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4/23/2012 12:09:37 PM -

This past weekend I competed in the Sin City Strongman Challenge III, hosted by Nick and Callie Best. I headed out to Vegas on Friday morning and got to spend a nice relaxing day of lounging by the pool with my girl.

The competition was Saturday afternoon and it was HOT, about 97 degrees when we got started. Things got off about 2 hours later than planned so my eating schedule got a little messed up but everyone was in the same boat. The field was pretty stacked with accomplished pros including Jerry Pritchett, Matt Dawson, James Rude and Ryan Bracewell.

First event up was the Max Axle Clean and Press. This is an event that has been improving quickly for me from my first exposure to it with Murph at Total Performance Sports after my seminar there in late March. I had cleaned 375 in the gym on Tuesday (April 16th) and jerked 375 from the rack a few days prior to that so I knew I should be in the 380 range at the competition. After warming up with several sets with 135-225, the opening weight was set at 305. I made 305, 345, 365 and 385 with ease and had secured no worse than 3rd place with my 385. I decided to give 405 a shot and made the clean and gave the jerk and decent ride but no go. Jerry and Matt tied for the win at 415. I'm very happy with my progress in the overhead since CA's Strongest Man on March 17th where I missed a 325 Log.

Next up was a medley with a 930 Yoke x25m and 375 each hand farmers for x25m. I had practiced the Yoke quite a bit (relatively speaking) in the last month and felt confident there. I was decent on the yoke, which was 30# more than I had handled at the gym, but didn't have the grip for 375 each hand on the farmers, dropping about 5m in and at 10m again and managing 2 or 3 more quick pickups and drops again to finish 4th having taken the Farmers 45'. Jerry blasted everyone with a time of 35.85 seconds, James was 2nd at 41.37 and Ryan was 3rd with 45.09 seconds. Everyone else failed to complete the course in the 75 second time limit.

The deadlift was next up. While many may expect this to be a strength for me, considering I have pulled 785 in a meet, I have sparsely trained the dead in the last 4 months and for 3 months prior to that was training sumo, so I need to get back on track there. We were deadlifting a trailer set up with a Harley and girls on it. This set up was a bit a of a different bar path than a normal pull but besides having to alter foot placement was too odd. I tied for 4th here, topping out at 750. Jerry won at 875 and both Ryan and Matt made 845. I know that I'll be attacking my deads hard in the next several weeks/months and should be pulling over 800 in straps soon and want to push towards 900 in the next year.

Arm over Arm pull of a Sled/Harley/Girl was next, the setup weighed 1000 pounds and we were using a 1 1/2" rope. I SUCKED at this event at CA's Strongest but had been working hard on it at Juggernaut and for a day with Odd Haugen. That work paid off as I took 4th here in just over 35 seconds, I was happy with this as I probably saw this as being my weakest event in this group. The winner, Justin Long, finished the pull in just over 33 seconds. It was a tightly grouped bunch from places 1-6.

Tire Flip/Keg Carry medley was next up, both the 800# tire and 330# keg were moved for 25m. By this time the sun was down and the temperature was much more bearable, probably in the mid 80s. I have done quite a bit of tire flipping in my day but had never done a keg carry. James Rude went right before me and set the time to beat in 46 seconds, he was MOVING. I felt fast through the tire and took James' advice on the keg, pulling it into my belt and resting it ontop of my belt with an even group, as opposed to a staggered grip that others use. To stop the time the keg had to be set on its end and as I dropped it down to the finish it took an odd bounce and I had to waste valuable seconds standing it up again. I finished in 59 seconds and in 3rd place, just .06 seconds behind 2nd place, Matt Dawson. James Rude won the event in 47 seconds. I was definitely frustrated by a little mistake costing me a point there.

Going into the final event, Stone Over Bar, I was in 4th place with James Rude and Matt Dawson tied for second 1.5 points ahead of me. It was about 8:30 now and I was exhausted from the Tire/Keg medley. I knew that overtaking them both for a berth into Giants Live would be a tall order on an event I had done 1x in my life. First up was a 420 stone that several athletes passed on and several others, including me, failed to get over the 54" bar. James Rude secured his Giant Live invite by being the only guy to get any reps with the 420, getting 2. Everyone else now dropped to a 380 stone. I got 3 reps which I felt decent about. We were standing on a slight decline, which made it a bit more difficult to find the balance point. I tied Jerry Pritchett for 3rd in this event behind James Rude and Matt Dawson who did 380x4 reps. All the guys gave me some good tips in the stones, much appreciated.

The finals standings were as follows...

1st-Jerry Pritchett, 40 points
2nd-James Rude, 36 points
3rd-Matt Dawson, 35 points
4th-Me, 32 points
5th-Ryan Bracewell, 30 points
6th-Justin Long, 21.5 points
7th-Matt Barron, 11.5 points
8th-Brandon Campbell, 7 points

I'm very happy with how everything went today. I competed well in field with Pritchett, Rude, Dawson and Bracewell, who are all pretty accomplished Pros and beat 2 guys (Long and Campbell) who finished ahead of me at CA's Strongest.

My next goal is to win my Pro Card at the Europa Contest in Connecticut in late June. I'm going to really being paying a lot of attention to bringing my overhead to elite levels (425ish), getting my dead with straps to the mid 800s and strengthening my grip. I know that with more practice the Yoke, Farmers and Stones can be great events for me.

I think I'm hooked on this Strongman thing and am ready to go all in.

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Chad Wesley Smith

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