overall competition victory loading all 5 stones in 21 seconds to beat Jane Battenfeld who would end up taking 2nd overall with Ghitta Larsen taking 3rd overall.
In the heavyweight women’s division Amra Dempsey won the event completing 4 stones in 23 seconds to narrowly beat her training partner Heather Webster. These 2 ended up tied for second place and Amra was awarded 2nd by countback. Lindsay Hall was the champion of the division for the day taking home the big trophy.
Jared Miller took home the overall win in the lightweight men’s division loading all 5 stones in 26 seconds, his 4th event win of the day. Romark Weiss was 2nd overall and Jacob Cagliero 3rd.
Eric King continued his dominance with his 4th event win on the Atlas Stones to win the overall title for the middleweight men’s division. Nick Biebel and Ben Rudy tied on the Atlas Stone event landing them in 2nd and 3rd for the day.
The final stone series of the day was the most exciting of all with Josh Bonsworth and Dylan Bartz separated by only half a point going into the final event. Whoever won the stones would be crowned the California Mid State Fair Strongest Man. They were dead even through the first 3 stones but Josh Bonsworth was the only man capable of loading the 4th stone securing him the event win and overall victory. Dylan Bartz took home 2nd place honors and Morgan Hill ended up in 3rd.
Overall the event was a huge success in front of a big crowd that was screaming and cheeringall day long. We’d like to give special recognition to lightweight men’s competitor Erik Hakanson for his hard work effort competing all day long. Erik has had Cerebral Palsy his entire life and has overcame many obstacles to compete in strongman. He is an inspiration to all competitors that no matter what challenges life throws at you they can always be beat.
We look forward to next year’s show being bigger and better than ever!
If you’d like to stay in the loop about strongman events happening in the Central Coast ofCalifornia be sure to follow SLO Strong on social media.