Arts and Entertainment

North Bend Block Party | Alpine Fitness’ Almost Strongest Man contest to pump you up

Competitors hustle heavy cargo during the Almost Strongest Man (and woman) event at North Bend
Competitors hustle heavy cargo during the Almost Strongest Man (and woman) event at North Bend's downtown block party.
— image credit: Allison Espiritu / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Glenn Derwin’s been busy making trips to Tiger Mountain, bringing a friend’s big collection of heavy, clunky competition gear to North Bend. Today’s trip brings in a few huge tractor tires, which join the heavy blocks of stone, steel dumbbells and 400-pound sled that Derwin will use to challenge the Valley’s strongest.

Derwin, owner of Alpine Fitness in North Bend, hosts the Almost Strongest Man contest Saturday, July 23, next to Boxley’s Place. It’s the third year for the contest, which has been part of the North Bend Block Party since year one.

“Each year, we add something else,” Derwin said. This year, he’s adding an anchor-chain drag. Each length is 50 pounds. Put enough of those links together, and like a ship, you’d be hard pressed to drag it anywhere.

The challenges aren’t just about lifting and hauling. Teams of two have to be able to conserve their energy, and the day is as much about stamina as it is about brute strength.

“You’re supposed to work together,” Derwin said. It’s not about how strong you are when you’re fresh, he said—it’s about how strong you are when you’re tired.

The team who moves through all the pumping, dragging and rolling the fastest gets bragging rights. Giveaways include free stuff from local businesses.

Events include the farmer’s walk, in which lifters carry heavy metal pipes, the atlas stone carry, where contestants muscle a heavy concrete ball on their shoulders, or the wheelbarrow event, in which contestants have to haul big weights—or a team member.

Many of the contestants are bodybuilders and competitive lifters.

Derwin tries to make the challenges tough but not impossible, and also fun.

“I’m looking for everybody to succeed,” he said. “Everybody who is doing it has done some training. I make sure I test everybody before they do it... I want everybody to be fit and competitive.”

Into fitness for the last 45 years, Derwin doesn’t care who wins, as long as everybody gives a good effort.

“It’s a chance to prove your worth,” he said.

To take part in the Almost Strongest Man Contest, register ahead of time at Alpine Fitness, 140 East North Bend Way, North Bend.

Or, call the gym at (425) 888-0046.

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