Lifting and pulling heavy objects isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. Not everyone is in the Strongman Competition at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

Rain turned some of the events at Saturday’s Strongman soggy. The men and women in the contest were not deterred. There were 32 competitors — 29 men and three women.

The Strongman is a series of events. These include being harnessed to a tractor and pulling it, pulling a weighted sled up an incline and carrying kegs. Part of the obstacle course challenge involves pushing a tire end over end — no puny, conventional “rolling” for these folks.

“I feel pretty good about my performance today because I have a little bit of a knee problem,” said Greg Mueller of Goshen. Saturday marked the fourth year of Strongman competition for Mueller, a high school wrestling coach.

“That rope was kind of slippery doing the sled pull,” he said, talking about the rain’s impact. “It was kind of hard to grab up the hill.”

Robert Pletcher of Goshen was taking part in his second Strongman. He and fellow competitor Devo Miller are Clinton Township firefighters.

“We kind of thought we’d come out and represent a little bit,” Pletcher said.

“Our department has a Combat Challenge team,” he later added. “We’ve been training for the last two months for those events. So we’re kind of in shape for this already.”

What is the best approach for humans wanting to pull stationary tractors? Miller, a four-time Strongman competitor, has an idea.

“Get as low as you can, and small steps,” he said. “Smaller steps are better.”

Jean Williams was among the spectators Saturday.

“They all compete to win, but they all are cheering each other on,” she said of the contestants. “They’re really supportive of each other, and I’m impressed with that.”



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