CrossFit has exploded across America, and the Tri-Cities even has a national caliber competitor who's expected to win some national honors this summer.

Our news partner, KNDU-TV reports about 51-year-old Ken Idler, who is heading to California the third week in July to compete in Reebok's World CrossFit Championships.  He competes in one of the Master divisions, for athletes 51-54, but often exceeds the performances of younger divisions as well.

But before CrossFit, you may remember the Strongman competitions that crisscrossed the country about 8-10 years ago.   Spurred on by national television coverage of The MetRX World's Strongest Man competitions seen on ESPN and ESPN2,  a number of local and regional events were held.

The original Lifequest Gym of Kennewick when it was on Colorado Street, sponsored several Behemoths and Boats strongman competitions in Columbia Park on the Saturday before the big hydro races. These took place from 2002 to 2004. They were promoted by the former manager of Gold's and competitive power lifter Kelly Mahoney.

I entered two of them, in 2003 and 2004.   I finished 5th out of 7 middleweight competitors (220lbs or less)  in 2004.

The events consisted of a log press (200 lbs) in which you would see how many times you could lift off the ground and press over your head.  Also a 600lbs tire flip over a 90 foot course,  a farmers walk that consisted of carrying a pair of 220lb acetaline tanks with welded handles on them over a distance.  There was also a semi-truck and trailer pull, and a wonderful event called Conan's wheel.  If you remember the Aaahnold movie of that name,  the Conan's wheel consisted of a long shaft attached to a wheel on one end so it would rotate like the hands of a clock.   500lbs of weight was attatched in the middle, and you would pick up the other end, and walk in circles as many times as you could.  Fun!

I successfully completed each of the events,  my best mark was the 200lb log press, with 8 reps.    I no longer compete in these, as the joints and limbs are little too creaky.  But it was fun while it lasted, because it was something (to me) that many people could not, and simply would not do.

I actually found, online, the results of the competition held in 2004 in Columbia Park. The website was from that of a legendary Northwest female competitor who, along with others from our region, competed regularly in such events.

There are still Strongman competitions around the globe, but ESPN no longer televises them, as least I haven't seen any for a few years.  The big public buzz is CrossFit.  It is far more accessible for people to try because it doesn't involve lifting massive heavy objects repeatedly.      It's not for the faint of heart,  either.  I nearly threw up several times during my competitions, but it was my Mt. Everest, and was glad to have tried something I thought  I couldn't do.

In the coming days,  once I can convert the old video from a camcorder, will provide some footage of myself attempting to be a Strongman.  Fun!

In the meantime, enjoy this footage of a logpress competitor setting a record at the Arnold Classic Strongman Competition, courtesy of John Bee on YouTube.