No power outage at Strongman competition
The level of competition was upped at this year’s Ute Mountain Strongman Competition in Towaoc on Saturday.
Last year as a participant, I suffered from nagging back pain, aching shoulders, burning forearms and numb thighs.
Nearly 365 days later, I felt like I was still recovering from an intense workout that left me humbled, yet, feeling quite accomplished.
I just simply watched and observed this year’s contest. My body thanked me.
I watched bulky-sized men of different ages test their strength and determination to complete five events. I also watched women — yes women — conquer three events that most grown men wouldn’t be able to do.
I saw a mother of two dead lift 150 pounds an astonishing 37 times in a minute, leaving the audience and myself stunned silent in amazement.
The broad shouldered iron maiden with tree-trunk thighs is the lovely Collette Wyatt. She displayed her female prowess with ease winning the dead lift competition. Wyatt looked every bit as confident and powerful in the car pull and tire flip events. The crossfit-training, fitness enthusiast pulled a 4,400-pound Jeep eight and a half-feet to win the event. Wyatt came in second in the tire flip. All she did was flip a 200-pound tire 40-feet in 60 seconds. The Cortez mom made everything look pretty easy.
“We thought it would be something fun to do around here. We decided to come out and give it a try,” said Collette about competing along with her husband, Jared Wyatt. “Dead lift is my favorite. It’s the lift I’m always strong at when I do crossfit.”
The fitness-crazed Wyatt’s will be back for the next strongman competition.
“We’ll try it again next year. Definitely work on some different moves,” Collette Wyatt said.
Jared was very impressive on the men’s side and jockeyed for the top spot on the leader board. The tall, broad-in-stature Montezuma-Cortez High School assistant football coach led early, winning the 310-pound tire flip. He used his strong cardiovascular endurance to also win the demanding keg walk. He carried five kegs 40-feet to a flatbed trailer the fastest in 90 seconds.
But ultimately, this contest is called “strongman” for a reason. And, last year’s strongest man was back. Frank Jacobs returned from Tuba City, Ariz., to reclaim his spot on the Ute Mountain Strongman throne this year.
An even bigger, stronger Jacobs seemingly dwarfed the 2011 version of himself that won last year after nine weeks of intense strength training.
However, things didn’t start so smooth for the Tuba City titan.
“Man, I couldn’t get a grip on the tire. That really slowed me down,” said Jacobs, who came in third in the tire flip.
Nerves played a role in the defending champion’s early performance. His wife and kids were there cheering him on.
“There was a little more pressure on me this year. My sons were here. They really look up to me. They think I’m the incredible hulk,” Jacobs said. “I wasn’t about to lose a competition in front of them.”
A fitting nickname for the massive Frank Jacobs might be “The Tank,” but now would dare call him that? He picked up the 160-pound cemented cylinder weights like rolled up newspapers. He easily did the farmers walk 40-feet one way and back the fastest.
At 38 years young, Jacobs sat back and watched, as he was the last up in each event. Wyatt dead lifted 350 pounds 18 times. Jacobs knew what he had to do and matched the 18 dead lift repetitions. He calmly took a few breaths with the crowd cheering, lifted with his head up and straightened his back. The counter said “19.” Jacobs won the dead lift to take the overall points lead.
But Wyatt jumped back in front after winning the keg walk.
All that was left was the car pull. A 5,500-pound Hummer, an inclined parking lot, a rope and a harness.
Sounds fun. Right?
Jacobs out grimaced, out gnashed his teeth and had the most blood rush through his muscles than anyone to win the Hummer pull. OK. OK. That’s not how you win that particular event. But it perhaps takes the most effort, not too mention competitors are drained physically, mentally and emotionally by then.
Jacobs used every last bit of grit and determination to pull the Hummer 12 feet, four inches to win his second consecutive Ute Mountain Strongman Competition.
“Strength wise, I’m stronger than last year,” Jacobs said. “I gave it everything I had. My cardio really wasn’t there this year.”
Jacobs and Collette Wyatt each took home prize money, dinner for two at Kuchu’s Restaurant in Towaoc, and glass plaques.
The third annual Ute Mountain Strongman Competition will be next July with a couple added events. Throwing a 130-pound Atlas stone will be a new feature.
“We’re going to get some Atlas stones out here,” said organizer Rob Robson, who judged the competition. “I think we’re just going to do it annually every summer.”
With a hopefully cloudy mid-July sky again next year and the chance to throw a 130-pound rock? Count me in; I guess.
As one famous Austrian/American citizen said many times in that recognizable foreign accent...
I’ll be back.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at firstname.lastname@example.org.