Skaarup to tackle back-to-back competitions

Lucas Punkari

To the casual observer, competing in two Strongman events in consecutive days might seem a bit crazy.
But for local competitor Luke Skaarup, it is just par for the course.
“I’ve actually done a three-day event before as part of North American’s Strongest Man, and that was a little nuts at times,” Skaarup admitted.
“The worst part will actually be the 10-hour drives between venues,” he noted.
“But it will be fun to compete against some new guys that are really good and to also go in front of some good crowds,” Skaarup reasoned.
Nicknamed “The Iron Viking,” Skaarup will be competing this Saturday at the Winkler Harvest Fest Strongman competition in Winkler, Man. before making the trek up to Saskatoon, Sask. to take part in the Saskatoon Exhibition Strongman event Sunday.
“Winkler is a fun competition to take part in, and I’ll have an opportunity to defend my championship there from last year,” he explained.
“Then right after that one is the drive to Saskatoon, which is a semi-pro event, so that will be a little bit busy but it’ll still be good.”
Heading into this weekend’s events, Skaarup is coming off of a first-place showing at the Thunder Bay Strongest Man competition, which took place on Saturday, July 23.
“Leading up to that competition, I wasn’t taking it too seriously as compared to some of the other ones,” Skaarup noted.
“But I did want to do really well since my sister-in-law was one of the organizers and she was putting the competition on to showcase some of Thunder Bay’s talent.
“I also grew up there so it was my first time competing in front of my friends and family back home,” Skaarup added.
“And even though I have competed all over Canada and the United States, it was still really special to compete there.”
Entering the competition with a strained left patella, Skaarup still had a very strong performance as he won three of the four events in the male 200+ pounds category, defeating Thunder Bay competitors Dallas Hogan and Kyle Rayner for the event title.
“My left knee was pretty mangled once I finished up the last event, which was the 600-pound car dead lift,” said Skaarup.
“I was able, though, to get two personal bests in the 350-pound bench press (16 reps) and in the 1,100-pound tire flip over 50 feet [34.92 seconds], so I was really happy about doing that.”
And he wasn’t the only member of the Skaarup family to win in Thunder Bay. His brother, Dan, swept all four events on his way to the under-200 pounds title.
“Good genetics always helps,” Luke Skaarup joked.
“He did really well, though, and I’m going to try and talk him into doing the Dubreuilville Amateur later this year.”
With a two-week break since competing in Thunder Bay, Skaarup has spent the last little while keeping himself in solid condition as he prepares for this weekend’s doubleheader.
“There’s not a whole lot of things that I need major work on or anything as I am pretty strong and capable right now as it is,” he reasoned.
“I’ve been taking it easy on my left knee just to make sure that is all healed up.
“But the main thing for now is just stay in tune and in shape,” he stressed.