Jimmy Brooks hopes the new Strongman event debuting at the Stoughton Fair shows “we are a town of strong people.”
“The ‘t-o-u-g-h’ in Stoughton means tough,” said Brooks.
The Strongman event is set for 11 a.m. Sunday, July 7, in the Grandstands.
Brooks, a former Fox Prairie elementary school teacher who now owns Primal Fitness, has been organizing this free event for the past six months. Guests can expect 27 athletes to compete in five events within three divisions.
The stone to shoulder event requires competitors to roll a 380 pound concrete ball, or “atlas stone,” up their body and onto their shoulder.
Another event called fingals finger is practiced in only two places throughout Wisconsin, Brooks said, and requires participants to flip a telephone pole 12 feet long. This event is a “last man or woman standing,” meaning the competitors flip the telephone poles back and forth until someone gives up. The event can last five minutes to fifteen minutes.
“Pretty much anyone in Stoughton is going to know a telephone pole is heavy,” Brooks said. “So, it gives people a frame of reference to think, ‘That is really heavy, those people must be really strong, this is really cool.’”
Winners get prizes such as a gladiator helmet, an axe with skulls or a barbarian axe.
Competitors compete in three different divisions; open division, for anyone who wants to compete in their respective weight class; novice, for new competitors; and masters class, for competitors in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
Brooks, an elite level competitor whose best squat is 860 pounds and who serves as the state chair of the U.S. Strongman, said at age 42 he can sometimes feel like the grandpa in the warm-up room but advocates that age does not diminish ability.
“One of the competitors (in the masters class) is just an animal,” Brooks said. “His lifts look almost surgical. He is a very good competitor and someone fun to watch.”
The largest class during the competition is the heavy-weight males, in the open class division. There are eight men, ranging in weight from 242 to 275 pounds.
Some competitors train year around and some as little a nine weeks.
Brooks, however, advocates for what he calls “hashtag show up strong”: if you come prepared to be strong you will perform strong.
Visit stoughtonfair.com for the full schedule.