While there was no lack of participants willing to test their strength at the three-day Farmer’s Weekly Strongman Competition at this year’s Royal Show held in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, they all failed to prevail against the might of the massive and muscular men that Farmer’s Weekly had sent to challenge the show’s many visitors and exhibitors.
From the smallest to the largest contenders, they all tried their best to keep up with the strongmen in Herculean events such as repeatedly flipping a 425kg tyre, lifting a log weighing between 85kg and 155kg above their heads, lifting concrete “Atlas Balls” of between 120kg and 160kg into the bucket of a John Deere front-end loader, pulling a John Deere 5303 two-wheel-drive tractor weighing 2,2 tons for 20m, and carrying two cement-filled briefcases, each weighing 160kg, for 20m in the “Farmer’s Walk”.
Martin Griffiths, dealer principal of Midlands Mascor in Pietermaritzburg that supplied the John Deere tractors, said, “The strongmen were great at getting audience participation for the events, and it was fun to see audience members struggle mightily. We are also grateful to be able to market John Deere alongside Farmer’s Weekly.”
Ettiene Smit led the group of strongmen who showed off their skills and were challenged by audience members with delusions of strength. Smit, the world’s 13th strongest man, is chairman of the SA Strongman Union and has been rated the country’s strongest man for three years running.
Where audience members grunted, strained, turned red in the face, and nearly keeled over in exhaustion in the various events, Ettiene and his mighty men made it almost seem like child’s play. “We had great fun with the audience,” SA’s strongest man said. – Lloyd Phillips