AUGUSTA — It’s time to break out the chalk and weightlifting belts because central Maine’s strongest men — and women — are set to be crowned this weekend.
The seventh annual Central Maine Strongman is slated to take place today at the Augusta Armory, with men and women of varying experience levels and weight classes set to test their mettle against a myriad of physically grueling events.
“It should be a good show,” said organizer Dana Geneseo. “What you’re going to expect to see is the human body pushed to the strength limit in many different ways. The things and the weights people are moving the average person doesn’t think they can be moved. …Itâ€˜s really an awe-inspiring feat to watch.”
The Strongman will be broken down into eight different categories — men’s novice, teen, women’s novice, women’s open, under 175 pounds, 176-200 pounds, 201-231 pounds and over 232 pounds — with each contesting in five different events.
The competition will start off with the yoke press, in which competitors will see how many times they can lift the yoke — which weighs 250 lbs. — above their head from a racked position in 60 seconds. The press will be followed by a medley event, in which competitors will carry a yoke, followed by a sand bag and then a keg over a 150-foot course.
The max log clean and descending dead lift will follow, all leading up to the final event, the Atlas Stones, which can weigh anywhere between 280-330 lbs.
“The Atlas Stones as far as I’m concerned are my favorite, they are the signature of any strongman event and a very humbling event,” Geneseo said. “You think you’re strong until you try to grab a hold of them.”
As far as the individual divisions go, Geneseo says the women’s open will definitely be one to keep an eye on today. Last year, Holly MacKenzie dominated the field and won every single event en route to the title, but she will be in for a challenge this time around from friend Gina Melnik.
“I’ve never beaten her and she’s the only one I’ve ever lost to,” MacKenzie said. “We’re both really excited to compete against each other, and it will be a good match on Saturday.
“…I did win last year’s, and I’m hoping to do the same this year.”
The 176-200 pound division also figures to be a hotly contested one, as Oakland’s Brian Beaupain figures to be in the mix after finishing second to Ryan Largay — who has moved up to the 201-231 division — last year.
“I’m ready for it,” Beaupain said. “I have some good competition, a couple guys I competed again last year, and we’ve been talking to each other leading up to it.”
“He’s nicknamed the spirit killer because he certainly doesn’t look the part of an exceptional strongman, but he (rarely) loses,” Geneseo said. “He’s a real exceptional athlete.”
According to Geneseo, Francois Duchesne, of Quebec, Can., will also be one to look out for in the under 175 pound division.
“He’s always entertaining to watch,” Geneseo said. “He has no idea what the words â€˜give up’ mean.”
Entry fee for the event is $60, trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in each division and entries will be accepted up until the day of with a limit of 45 entrants provided competitors sign up for a membership with North American Strongman Inc. The fee for spectators is $5, and proceeds from the event will be split between the Augusta Little League and Kennebec Cannons Youth Lacrosse. Start time is 9:30 a.m. with the rules slated to be read at 9 a.m.
Evan Crawley — 621-5640 [email protected] Twitter: @Evan_Crawley