Stronger than your dad
Tuesday, Aug 06, 2013 11:45 am
Kids often jest about who has the strongest dad on the block, but for David, Daniel and Austin Hall, it’s not even a question.
Elijah Hall, father of David, Daniel and Austin, was recently crowned champion at the Elk Point and Cold Lake First Nations strongman competitions for the second year running, and the strongest man in the Lakeland now has his sights set on a bigger title: Alberta’s strongest man, and he will compete for the championship in Calgary on Aug. 24.
“It’s an honour and kind of exciting,” said David. “When I’m out there in the crowd, I cheer him on a whole lot, and I think that encourages him to win the competitions.”
Austin said he think it’s “great, awesome and cool to have a dad like mine”, while Daniel said that finding out he had the strongest dad around didn’t really come as a surprise.
“It’s just normal for us. I don’t know what it would be like to have a dad that just sits on the couch or something instead of going out every day to work out,” he said.
Elijah’s quest to be Alberta’s strongest man began last summer in an interesting turn of events. While heading to the Canada Day celebrations in St. Paul, Elijah got a phone call from a friend telling him he should enter the Elk Point Strongman competition.
“He just gave me a call and was like, ‘Elijah, they have this strongman competition in Elk Point, it’s the same guys that win it every year. You’ve got to come win it, you’re a big guy and I know you can do it,’” said Elijah.
It had been nearly two years since Hall had hit the gym, but with the prospect of a $1,000 cash prize on the horizon, the six foot five, 275-pound father took his family to Elk Point and signed up.
“I went in there and was very intimidated because there were some big guys there, I never thought I’d be getting into something like this. So I join up and I go through the events and I end up winning,” he said. “What a feeling.”
Following the event, a competitor from Ardmore approached Elijah and suggested that he sign up for the Cold Lake First Nations Strongman competition later that month. Despite only having a week to train for the event, Elijah stepped up against a crop of even bigger competitors and earned the title of strongest man in the Lakeland.
“I can never look at myself as a big guy because you just look in the mirror and see the same thing, but I joined up and ended taking first place there too,” he said. “If I could do this good at two of them and not even work out, how about next year I set a higher bar level and try and go for Alberta’s strongest man, so all year I’ve been training as hard as I can.”
Elijah gathered a couple of local sponsors and constructed his own home gym, dedicated to repeating his local titles and moving on to the provincial strongman championship.
Elijah made quick work of reclaiming his Elk Point Strongman title, winning five of six events and finishing second in the sixth, but when he showed up at Casino Dene on July 13, he met his biggest challenge yet.
“Low and behold, who shows up? The guy who won Alberta Strongman last year and the guy who got second place at Alberta Strongman last year. So of course I’m nervous right away,” Elijah said, adding that his wife Maxine help ease his doubts with a pep talk, and he successfully defended his title against the reigning provincial champion. “I ended up taking first place in every event. I beat him in everything; it was like what the heck is going on? It was an amazing feeling, this second-year accomplishment just felt so much stronger too because of the competition I was up against.”
Hall added that his proudest moments in this victory came in the faces of his family members, and in the honour of keeping the title in the Lakeland.
“My wife and my family are just so proud of me, and just to win it for our community is great,” he said.
Strongman competitions involve a number of unique events, including the truck pull, the log press, and Elijah’s personal favorite, Conan’s wheel.
“It was my worst last year, but I worked it up so much that I actually love it this year,” Elijah said. “They put on a 400 or 450 pound tire at the end of a pole, and its pivoted on the middle so you walk in circles with it, and it’s usually until you drop it.”
Elijah was in Fort McMurray this weekend for the Fort McMurray Strongman competition, an international strongman competition, and although results were not available as of the Journal’s early press deadline, a first place victory would grant Elijah an invitation to the Western Canada’s Strongest Man competition next summer.