As the conclusion of the inaugural MHP Clydesdale Games, fifth place finisher Rob Rowland said it best: “This contest appealed to me because not only do you have to be strong as hell, but you need to have some serious conditioning. It takes the positives from Strongman and CrossFit and creates a whole new fitness challenge!”
This was music to the ears of 2012 Arnold Strongman Champion Mike Jenkins, who created something special with the Clydesdale Games. Hosted by Merle McKenzie and CrossFit Relentless, the competition was designed to gather all of the bigger and stronger athletes from around the entire country for one athletic showdown. These Clydesdales would compete in four events that tested endurance, strength and will with weights that made even amateur strongmen cringe.
The one-day event was long and grueling for the competitors. The big men were tested right away with a 75 ft, 600 lb. yolk carry, followed by 50 double unders, 50 reps of wall balls with a 30 lb. medicine ball, and another 75 ft, 600 lb. yolk carry to the finish. As with all of the workouts, only a select few athletes were able to finish under the time cap.
Blood, sweat, but no tears were left on the floor in workout #2. Most athletes lay face down on the black pavement, forearms bloodied from collapsing with exhaustion and from last second efforts to pull the 400-plus pound sled another inch. The workout consisted of implements between 100-200 lbs. being loaded into a sled and pulled back with rope assistance, World Strongman style. The items included a sandbag, keg and 106 lb. kettlebell. In between the loading of the objects into the sled, athletes were required to complete 15 kettlebell swings. This event was considered by the conclusion of the day to be the most demanding of the weekend and athletes still had to follow up with 2 more events!
The main battle of the MHP Clydesdale Games was between Scott Porter of SpartanFit CrossFit out of Phoenix, AZ and David Callahan, representing Shoreline CrossFit from Branford, CT. Scott’s roots are in Strongman (he boasts 750 lb. deadlifts!) and he integrates CrossFit in his training. In early March, Porter had micro-fracture knee surgery and wasn’t sure if he would even be able to compete. “I was determined to rehab and come back for what I knew would be an epic event and awesome experience”, he explained. “I was unable to train squats or any moving events for 6 weeks, so I focused on improving my conditioning and maintaining my strength.” Callahan, is a veteran of the Reebok CrossFit Regional Games and competed this year in Canton, MA, finishing in 14th.
Only a few points separated Porter and Callahan as they moved onto the Medley Press. Various objects with increasing weights sat in the hot sun as they waited for worthy athletes to be able to clean and press them overhead. Some objects included a log and axle bar, and concluded with a discouraging lead hammer. With his strongman background, the medley press was a pleasant sight for Porter, who took this event over Callahan, who finished 3rd. Although Callahan dominated the final workout, 12-9-6 reps scheme of tire flips and D-Ball over shoulder, he was unable to catch Porter in the final standings. Scott Porter was the elite Clydesdale on June 15th and took home $4,000 from MHP, who provided a total purse of $10,000. “Each workout emptied the tank and left me gasping for air,” the champ said. “Though I finished the day as the first MHP Clydesdale Games Champion, I am now more motivated than ever to train harder and will be back to retain my title at the next Clydesdale event.”
To find out more about the MHP Clydesdale Games or if you are interested in hosting an event at your gym, visit www.clydesdalegames.com or contact Mike Jenkins at MJenkins@maxperformance.com.