In the halls of ancient catacombs, a dark pact was made between the men of the mountains and southern tribes. A coalition was formed to recruit the strongest warriors in the land for a tournament to crown the mightiest amongst them. The winners would be Queen City’s Strongest, and their names would echo in legends for all time… or at least on social media for awhile…

*This may be a little shorter than usual because I’m typing on my phone while my wife takes a turn driving*

The Max Axle Deadlift event and the Alternating Press event kicked things off. We will cover the deads first, because these established new NC state records! Huge authentic antique wagon wheels were used for visual effect (because we get into strongman to lift cool stuff right?), and a platform was built to ensure the bar was pulled from standard height.

Highlights of the deads included Katie O’Connor’s 375, 3 men tying in the LW class at 495, Chad Bates crushing 665 in the masters so easily that he skipped up to 725 to try on a third (next time!), Aaron Blackford hitting a smooth 645 in the 200’s, and Ben Moore smashing 725 at HW.

In the Alternating Press event, a log and a Mouser Block were the torture devices of choice, and they did not disappoint in that respect. This event was so tough that 8 competitors zeroed altogether, and the highest number of reps in any class the entire day was 5! When the weights were initially announced for this contest, there were some folks who thought the events would be “too light”. Well, as you’ll see we progress through this recap, these events were all incredibly difficult, likely much moreso than what many competitors are accustomed to.

A special shout out goes out to Savannah Bryant here, as she made a rep on the log, but lost her balance and dropped log directly onto her leg. Somehow, Savannah managed to walk away and continue onward in the contest however – color me impressed! Other highlights include Noel Roberts hitting 3 reps at LW winning his class by 2, Matt Kenreich knocking out 5 full reps (only he and O’Connor managed that many in any class), Alex Fedur nailing 2 as a Novice, and Tyler Perdue sailing through 4 in the 231’s.

The Max Distance Farmer’s Walk proved equally as daunting, as only 2 ppl in the entire contest managed 200′. The implements were big, intimidating I-beam style handles, and they reminded the sides of the competitor’s legs that toughness is a requirement in strongman sport. Greg Schiltz, David Mickus, Chad Bates, Will Greene, and Randy Cole all joined the 150 foot club, while Katie O’Connor, Matt Kenreich, David Meverden, and Kemal Carmon all surpassed 170ft. Only Aaron Blackford and Robert Jacobs reached the 200′ mark however, which is a tremendous showing on such a challenge that tests not only the body, but also the mental grit of the competitors.

In the Atlas Stone Series, 4 stones were loaded over a yoke bar, with the fastest time winning. Many of the competitors unaccustomed to lifting stones the old way like our ancestors did; this qas contested raw, with no use of sticky substances of any kind. This was certainly an eye opener for many of our mighty competitors, as only a half dozen on the entire roster finished all 4 stones: Greg Schiltz, Noel Roberts, Matt Kenreich, Aaron Blackford, Randy Cole, and Michael Payne.

The much anticipated mystery event was revealed to be a good ol’ fashioned tug of war! There were far too many incredible matchups to detail here, including some absolutely epic 2 out of 3 contests that were nearly went to the buzzer. The novice men’s MW resolved with a 3 part tie, Chad Bates defeating the larger James Heatherly, and epic battle of the giants between John Bergner and Michael Payne (the two largest men in the contest).

Keep an eye out on for the official results!

In the end Queen City was a rugged contest that tested the grit and determination of our stalwart competitors as well as their strength, and I for one had a blast hosting such an event.

Big thanks to all our helpers and staff that did an absolutely phenomenal job making this contest work. Thanks for sacrificing your Saturday to make sure these athletes had a great day.

Thanks to my lovely and very pregnant wife Nicole for continuing to work so hard at these events! It’s always been a goal of mine to make this whole strongman career thing a family affair, so having her and the little guy both around for this one was great.

Thanks to Andy Lewis and Norse Fitness for hosting us at the Norse Compound – see you at the Battle in the Blizzard Jan 27th as part of our Einherjar weekend in WV!

We’ll be back in NC in March for the Norse Highlander too – this train never stops yall!

Happy resting,

– Paul