Even in a world where unique sporting events have become the norm rather than the exception, strongman competitions stand out.
Requiring competitors to flip tires, haul vehicles and partake in numerous other challenging activities, the competitions push even the strongest individuals to their limits.
In no way intimidated by such physical and mental strains, 17 competitors arrived in Towaoc on July 12 for the fourth annual Ute Mountain Strongman Competition.
Matching themselves against some of the Four Corner’s strongest individuals, participants battled heat and fatigue, competing in five events over the course of two hours.
By the time all was said and done, two individuals had captured individual titles, and numerous others performed well.
Leading the way in the men’s division was Arizona resident Kenji McCoo, whose ability to efficiently flip a 320-pound tractor tire, carry two 155-pound weights, deadlifting 405-pounds numerous times, pulling a 6,500-pound Hummer and stacking five 150-pound kegs helped him finish first overall.
“I’m a competitive power-lifter and I work in the mines,” said McCoo after the competition. “That all prepares me for this.”
Capturing top-honors in the female division for the second consecutive year was Dolores resident Alix Skala, whose ability to drag a 4500-pound Jeep 22 feet, eight inches, was impressive.
“(The competition) went really well,” said Skala, who trains five-days per week at Para Bellum Fitness in Cortez. “I performed a little better than I thought I would and I had some great competition.”
Discussing the strength of the competition, event organizer Rob Robson explained that every year, the Ute Mountain Strongman attracts some of the area’s strongest men and women.
“It’s a community event,” said Robson, a bodybuilder and power-lifter. “I try to have it out here on the reservation to encourage people to get off their seats.”
One individual that was thankful for the opportunity to get outside the house was Austin Lansing, who finished first in the “Hummer Pull” event, dragging a 6,500-pound vehicle 12 feet, six inches.
Discussing what he enjoys about the Ute Mountain Strongman, Lansing mentioned the event’s community atmosphere.
“(The crowd) helps you out a lot and really motivates you,” said Lansing. “I enjoy the (Ute Mountain Strongman). It’s a lot better than basketball tournaments.”
An entertaining event to say the least, the Ute Mountain Strongman Competition promises to thrill in years to come.