Video – Note: AC/DC – Not really my style normally, but fit nicely here as back drop.
I have been lucky enough to be involved with this contest for the past 4 years.
The first year I simply tested events and drove the larger than life competitors around and promoter Al Thompson was generous enough to invite me to compete for the past 3 years.
The well documented mis step of last year is done and over with, life moves forward and I have always enjoyed the MHP Liberty Classic.
I have never earned my PRO Card through ASC ( American Strongman Coorperation) But I have been invited to do many extraordinary things without it.
This show being one.
Also, only being an hour from where I live it is never too much of an inconvenience for me to prepare and travel.
Stones: Allentown Pa, Iron Pigs Baseball stadium -
Me, JD and Colby got to do a little skit in the 4th inning as we waited to do stones. I threw it on the end of the video. It’s pretty funny watching me spear a giant piece of bacon in front of 10,000 people.
Silly Lou antics.
Last year the stones were a bit of a disappointment. The crowd was empty, The grass was wet and the set up was less than stellar.
Also we were down to only 7 competitors as people were deservedly a little apprehensive about competing at the venue again.
Let me say, this was an exciting moment. The crowd was electric. The energy was intense. And I was determined to finish all the stones this year. ( Even though they dropped the finishing stone weight from 410 to 385 lbs.)
I have been murdering stones in practice thanx to my Spartan Stone Sleeves and Spider Tacky super combo.
Stones having once been a weak point because frankly, I hated the hassle in training them are now enoyable and one of my strongest events. Also Shout out to Jerry Zimmerman for letting me train stones and log at his place while we get set to open up our gym. Jerry and Kim Berg are great people!
I let out a pretty big yell to finish these stones. It felt really good to get a little vindication after a few subpar stone showings here.
Finished 3rd here.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Ate a gigantic breakfast that was prepared for the athletes. Full of sausage and eggs we braved the incredible heat to go down to the WaWa Welcome America Show.
Advertised at 280 but was 305 at the show. This off season all I did was work on log and stones. two weeks before I trained a 300 pound log and hit for an easy 10 reps with one clean and press away. I thought, wow, this event is mine. All the power in the world. Fresh. I was going to attack it.
Best laid plans of mice and men.
I got out there and my adrenaline was going. it was atleast 110 on the black top and the mats were on the crown of the road.
I had the most frustrating time getting my footing underneath me. something that is never a problem on the press. I could not lock the log out after my initial 5 reps. I actually got pissed and kicked the log out of frustration.
Hummer Tire Deadlift -
I completely revamped my training for this and have been incredibly strong in training. Three days prior I just barely missed an 807 deadlift off of the floor at Derek Poundstones gym during Bros vs Pros. I know I had 800!!! It was my goal for the whole year to hit that without a suit.
But.it just wasn’t in the cards
That was 3 days before this pull AND after the stones the night before I was not expecting a stellar performance.
Everyone was throwing on their suits and I said screw it. It was too hot. I was going to conserve energy and just be comfortable. Pull what I could Pull and let the cards fall where they may.
Every pull felt like butter.
Incredible groove I was hitting. And that builds in your confidence.
Ended up smoking through 825/875 and winning with 905. Very surprising to me. Feel like I could’ve done much more without all the attempts and previous deadlifting that weekend at Bros vs Pros.1st place
Arm Over Arm Truck Pull
This event is always a little bit too lite at this show. Everyones times were within 3 seconds and there is literally no way I could’ve gone any faster.
I really went all out this year after trying to save my hands that past two years for the Team USA Natural competition over sees that is always the following weekend to this show.
I just pulled this time. Had the fastest time going into Pope and Connor.
Connor actually pulled an abdominal muscle really bad and quit the event. The truck being so lite crossed the finish line anyways and he got a few points instead of coming in last.
I was in 2nd place going into the event and thought Connor finishing last would put me on his heels going into last event. So it was a bit deflating to know he was still out in the lead and then Pope beat everyones time so he jumped me by a point going into the final event.
Tire Flip / Sled Drag
The original event was supposed to be a hussafelt shield speed carry into the dreaded sled drag.
I have been training this for the past 2 months.
Non of the helpers could pick up the shield so they changed it to a 1000 pound tire flip into the sled carry.
Last year I was the fastest through the tire, It’s arguably my best event. I can usually “one time” or completely flip any tire without stopping on my knee.
This was the same tire as last year but I was nervous! I hadn’t touched any sort of tire since last year in France at the Natural World Team championships. Listen, with all the bicep injuries…I was apprehensive at best.
I hesitantly tried to flip the 1000 bastard tire figuring it was so easy last year…why not this year?
The thing fell back in my lap and I had a moment of “oh shit!”
I’m gonna blow this whole thing. I really thought this was my event and I had a shot at winning.
I dug down and got angry. Flipped the tire easily one time. Struggled through the next two having to literally fight the tire to get it to flip.
By that time I was exhausted. Literally exausted. I fought the tire for a minute already and then had to go on to the most brutal drag in strongman arguably.
I caught my breath and walked to the drag. Tugged on it. Nothing. I weighed 295 before the show and again, this sled wasn’t moving. I pulled again and got it moving slightly so I moved my feet in, tipped my head back and kept my feet moving till time ran out.
Besides the harnessed truck pull that was there three years ago, this was the most “gassed” I’ve ever been after an event. The heat. The Tire. The drag. It was all killer.
I wasn’t happy knowing I blew winning the show but I was very proud I continued on and stuck to my guns. Didn’t get injured and surprised myself on a few events.
Still, I haven’t put together a mistake free show when it counts. With the mistake on log and tire, I am probably the winner here.
No need to dwell on it. It’s just motivating to know I keep getting closer and closer.
With my hybrid style of Westerling training and elite strength coach Russ Mcdonnel, I”m inching my way closer.
Want to again thank Al Thompson for inviting me back. He really tried and succeeded to improve on the areas that needed improved and I would think that all of the athletes that showed up had a great time.
I love seeing JD and Kimener. Good dudes.
Pope is an extremely kind professional. Congrats to him.
Talking strategy with Phillippi was pretty cool also. I watched him when i was 10 years old.
All in all. It was a great test back into the moderate depths of the strongman world.
My original intention was to compete in the Dallas Europa to finally stamp the ASC pro card, but with the gym and business opportunity I may hang it up and train for NAS Nationals.
Thanx for reading.