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Hercules, you can step aside

Fort Providence has strong men of its own

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Providence (Aug 09/02) - When there's a hard job to be done in Fort Providence, we now know who to call.

Ivan Landry, Troy Gargan and Jerry Geddes have laid claim to the title of "strong man." They each earned it in a different way, however.

Three events were held in an open field as part of a Mackenzie Daze strong-man competition on Saturday.

The first was a log toss. The exact weight of the log is unknown, but one competitor confirmed its substantial weight when he declared, "This is (expletive) heavy."

Another participant asked to have the log cut in half.

Some heaved it shot-put style, others spun and threw it like a discus, and yet others gave it an underhand toss. Nobody threw it as far as Geddes, though, who managed to heave it 9.68 metres.

Several competitors opted not to try the second event, which entailed carrying a 40-kilogram bag of cement as far as possible in 30 seconds. Greg Elleze, first up, outran the two volunteers who tried to keep stride with a tape measure. Looking like he was heading for China, Elleze made it all the way to the far chain-link fence, turned around and started running back before his time elapsed. His 92.6 metres was eventually surpassed by several competitors including the winner, Troy Gargan, who travelled 102.15 metres.

On to the third event -- the weight pull. Organizer Cliff McLeod initially loaded four bags of cement on a wooden sled with a rope attached, but in a trial run neither he nor his assistant, Eddie Gargan, could budge it.

"You need a horse," one spectator joked to a chorus of laughter.

McLeod removed one bag, leaving 120 kilograms of weight. In the 30-second time limit, Ivan Landry strained to pull the sled the farthest, a backbreaking 35.76 metres. Several participants agreed that the event was torturous on the legs, too.

None of the strong men can afford to rest on their laurels, though. There's a young man by the name of Ryan Larson who finished second in one of the events and third in the two others. He's sure to pose a challenge in the years to come.