By SCOTT WEISSER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Strongman will look a little different this year.
The feats-of-strength contest is in its ninth year at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair. In keeping with tradition, the event will be staged at the Farmstead area on the first Saturday of the fair. Competition, this year sponsored by Ares Fitness, starts at 9 a.m.
In years past, one event has involved competitors being harnessed to a stationary farm tractor, which they would then pull across a length of track. However, event coordinator Clint Borntrager said the antique tractor display has been relocated from the Farmstead area. Logistics come into play, and Strongman organizers had been looking to incorporate a new competition.
In place of the tractor pull, enter the log flip.
“That’ll basically be a tree trunk that you’ll pick up and flip a certain number of times, see how fast you can do it,” Borntrager said of the new challenge facing competitors.
Other mainstays of the Strongman remain in place this year, including a weighted sled pull, a keg carry, a weighted bucket carry and a tire flip. Note: The tire will not be from a lawnmower.
Borntrager is anticipating another large field of contestants.
“Last year, we were just over 80,” he said. “...I’m guessing it’s going to be 65 to 85, 90 (this year). I don’t know how many will show up. Just from the interest already, I would guess we’d be into the 70s, probably.”
“Strongman” is a slight misnomer, considering women have been part of the event for at least five years now. Borntrager said women were seven or eight of the total contestants during the 2012 fair event.
Borntrager recalled that he and Steffen Schrock started the fair’s Strongman so they’d have an event in which to participate. He said he and Schrock were planning to compete this year, too.
“There were a couple of years where I thought, ‘Well, maybe I don’t want to do it anymore,’” Borntrager said. “Then I kind of remembered that’s why we had started it. ...It’s just more for having fun than winning or any of that stuff.”