AUGUSTA — Brian Beaupain is a marked man. He knows it, and he embraces it.
“I guess I’m the guy to beat,” said Beaupain, 27, of Waterville. “That’s OK. I’m feeling pretty good.”
The question, of course, is will he feel the same after the sixth annual Central Maine Strongman competition Saturday at the Augusta Armory?
The competition, which begins at 9:30 a.m., will feature five events, including a descending deadlift, an over-the-head press medley, yoke walk, Conan’s wheel and the series stones.
The Strongman will also feature 44 competitors — most in its history, according to organizer Dana Geneseo — from five weight classes.
“We’re getting more well-known now,” Geneseo said. “We’ll also have 16 or 17 women in it, too. That’s pretty impressive. It’s growing a lot, even in this past year. This will be our biggest turnout.”
Geneseo, who normally competes in the heavyweight division, will miss the event because of an injury. He will have surgery next week to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
“I’m on the disabled list,” he said. “The competitive juices are flowing. I didn’t realize how much I’d miss it.”
The event raises money for the Augusta Little League. Last year Geneseo raised more than $1,700.
Beaupain is the two-time defending champ in the 176- to 200-pound division.
“I train all the time but I’ve been focusing on this for three months,” Beaupain said. “I’m ready.”
There are some changes to the Strongman this season.
Most notably, Geneseo tweaked the deadlift event. In past years competitors would lift from about 17 inches off the ground. Now, after completing the first lift, the bar will be dropped 1.5 inches until, eventually, it is on the ground.
“It’s kind of a new event,” Geneseo said. “It’s actually an alteration of another event we’ve done. As the bar gets lower and lower, you can become more tired. It will be an exciting event, an entertaining one to watch.”
It certainly won’t be easy, Beaupain said.
“The deadlift is not one of my strong events,” he said. “I’m going to have my work cut out for me in that.”
The beginning weight for competitors in the 176- to 200-pound weight class is set at 500 pounds.
“This will be the biggest challenge,” Beaupain said. “A lot of the competitors in my class deadlift better than I do. It’s going to be tough. But this is a pretty fun event. I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile. We’ll see how it goes.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640