By Wendy Brown, Fort Bliss Bugle Managing Editor:
(El Paso, Texas, Nov. 9, 2017)
By the time Terence Jackson competed in the truck-pull portion of the 6th Annual Fort Bliss Strongman and Strongwoman Competition here Saturday, he had already completed the log press, the tire flip and the farmers walk.
So observers were a little surprised when Jackson, a Soldier, kept going after he pulled a brand-new Dodge Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup truck past the orange cones that indicated where he was supposed to stop. Apparently, he wasn’t tired in the least.
“Hey, stop!” called one observer, but Jackson kept going.
“Hey, stop!” called the timekeeper, a little more forcefully, and Jackson stopped, but not after clearing about eight yards in addition to the 30 yards he was supposed to pull the truck. Jackson, who came in first in the men’s super-lightweight division, laughed and shook his head when he realized his mistake.
Such was the fun and sometimes amped-up atmosphere as 35 strong men and women gathered outside the Joshua W. Soto Physical Fitness Center to participate in the competition. Several competitors said they didn’t do much to train for the event, largely because they already have a regular workout schedule and wanted to test their strength level.
“It sounded fun and I just wanted to see where I was at,” said Russell Penner, a Soldier who came in first in the men’s heavyweight division.
He trained by going to the gym more frequently on his days off, but that was about it, Penner said.
Megan Contreras, also a Soldier, said she trained by going to the gym more often, but discovered some of her weaknesses as she progressed through the competition’s events.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Contreras said of the competition, “but I need to go to the gym more.”
Contreras came in first in the women’s farmers walk, carrying 90 pounds for 60 yards in 24 seconds, and also came in second in the women’s middleweight division.
Ken Huguley, a Soldier and president of Fort Bliss Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, competed alongside five others from BOSS and came in first in the men’s lightweight division.
“We’re just here to show support,” Huguley said. “We want to show the community that single Soldiers here have a presence and that we’re trying to better ourselves fitness wise.”
Meanwhile, Alma Vasbinder, a military spouse, said she participated just to show herself that she could do it. She works out on a regular basis, she said, and didn’t do anything extra to train.
“I just said, ‘I’m going to do this,’” Vasbinder said.
She had a great time, she said, despite the difficulty of some of the events.
“It’s hard,” she said, “but it’s good.”