The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 21, 2014

Groan men and women

Mettle tested by 28 in 17 feats at fundraiser

— MIDDLEBURG — Mary Cook felt “wonderful” after she showed these youngsters how it’s done: the 62-year-old from Middleburg completed the “farmer’s walk,” carrying 160 pounds while she walked a 75-foot loop as fast as she could among the loudest cheers and biggest smiles of the morning.

“I started a year ago,” Cook said of her training at Fegley’s Fitness in Middleburg. “I’m very active.”

Owner Mary Fegley encouraged Cook to join this collective grunt-fest, second annual C.G. Strongman Competition, held Saturday at the Middleburg Fireman’s Field. Cook cited Philippians 4:13 in explaining her drive — “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

There was a lot of strength to be found among the 18 men and 10 women, each with a different reason for competing in this amazing show as they tested their stuff in seven feats: truck pull, Atlas stones, tire flips, Conan’s wheel, circus dumbbell press, the farmer’s walk and a final, mystery event called Hercules Hold. All proceeds from the event benefit the church’s youth group.

They competed for bragging rights and a trophy while nearly 200 spectators cheered them on. Muscles and fitness mingled with T-shirt philosophy: “Gun Shoppe,” “House of Pain,” “Go Faster,” “Suck it up, buttercup.”

Cook’s participation was a family affair of sorts: son Joe Cook, 38, and granddaughter Macy also were testing their mettle in their respective categories.

Ken Oliver, 50, of Salona, was dared into his first competition last year in Clinton County. “I had fun,” he said, smiling, “so I decided to do it again.”

“It’s awesome,” his son Kenny, there with brother Kyle from Allentown, said of their father’s competition. While both young men looked buff in their own rights, they weren’t sure they’d take on a challenge like this: flipping 640-pound tractor tires or pulling a 17,000-pound truck.

Oliver planned to mark the occasion later with a sky dive — no lie — with his nephew Damian Oliver of Clarksville, Tenn., who came in just to see his uncle compete.

Brandon Crossley, 19, of Middleburg, also has fun doing such competition and also “I like to show my strength. I work hard for it,” adding he’s in the gym five days a week. This was his third competition like this, and he placed first in last year’s inaugural event.

Crossley mastered the “circus dumbbell” press in the teen category, pressing a 70-pound dumbbell cleanly over his head and returning it to the ground before repeating the left — 23 times.

Bill Fegley, who with brother-in-law Steve Kuhns coordinated the event, was really happy with how this second installment of the competition had gone.

“We do it because we want to bring the community out,” Fegley said, “but we also want to show people they’re strong than they think they are” when they pull a tractor or hoist a 100-pound dumbbell.

Children in various age divisions also got their run at FIT-KIDS, sort of a mini-strongman competition of their own that involved time trials of pushups, situps and dashes.

A person can do a whole lot of different things for fitness, Fegley said, and that was the point of the competition.

“We’re trying to make people aware there are all kinds of things you can do,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be just on the treadmill. Just get up and move.


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