Skaarup rebounds with third-place podium showing

Lucas Punkari

After placing fifth at the Ontario’s Strongest Man competition in Toronto a weekend prior, Luke Skaarup was looking for a bounce back performance in Dryden this past Saturday, as he took part in the Tbaytel Dryden Pro Strongman event.
While the Fort Frances strongman was unable to capture first place, a showing of third overall was just what the doctor ordered.
“Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, and finishing in third was a great way to bounce back,” Skaarup, who also helped to organize the competition, explained.
“Overall, I think I did pretty well. I would have liked to have done a little bit more on my deadlift, but 11 really isn’t that horrible,” Skaarup reasoned.
Skaarup started the event off with a second place showing in the 950-pound tire flip, as he completed the 80ft course in 63.47 seconds.
“My goal going into that event was to finish it,” Skaarup stressed.
“The first three or four flips went really smoothly in one motion, and then the next two were done in a couple of motions.
“I mistimed the last flip a little bit, but I still did pretty well,” Skaarup added.
Skaarup then had to go in an event that he considered one of his weakest, which was the 300-pound axel press, where he was able to complete three reps to finish in a tie for fifth place.
“I probably thought to hard about getting that fourth rep and I missed it,” Skaarup said.
“I was able to set a personal best for that event with both the weight and the reps, which was a huge success for me, but I kind of figured going in that I would do that anyways.
“When you get in front of a couple hundred people, you tend do more than you can do when you are by yourself,” Skaarup reasoned.
After a third place showing in the deadlift of a Ford Ranger, which had 800-pounds in each hand, Skaarup had to carry a 330-pound train wheel for distance.
“This thing was intimidating and heavy, plus it really hurts to both pick it up and to carry it,” Skaarup explained.
Skaarup was able to finish in fifth spot with a distance of 249’1”, which put him in a tightly packed group behind event winner Joel Dircks, who carried the wheel to an impressive showing of 320 feet.
“That was something that was world class,” Skaarup enthused.
“Most of the good guys were getting right around 240 to 250 feet before they would get to the point where their body would start to shut down, so I was really surprised to see Joel do that,” Skaarup added.
Next up was a medley event, which involved lifting a 160-pound dumbbell, doing a 350-pound fireman’s walk over a 50-foot course and dragging back a 650-pound weight back the other way.
Skaarup was able to complete the course in an impressive time of 44.69 seconds, but it would only be good enough for second place as Dave Ostlund took the win with a time of of 43.48 seconds, on his way to capturing the overall event crown.
“Dave’s kind of in a whole other class,” Skaarup said.
“He stands 6’7” and weighs in at 385-pounds, so he’s quite a large man and he’s extremely athletic.
“I don’t think there was much I could of done personally to improve on my time to beat him,” Skaarup reasoned.
The final event of the day was the Atlas Stones, where competitors had to lift a 360-pound stone as many times as possible over a 56-inch bar.
In the end, Skaarup was able to complete five reps to finish in third place for the event, and also place third overall in the final standings behind Ostlund and Paul Vaillancourt.
“I would have liked to have done one more rep there at the end,” Skaarup sighed.
“But third place wasn’t too bad, especially given this field,” he added.
The next event for Skaarup will be in Kitchener on Saturday, July 16, where he will be taking part in the Ribfest Strongman Challenge.