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2014-07-26 at 16:54

City of strength

By Matt Vis,
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THUNDER BAY -- Luke Skaarup has no doubts this city is the strongest in all of Canada.

The two-time winner of Ontario’s Strongest Man is the only champion in the history of Thunder Bay’s Strongest Man, which was held for the fourth time on Saturday in the parking lot outside the Wayland Hotel.

Growing the sport is a primary focus for the 34-year-old as he continues his career.

“It’s great to get a win in your hometown and show people what the sport of strong man is all about,” he said. “Having someone like myself who has been to the worlds, North American championships, provincial championships helps to build the prestige of the event and get the word out.”

Skaarup got off to a flying start, as he and fellow competitor Ben Thompson set an Ontario record, tying at 230 pounds in the circus dumbbell press.

Other events included flipping tires weighing between 750 to 1,100 pounds, lifting a 1,300 pound stock car and a medley of other strength disciplines.

His success and reaching prestigious events drives other locals, like Thompson, to reach the next level in their strongman careers.

The popularity of strength sports is on the rise in Thunder Bay, as seen by participation in the Thunder Bay’s Strongest Man competition.

Organizer Kateri Skaarup said the inaugural event had only six competitors, but increasing numbers have resulted in the creation of a new weight category for this year.

It is also quickly becoming a spectator sport, as hundreds of people converged on the Westfort area event.

The concept of strongman competitions fit well with the fabric of the city.

“Thunder Bay is a tough, blue-collar town and this sort of event fits in perfectly,” Skaarup said.

Money raised from the event will be donated to Camp Quality.

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We've improved our comment system.
patti says:
Just think if it were to be held in any other venue other than a parking lot ??? Boulevard Lake, Marina Park ???

Not too sure of the logistics involved ~~ just throwing it out there ...........
7/26/2014 5:51:20 PM
fastball says:
Should the old FW Gardens ever get "re-purposed" - that would be a perfect venue for stuff like this.
7/27/2014 9:56:12 AM
BuddhaMum says:
As it stated in the article, the event is growing with the first year seeing only six participants. This is a FREE family event so to movie it to a place that charges a fee - like the Gardens - may not allow this event to remain free. Moving it to a place in Port Arthur, which already sees so many summer events, could take business away from FW. The Wayland is doing a great job with this event and, if numbers continue to rise (participants and spectators) then they will very likely have to move it out of the parking lot and to another outdoor space. Perhaps the grounds of Delaney Arena?
For now, keep up the GREAT work Wayland! I can't wait for next year!!!
7/28/2014 8:46:22 AM
watchful says:
This is the Perfect place, it is great for families and brings people to the south side. Keep up the great job Paulucci and staff
7/26/2014 11:00:10 PM
spooner19 says:
I think if you want to grow the sport, first thing would be to move it from the parking lot of a local bar.
7/27/2014 10:55:45 AM
Cm Punk says:
Look at the Festa Italiana, held in a parking lot for almost 25 years.
Same old, same old.
According to Benny M, over 20 000 people attend the two day event.

I like the fact that the city is getting into more and more unique events like Strongest Man and Buskers. Perhaps they can hire Firedog for some PR and get them more popular.

I and many I know feel they should also bring back the Fringe Festival and Harbourfest.
7/27/2014 3:31:52 PM
sunnyside says:
My son was one of the heavy weights that set a record on Saturday. He has been putting on bench press competitions since he was in high school. A) to challenge other weight lifters, and B) to donate funds to cancer society,George Jefferies Centre, benefit for a young family with a one year old with cancer, etc.
The biggest problem is to get a venue. The Westfort hotel provides a site. The childrens attractions are set up outside so there is no problem.
Years ago Intercity mall required an insurance coverage that amounted to 500 dollars for the day. Ontario strongman held at the cle is in the 1000 dollar mark per day as rent. So this takes a big chunk of revenue which would go to Big Brothers/Sisters.
And,organization is done by the weight lifting family. Volunteers from each weight lifting family are the ones that are trying to contribute to the community.

7/28/2014 2:24:37 PM
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