Just this past Saturday Mike Johnston and
Aaron Molin co-promoted a USS sponsored event, Giants Live™ Qualifier in Martinsville, IN. The contest was accompanied by a 105K Pro-Am. Additionally, USS sanctioned a 181 / 198 Challenge. Both the 105K and 181 / 198 contests were under the umbrella name of, “USA Classic”.
This Contest has a story behind it and almost didn’t happen! Here’s the scoop…
As a promoter, Mike Johnston has been one the scene for well over a decade. He has had his hands in shows all over the USA and has been a staple in many national level shows, including USS’s own 2015 National Contest. Over a year ago, MJ approached Giants Live™ head of operations and asked to host a qualifier for the Giants Live™. His wish was granted and the stage was set for a qualifying event at a sport and fitness festival in Florida. MJ began to hit the sponsorship trail to raise money to pay the way for the winners of the contest to Giants Live™ or respective show based on weight class. He raised thousands, of which USS was a $1000 sponsor!
The ball was rolling and things were coming together for this qualifying event. Then, a disgruntled former employee of another strength organization began to raise a fuss about strongman to the hosts of the sport and fitness festival. In a cowardly way, the host event forced MJ out of the festival.
Determined to keep this contest, MJ spoke with Aaron Molin about working together. Aaron is another promoter and advocate of the strongman, known for his equipment and training facility. After some time and deliberation, the two agreed to work together. Mike had handled the sponsorship money, and Arron would handle the venue/equipment and some additional sponsors in kind.
MJ had originally brought in USS Prez, Willie Wessels, as the head judge and USS VP, John Albrecht in as the head scorer. Aaron added loaders and scribes to fill out the staff needs. A few guest judges were there as well.
The contest got underway and MJ and Willie handled the MC duties. Some records were set in the <105K class and the 181 class on the USS Max Log Press event by 105K Pro Rob Kearney at 400 lbs. and Mike Sidwell at 280 lbs. respectively. The Giants Live™ qualifier came down to the wire with American Derek Devaughan edging out his Canadian counterpart. 105K pro Sean Demarinis won the 105K class in fashion leaving little to be questioned.
USS would like to thank Mike Johnston for asking us to sponsor this contest, for his hard work and perseverance to not only get the ball rolling, but keep it rolling in the face of adversity, and raising funds to send / give to the winning athletes. USS would like to thank Arron Molin for working with Mike and taking the initiative on hosting the contest, use of his equipment, and staffing the contest. Also, a special thanks to Jessica Molin for her efforts all day to help the staff stay hydrated and comfortable. Lastly, thanks to the athletes that came to show support for this wonderful sport and these promoters.
Well done gentlemen,
USS Executive Cabinet