Jerry Pritchett is entering his 11th year of Strongman competition. The Arizona-based powerhouse has excelled in both powerlifting and Strongman for over a decade. His attention and focus narrows to Saturday’s Arnold Strongman USA held at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, Cali., and brought to you by Arnold Sports Festival and Strongman Corporation.
Not only will the winner of the Arnold Strongman USA advance to the 2019 Arnold Pro Strongman World Championships, set for March 2-3 in Columbus, Ohio, but the remaining top two in Arnold Pro Strongman World Series Qualifying Points will be determined, earning them a spot a the World Championships as well. A portion of the proceeds from ticket and clothing sales will go to a fundraiser established to help the California wildfire victims and first responders. Pritchett, Matjaz Belsak (Slovenia), and Mateusz Kieliszkowski (Poland) look to be the favorites this weekend. Strongman Corporation caught up with Prichett, known as America’s top deadlifter, for a quick Q&A heading into the meet.
SC: Here we are the week of the competition, what will your training look like heading into the Arnold Strongman USA?
JP: This is one of the easiest travel weeks in a long a time. Normally, I’m traveling across the pond, but this week I have just a one hour flight. I’m still training, I’m just backing off a little on the top sets and volume. Normally I lay off this week because of travel and focus mostly on rehab.
SC: You used to race Sprint Cars, what did you learn from that experience?
JP: Whether it is a race competition or a Strongman competition, you have to push hard. I grew up around racing. My dad built race cars, my grandfather raced, it was like the race track was my backyard. I worked for years building cars and once I started driving, nothing reacts like a Sprint Car does, and there was no other thrill like it.
SC: You are the father of two young children, what adjustment has that been like?
JP: It is a challenge. My daughter is 13-years-old and my son is eight-years-old and they are starting to get into sports themselves. I work full-time plus train Strongman, so my time is spread pretty thin. I try to use Strongman as a teaching tool for them to have a good work ethic, dream, and set goals.
SC: You have been in Strongman for a long time, how has the sport changed over the last 10 years?
JP: Just the weights along have gone up dramatically over the last several years. I can remember when 800-pounds was a huge deadlift and 880 was elite. Now it has gone from 900-to-950-to-1,000 to now there are talks of a 1,100 in Columbus. As far as myself, every year I am still learning, still getting better. It consumes more of me and my time.
SC: What can fans expect at the Arnold Strongman USA?
JP: It’s a fun show with a very good crop of athletes. It is going to be fun to watch. When you combine the venue with the fundraising, it becomes a really cool show to be a part off. And it is really cool to compete in the first one. You hope that it carries on for the next 40 years.
Saturday’s event will run from noon until 5 pm. For ticket information, visit arnoldstrongmanusa.com