Twenty-two competitors participated in the very first Strongman Competition Saturday at Harvey Functional Fitness Center.

Toni Kornegay, recreation specialist for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said the strongman competition was part of an effort to provide a wide range of events for Soldiers and their families to participate in. It was challenging to plan, but the event’s success was worth the challenge.

“I think it was a great event. I heard a lot of really good feedback, some things also that we’re going to improve on,” Kornegay said. “I do hope for more participation next time, but the people that were here had a great time.”

There were four different tests of strength – atlas stones, which were sandbags filled to equal the weight of atlas stones, vehicle pull, farmer’s walk, and deadlift.

Spc. Emma Shaw, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, has a special place in her heart for powerlifting.

“I’m very passionate about powerlifting. I had to lose a lot of weight to join the military and a big part of it was coming and lifting with my parents,” Shaw said. “It’s a pretty big part of my personality and character. It’s done a lot for me. I’ve gone through a lot. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, especially recently so this has kind of been my outlet.”

Shaw, the winner of the female category, finds powerlifting to be really rewarding and thinks that it’s important to have more events like the strongman competition at Fort Hood.

“It gets you out there. It gets your face out there. It gets you involved in your community,” Shaw said, urging Soldiers to participate in more events. “Just get better at something, improve. Competition is healthy.”

Shaw was one of only two women in the competition and thinks that more women should be powerlifting.

“There’s not enough women powerlifting, and we got to show these boys how it’s done,” Shaw said.

Staff Sgt. Tyler Franklin of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div., winner the heavyweight men’s category, competes in competitions like the strongman often, but was still surprised at the challenges that the Fort Hood Strongman Competition had.

“I think everybody was surprised at some point throughout this whole thing. Somebody was surprised,” Franklin said. “That two-hundred-pound bag, I’ve picked up a two-hundred-pound bag multiple times and that one slowed me down.”  

Pfc. Noah Brooks, 3rd Bn., 16th Field Artillery Regt., 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div.,, was the winner of the middleweight category and Keanu Alvarado, a civilian, won the lightweight category.

All of the winners agreed that the deadlift was their favorite of the challenges and that pulling the Humvee was more challenging than they had expected.

There was good camaraderie with the contestants, encouraging each other and pushing each other to perform their best.

“There’s only one other female, but I just feel like we’re on the same side, we’re rooting for each other,” Shaw said. “I’m just here to have a good time. Everyone here’s really supportive, people are giving me their chalk people are talking to me and we’re all just friends here.”

Another new event called the Amazing Ruck Team Challenge will take place at the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area paintball range Saturday. Teams of four will compete in 5 challenges, including a mystery challenge. For more information, visit or call 254-285-5459.