Awesome Strongman Picnic

by Roger LaPointe

Jeff "Chain Breaker" Bankens performed various strongman feats through out the day of the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic. Here he is tearing license plates one after another!!!

Performing strongmen, barbeque, broken records and good friends, what more can you ask from a Saturday afternoon? We had it all.  Summing up one of the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnics is nearly impossible, but just like the event, I will try to pull it off.

The USAWA Heavy Lifts Championships were going on throughout the day, with records being broken left and right. In case you don’t know the lift order, it went like this: Neck Lift, Hand & Thigh Lift and the Hip Lift finished it off. However, sandwiched in there were a couple of invitational record breaker lifts: the One Hand Barbell Snatch and the 2 Hand Clean & Press, just for a little variety.

We also had some informal Open Competitions. We started off with a little kids Farmers Walk, where they used a pair of 10 Pound Kettlebells. You would be hard pressed to find a lifting event higher on the cuteness scale. All of the kids did a great job and showed great sportsmanship. We also had a Farmers Walk with 190 pound competition units and a Repetition Deadlift with a 309 Pound Barbell. Of course, the Atlatl demo had to be paused so we could use the field. Everyone loved the spear throwing with the primitive tools. I do try to get something in there that is a little off the wall, even for this group.

Punctuating all of this we had Jeff “Chain Breaker” Bankens, all the way from Louisiana, doing bits and pieces of his act that he does on the road, including a classic water bottle routine. This is the first time I had seen that done live.  In the Atomic Athletic Training Center we had Sensei Mike Sherman, of American Kenpo, giving a competition kettlebell seminar and mini-competition. While people were there, they bought T-shirts, posters and equipment… all to the smell of free popcorn and cotton candy, a favorite of the kids.

A great time was had by all. I would like to give a special thanks to everyone who helped out, especially Dennis Habecker and Al Myers, who each managed and brought equipment for the Heavy Lifts Championships, as well as Jeff Rybek, who managed loading the weights. There were many other people who helped out as well, but in addition to special expertise, these moved some real weight in the sun. Loaders, administrators and referees rarely get much credit. Just to give you an idea, the heaviest lift was a 2075 Hip Lift…

Make sure to keep checking out the Atomic Athletic web site, USAWA Facebook page and the Atomic Athletic Facebook page for more updates.

Live strong, Roger LaPointe