US Strongman VEEP: A Humbled Member of the Strongman Family

June 30, 2015

 The Beginning:


Late 2004 / Early 2005 I went with a friend, Eric Michielutti, to “try out” some strongman implements:  An 8” log and a 250# stone.  I lifted them both.  I was hooked.  I did my first show in April of 2005 in Chicago, IL.


Since that time I have had a growing addiction to not just this sport, but the community.  At the first show I met Willie Wessels, who I had learned about through hearsay mostly. We had a good first competitor / president interaction at that time. Over the next two years I kept showing up to compete and Willie kept being there  to judge, load, whatever was needed. We got to know each other a little bit better each time. I also had the opportunity to meet MJ (Mike Johsnton) and Chad Coy over that time. My first impressions of those two guys was nothing but intensity –now I understand why!


Willie, Mike and Chad are some of the biggest and best advocates for this silly sport we adore – it is because of them that the Inaugural United States Strongman Nationals were what they were.


 The Start of USS and Nats Prep:


After my second year coaching track in 2014, I planned on setting down strongman outside of competing.  I got a call from Willie, “John, if you decide you want to come back to being a State Rep, Indiana is yours.  You’ll have a Co-Rep too.”  We talked, and talked, and talked… And after two and a half months I agreed. The premise had changed, the commitment had gotten easier, the strongman family was growing and I had the blessing from my wife, Amanda, under these newer circumstances. 


One of the things we discussed was Nationals. I wanted it as soon as I could have it. We started talking a lot.  I found the venue, signed on the dotted line, and was granted the FIRST ever United States Strongman Nationals!

Ideas began to pour. Willie, Mike and I talked for hours on end over the days and weeks and months leading up to this event. Chad Coy entered the conversation about the US qualifier to MWSM. Mike secured a Giants Live qualifier and called upon me for help, just as I had with him. EVERYTHING was coming together…


Venue secured – CHECK!

Events decided – CHECK! 

Shirts – CHECK!

Banquet – CHECK!

Staff – CHECK!

Athletes – CHECK!


EVERYTHING was coming together…


The last few days, 21 to be e