Lifters meet in Fargo to find the “Strongest on the Prairie”

Published: Jul. 18, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - While the Red River Fairgrounds were packed with fair-goers over the weekend, the biggest and strongest guests where preparing to compete. Dakota Barbell and local gym Edgar’s House of Pain hosted this event, bringing the rare opportunity for these competitors to show off their strength.

“We’ll all spend countless hours in the gym training, working hard.” said Meet Director Jason Ehlert. “So one of these events is to really just show off and highlight that there are people who work really hard. Here’s the opportunity to show off for fans and everything else.”

“If I get to do it twice or three times a year it’s a good year. Sometimes it’s once a year. Sometimes it’s not at all.” experienced Strongman Casey Raaen told us. “It’s all about keeping your eyes open. Seeing what events you can do and look fun and what’s possible to even travel to. So having this opportunity today is awesome to have here in Fargo.:

This competition featured five events, including log press and deadlifts, with athletes throwing around hundreds of pounds. With strongman events being a rarity at the local level, some were competing for the very first time.

“I don’t even know what to expect.” said first-time competitor Haley Risovi. “Nerves are... Butterflies are in the stomach. I think I was more nervous for powerlifting than this. I feel like this one is going to be more fun.”

Others were thrilled to have this kind of opportunity.

“I love it.. You get to see how many other people are enthusiastic about lifting heavy weight.” Raaen said. “There’s something about lifting heavy weight that’s just really really cool.”

When we asked Ehlert how it feels for him personally to give these athletes a chance to compete, he told us that “They’re a lot of work but they’re truly just a passion. You get rewarded by seeing these guys get PRs, hitting big numbers, getting the reps in. The adrenaline that you get off the lifter getting a big lift, screaming, and letting out that roar. You live for it. You really live for it.”

While the lifting numbers were impressive, what stuck out more was the sense of community in these competitors, cheering each other on and watching their hard work pay off.

“They’re some of the best people you’re ever going to meet. They just cheer you on all the time.” Risovi said of her fellow competitors. “You never have to worry about competition. We cheer each other on the whole time. You’re never like, oh I have to beat her or I’ve got to beat him.”

There were 25 competitors in this year’s Strongest on the Prairie Competition.

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