BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – With 152 of the strongest and fittest athletes in the nation in Kokomo, Chad Coy and Club Fitness 24 hosted its 17th Annual Central USA Strongman competition. The event has grown into one of the largest – and oldest – in the nation.
“It is a cool event,” said Coy with an understatement. “And the scary thing is we could have 300 people here if we wanted. People want to come to Kokomo each year because it is a great event. But we do grow it each year. This is the 42nd show we have promoted in Kokomo over 20 years – we are getting kind of good at it.”
Coy said the event is an event that athletes want to participate in, year in and year out. It is also a small boon to the local economy, something he is proud of.
“About 111 of the competitors were from outside of Kokomo, so they come here, spend the night and spend their money,” he said. “Most of our people are repeaters – about half are ones who came back.”
One draw is the fact the Kokomo event has a strong history. In fact, it is one of the oldest in the country.
“We are now the grand-daddy of all Strongman contests in the United States. It makes me feel older, that is for sure,” said Coy with a laugh. “When we started, there were just not many contests in the US. Of the four or five, none are still running. We have done the most shows in the country, so people know who we are.”
Again this year, Coy hosted the Jackal’s Gym Presents 3rd Annual Master America’s Strongest Man, which was open to professional strongmen over the age of 40. The event featured dumbbell press, log incline press, arm-over-arm pull, Hercules hold, power stairs and three other events
“Guys still want to compete but there is no place for us to compete,” said Coy. “You don’t want to compete in the open class at 40 and toss around 1,000 pounds. I could still compete in the open class, I just choose not to because there is no chance of winning. So that is why we came up with this idea.”
Coy – who has won in his share of events and is a previous competitor for America’s Strongest Man – said he ran the idea through the American Strongman Corporation, who endorsed the new concept.
“We ran the first one in 2012, and it is cool that we have had the same guys come back,” said Coy. “We have five the first year and 10 this year. It is kind of a who’s who of Strongman – we had past winners of the open division.”
Plans are already underway for version 18 of Central USA Strongman and the fourth edition of the masters competition, which Coy said will be bigger and better than the previous 17 – something he is proud of as a leader in the Strongman universe.
Kokomo, Indiana | June 7, 2014
Central USA Strongman (winners)
Men’s Novice … Preston Collier
Men’s Masters … Brian Summerton
Men’s Lightweight … Grant DuCharme
Men’s Middleweight … Nick Bielawski
Men’s Heavyweight … Caleb Perkins
Women’s Novice … Sammie Gordon
Women’s Masters … Stacy Bentley
Women’s Lightweight … Rachel Pace
Women’s Middleweight … Jessica Rush
Women’s Heavyweight … Brittney Cornelius
4th Annual Master America’s Strongest Man
1. Chad Coy (64.0)
2. Van Hatfield (62.0)
3. Rob Lewis (59.5)
4. Brad Dunn (58.5)
5. Grant Higa (52.5)
Inaugural Iron Games (men)
1. Matt Urch (34.5)
2. Shay Harden (32.5)
3. Andrew Dulmes (32.0)
Inaugural Iron Games (women)
1. Rachel Pace (18.0)
2. Tiffany Hanson (16.0)
3. Kourtney Hainlen (14.0)