ASC's Dione Wessels and IronMind®'s Randall Strossen are teaming up to put grip contests front and center by featuring them at American Strongman Corporation's "Live" events across the country.
Strongman contests and the Rolling Thunder® have a long and rich history, and Odd Haugen's Beauty and the Beast contests are where it all started: The 2000 Rolling Thunder World Championships was a kickoff event in a Honolulu sports bar the night before the strongman competition began. That's four-time World's Strongest Man winner Magnus Ver Magnusson getting ready to pull, just to give you an idea of the talent pool at these contests. IronMind® | Randall J. Strossen photo.
"Testing your grip strength provides a natural challenge and it's fun, so Dione and I thought, why not take advantage of the "Live" platform to showcase the IronMind Grip Challenge," said Strossen.
At IronMind®, we’re big believers in the KISS principle,” Strossen said, “as in ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid,’ so we wanted to feature events that are universally-known, with well-established standards of excellence. The two events we are going with are the Rolling Thunder®, for maximum weight, and Captains of Crush® Grippers.
“We’re running grippers the way stones are done in strongman,” Strossen continued. “A tougher gripper always wins, but reps rule below that, just as time does on the stones in strongman. So, anyone who closes a No. 3 CoC beats anyone who only closes a No. 2 CoC, for example, but 14 reps on a No. 2 CoC beats 12 reps on the No. 2.
“This is a big departure from the way gripper events are usually run in grip contests, which just focus on the hardest gripper you can close,” Strossen explained, “but one of the problems with that is too many people end up with the same score. We think this is better because it will help clear the air about who really is stronger than whom, plus it will be a lot more interesting for spectators.
“The whole concept of ‘ASC Live’ is to reach out to the American fan base,” Dione Wessels said. “What better way to reach out and touch our fans than with the IronMind® Grip Challenge? Testing your grip strength appeals to a lot of people and the IronMind® Grip Challenge will feature fan participation, as well as top strongman competitors. And this isn’t just for people who train in gyms - blue collar fans across the country work with their hands and some of these guys have really strong hands, so by pairing up with ‘ASC Live,’ the IronMind Grip Challenge will probably find the next grip-strength star in our ‘Live’ audiences. This is a great way to reach out and touch the fans and this is a great way for fans to get a handle on what the ASC athletes really do.
“IronMind® will be providing prize packages in the first-of-its-kind competitions, with ASC and IronMind pairing at ‘Live’ events through August. The IronMind Grip Challenges will be taking place in at least six events across the country.”
Stay tuned for more details, and for more information on ASC Live, please check the official ASC website.
Incidentally, don't think you have to be a man to compete in these contests: "I have a stronger grip than a lot of guys," said Dione Wessels, who won the women's class at the 2003 U.S. Rolling Thunder National Championships . . . held in conjunction with Jim Davis's 2003 X-treme Strongman American Championships.