Visitors to the Centre County Grange Fair are certainly no strangers to the concept of truck pulls, a popular fair competition involving modified trucks and tractors dragging weighted sleds. But on Thursday, “truck pull” will take on a whole new meaning, as some of the area’s strongest men and women will rely solely on their own muscle power to pull a 10,000- to 12,000-pound truck 50 feet.
These feats of strength will be part of the first annual “Rumble at the Fairgrounds” Strongman Competition, scheduled to take place at the Health and Wellness Court at approximately 3 p.m., following the Grange Fair Parade.
The competition is being organized by Rochelle Dubbs, a world class power lifter and the owner of Nittany Barbell Club — a gym devoted to strongman and powerlifting that opened in February of this year. Originally, the event was scheduled to be held in September at her Bellefonte facility, but Dubbs thought it might make a fun event for the Grange Fair — and the fair’s board of directors agreed.
“I’m so honored that the fair jumped on this. It seems like the right time because competitive strongman is the fastest growing sport right now. It’s huge,” Dubbs said.
The sport has experienced a boost in exposure recently due to a new History Channel series, “Strongest Man in History,” Dubbs said. Viewers of the show may recognize some of the events that will make up the afternoon’s competition. In addition to the human truck pull, contestants will compete in log pressing, yoke walking, Atlas stone racking and even deadlifting a car.
Participants will be categorized by weight class and will earn points in each event. There will also be a Special Olympics category and a Masters category for competitors over the age of 40. Winners will receive a trophy, a medal and potentially some prize money, Dubbs said.
The competition is open to the public, with an entry fee of $65. For a small fee, spectators will be able to try their hand at some strongman events during intermission. Proceeds will go to a good cause, as Nittany Barbell Club is partnering with LennyLifts, a local organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for autism through strength sports, for this event. Money raised will benefit the ACRES Project, a State College nonprofit providing support for adults with autism. Donations will be accepted at the event.
The event will take place rain or shine. For information and entry forms, visit LennyLifts.org.