Yorkshire’s Strongest Man 2011: Battle of the beefcakes

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O OOH watch you don’t do your back in pet!

A legion of Herculean hunks gathered for the first leg of Yorkshire’s Strongest Man 2011 on Sunday.

And there was plenty of grunting, but not a lot of groaning, as hundreds of spectators watched the 40 participants battle it out in a host of backbreaking – for the average mortal at least – activities.

The jawdropping feats of strength on display included car ‘deadlifts’, a ‘Fingal’s Finger’ lift involving giant steel poles weighing 180kg, pulling a lorry and carrying giant JCB tyres which are three times contestants’ body weights.

The contest, at Dewsbury’s Steel Cage gym and training centre, was organised by former steel worker and trainee teacher Graham Bulmer, who is also a part-time strongman and trainer. He has spent months in his workshop creating a host of mammoth items which are used to test contestants’ muscle.

These include the steel girders for the Fingal’s Finger task, giant dumbbells and a special ‘Yorkshire stone’ – a 150kg steel block which has been welded and moulded into the shape of the white rose county – which contestants carry and run with for as long as they can.

This Sunday’s first leg for novices and lower weight categories will be followed next Sunday by the ‘heavyweight’ battle - the ultimate clash of Yorkshire’s testosterone titans.

Among them next week will be current UK strongman stars Gary Gardner and Jack McIntosh. Alex Curletto, Italy’s strongest man, will be guest referee.

Sunday’s events start at 10am. Call Graham on 07810 541908 for tickets.

Graham is also hoping to hold a Yorkshire ‘strongwoman’ contest next year to select as representative for the national competition.

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