AUGUSTA — Justin Genest hoisted the first steel tube, all 12 feet and 325 pounds of it, and pushed it down with authority.

The second pole, this one 13 feet long and weighing 350 pounds, likewise was no match for the 21-year-old Augusta native.

And on the third one, which measured 14 feet and 375 pounds?

“Yeah, that one hurt,” Genest said. “Your shoulders begin to burn on that one. This is the first time I’ve ever done this, and your shoulders burn out pretty quick.”

There were plenty of intriguing and challenging events Saturday at the fourth annual Central Maine Strongman Competition, but few drew more grimaces and grunts from the 33 competitors than the Fingal’s Fingers.

“It’s tough,” said Genest, who did push the third and final “finger” up and over. “I was tired at the end.”

Added Brian Beaupain, 25, of Waterville: “Oh yeah, it’s tough. There is a lot of pressure on you and you have to keep moving. It takes a lot out of you.”

Beaupain finished first overall in the 175- to 200-pound category with 42 points.
Dana Geneseo, a local barber who put on the show, finished first overall in the heavyweight division with 19.5 points.

Fingal’s Fingers, a signature event in world strongman competitions, features three hinged poles of steel that measure between 12 and 14 feet long. The ones used Saturday were connected to a steel bar. Competitors would pick one up at a time then try to push it down to the ground.

The event came easy for some, like 6-foot-6 Tim Blakeslee, 33, of Waterville.

“The strategy is to be a big guy and a tall guy,” said Blakeslee, who said he weighs 354 pounds. “I just try to push it out of my way.”

He did just that, pushing all three poles up and over in just 19 seconds.

For many, however, the final pole proved too much to handle. Tony Geneseo fabricated the Fingal’s Fingers apparatus with steel purchased from Stiman Steel Co., of Augusta.

“We probably spent $800 on materials and I put in 30 hours to build it,” Tony Geneseo said. “We had to make the hinges and cut the tubes to the lengths. There was no blueprint for these so we had to kind of make it up as we went. The first one we made we had to modify it several times. It was a process.”

Andy Beckim, 32, of Vassalboro, had never competed in a strongman competition until Saturday.

He was able to push over each pole, but said it didn’t come easy.

“You have to get it up fast,” he said. “You don’t want to waste any energy.”

Added Genest: “They start to fall on you and you really have to keep moving. It’s very tough.”

Competitors approached the event differently.

Some tried to push the poles with their shoulders, while others used just their hands.

“I can’t use my shoulders,” Beaupain said. “No way. I use just my hands. I know some guys who use just their shoulders, but I can’t do that.”

Added Blakeslee: “When you put it on your shoulder, you’re putting a lot of stress on it. However you do it, it isn’t easy.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640
[email protected]

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