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'Strongman' to flex muscles in Tempe

 by Katie Ruark  published on Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Acme Roadhouse is about to flex its muscles.

An Arizona Strongman competition, "Strongest in the Desert," will be held March 26 at 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Acme Roadhouse, 855 S. Rural Road.

This will be the first annual Strongman competition in the Phoenix area.

"I'm wanting to do a second, and the second is always better," Jennings said. "This the first, so we'll see what it does and build on it."

Strongman competitions are popular in Europe and more popular in the eastern and midwestern United States, but it is growing in the West, said Rich Blyn, who promotes the event with his wife Liane.

"Arizona is a very fit-oriented state," event coordinator Liane Blyn said. "Strongman is up and coming, and people like to see crazy things."

Contestants must be amateur members of the North American Strongman Society. They will compete in five events:

1. The Log Clean and Press: Contestants will lift a rounded weight over their head.

2. The Farmer's Walk: Contestants will walk carrying two large canisters.

3. The Keg Load and Tire Flip Medley: Contestants will carry kegs to a platform and lift a 700-pound tire.

4. The Dead Lift: Contestants will use an apparatus to lift a cage full of ASU cheerleaders.

5. The Atlas Stones: Contestants will lift big stones onto boxes.

Acme will have a full bar and food for spectators. A disc jockey will play music.

Acme was chosen because it is close to ASU and has the size needed for an outdoor event, Rich Blyn said.

"It has a good atmosphere for spectators," he added.

Acme will have $3 Monster Molsons, $5 Molson pitchers and ASU students and staff will get a 25 percent discount on food.

"It's an all-day event," said Acme General Manager Jeff Jennings. "You can get your car washed by the ASU cheerleaders from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and live music 9 p.m. to close."

Admission is free, but Liane Blyn suggests arriving at the event by 1:30 p.m. She said a cover might be charged if the crowd gets big enough.

"We're expecting 300 to 500 spectators, hopefully more," she said.

This is a gold level strongman society event, which means it is a state or regional competition, and winners could receive an invitation to the championships.

Two professional Strongman contestants will be in attendance to announce for the event and demonstrate some skills.

Some of the 12 contestants are locals, but others are traveling from Washington and California. None of the contestants are ASU students.

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