As we sprint toward USS Nationals, the biggest strongman show of the year, your United Strongman Team remains vigilant. We are constantly working to provide opportunities and to elevate like-minded individuals that share our passion for STRONGMAN, and wish to serve you, the athlete. Here are 4 amazing people that will be representing United States Strongman!
First in Southern California Jamie Popp Christenson is a Lightweight Professional Strongwoman dedicated to the growth of strongman. Her passion lies in showing people that there are no limits to their potential. Jamie is focused on creating opportunities for athletes and generating exposure for the sport. She is married to an active duty service member and has two kids. welcome to the Revolution, Jamie!
Next up is Jon Lane from Arizona. Jon will be the Arizona Co- Representative. Jon writes, "I was first introduced to strongman in 2005 by Jesse Marunde while competing as a bodybuilder in the pacific northwest NPC. I had made friends with him after seeing him at the contests and he challenged me to come train with him after showing me the lack of callouses on my hands. Excitedly I showed up at 7 a.m. SHARP on a certain Saturday morning after taking the 2 hour drive from Tacoma to Sequim, WA where there I was greeted and instantly accepted by his crew before we began my first day of training that would forever change my life. Most of it is a blur but the look on Jesse's face when I successfully loaded a 330lb stone onto his wooden platform. Apparently, and according to Jesse, nobody before had lapped that stone, let alone loaded it, on their very first day trying. I was instantly hooked and wanted more.I competed in my first contest only months after that day, taking second in my class after having won the truck pull and stone load events.
Fast forward to 2010. Las Vegas, Nevada. Sin City 1. There I reconnected with Callie and meet her new husband, WSM competitor and strength legend Nick Best. After meeting him my hunger for strongman competition is rekindled 1000 fold. As my strength steadily increased, my competitive drive did as well. Over the next few years Nick and I have become extremely close friends, brothers even, as Callie and I (and my wife Tory) have become as close as siblings as well. Sponsored by Cerberus Strength USA, I have competed in over twenty shows and the past few years I have competed at the Arnold Classic South Africa 2016 and 2017 as well as Worlds Strongest Man 2016, in Kasane, Botswana. I currently have plans to compete in Iceland in July 2017.In late 2016 I became partners with Ralph Luksza and we developed Alpha Omega Strength, here in Phoenix, AZ, the only USS affilliate gym in the state. Now a gym owner, it has become mine, and Ralph's mission to bring the best and most accepting and rewarding strongman training facility to the area, if not the region, recently hosting Helios:2017 with remarkable results, an incredible turnout and a fantastic response.I look forward to taking this opportunity to utilize my experience and knowledge to promote and grow our sport, presenting the best of what it has to offer and enjoying it every step of the way. Welcome to the Revolution, Jon!
Next up is Marine Corps veteran, Ernie Batson who will Co- Represent Texas! Ernie writes, "I was born in El Paso, TX. I left for the Marine Corps in 1989 and returned home in 1993. I was pretty much living in obscurity until I found strongman. After a long layoff from the gym I began training again in 2006 at 35 years old. Do to some health issues I was having I started lifting again. Earlier in life I was a powerlifter, so I turned back to the only type of training I really knew. I trained that way for three years and my strength started coming back. In late 2009 I found out about a strongman show that was taking place not far from where I live in August of 2010. It had always been something I had wanted try, so at 39 years of age I signed up to cross it off my bucket list. Needless to say after that first event I was hooked. Shortly after that show I started to help other people train strongman. I started training people out of my garage and trying to grow the sport locally and kept competing.
By 2012 I moved into a local gym with all of the equipment I had accumulated up until that point and started coaching more people in both strongman and powerlifting. I competed a few more times while I was at that gym but I soon realized that I was not going to be comfortable in someone else’s place and at the end of 2013 we moved back to my garage. In 2014 one of my training partners (Andre Silva) and I opened up West Texas Dungeon a strongman\powerlifting gym in El Paso TX we kept right on competing. We continued to help the sport grow by bringing together local men and women who were interested in strongman and inviting them to our gym. We have built a small team that competes locally and travels around the southwest competing at any place that will let us show up. During that time frame I became more of a local advocate for strongman and strength sports in general. I began by helping local promoters by volunteering and judging at their charity strongman events. Then that lead me to where I am today.
In late 2015 I was approached to promote a local strongman show that would be sanctioned and take place in August of 2016. I was put in charge and I chose United States Strongman as our sanctioning body. After that successful first event we just had our second even more successful event on April 22nd of this year. We are looking forward to hosting more events and being more involved with promoting strongman here in Texas and all over the southwest part of the country. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself. Welcome to the Revolution, Ernie! Semper Fi!
And finally, we have our new Massachusetts State Rep, Dave Memont. Dave writes, "My first strongman experience was in 2002 as a Novice, winning second place in my first show, at The NAS Massachusetts State Championships. At that point, my love for the sport not only grew as a competitor but as a coach. I fell in love with the camaraderie of the athletes, how the same people I was competing against were willing to help me out with coaching que’s and cheering me on to push harder.
It was that moment that I knew I wanted to be a coach in this sport, and began learning everything I could from the best people in the Strength World. Throughout the course of the next 6 years, I was lucky enough to attend seminars where I was taught by the best and the greatest; not only in strongman but in powerlifting, speed, and agility. Among these coaches were Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Matt Kroczaleski, Jay Ferruggia, Joe Defranco, Mike Bolye, Martin Rooney and several others.
Coaching of the sport became more important to me than my own competitions. However, I still competed and was able to take home several trophies’. I also qualified for National’s every time I competed, even though I was always at the bottom of my weight class.
In 2009, one of my athletes competed in a Florida show. When we got there, he told me that he signed me up to compete. Without any training for the events, I took second place, and this is where I met Donnie Rhodes. Donnie complimented me on placing and started talking to me about his wife who was competing and being trained by a pro. A couple months later, Donnie and Kristen flew me out to California to their home. We spent 3 days going over dynamic warm ups, and proper techniques on all her lifts for strongman and powerlifting events. It was only months later, that she went from averaging third place finishes to 1st place finishes. I coached her online and wrote her programs for the next couple years. Kristen took the title of America’s Strongest Woman several years in a row, and she is now currently titled as the World’s Strongest Woman. As my coaching abilities grew in the sport so did my eye for proper technique, which resulted in the demand for me to be a judge during shows. I now judge an average of 4 shows a year, and am the head judge at two of them.
I now own and operate Strength Discovery in Revere, MA. We first started in 2008 as an online coaching business, and now have been in a small 3,000 square foot facility since 2012. We mainly focus on helping our athlete’s and client’s meet their personal fitness goals. By that I mean we are not a cookie cutter specific strongman gym, or powerlifting gym, or a cross fit facility. We have the capability to do and deliver whatever our clients desire. We are a sport, and goal specific facility. We are not a facility that sells memberships, we are a goal oriented facility and only welcome motivated individuals that want to give 100% dedication.
In the last year, Strength Discovery has introduced over 15 women and 8 men into the sport of strongman. These competitors were not your typical strength athletes, but rather just your average mom and dad that wanted to get healthy. In the process of their journey to health, they found strength and got inspired. Out of the 21 individuals that have competed so far, we have had 4 first place finishes and several second and third place finishes as well. The sport of strongman/woman has become a part of my everyday life, and it is important to use our strength to lift up and motivate others. Even though everyone is looking to be number one, you can never hide the fact that the camaraderie amongst most of the athletes who compete is second to none. This is why I love this sport, and have been a coach for over 15 years now. Welcome to the Revolution, Dave!