ST. PAUL – More than 50 weightlifters from across the region gathered in St. Paul on May 14 for the Lakeland Strongman 2 event and by day’s end four new Canadian records had been set.
Sanctioned by Strongman Corporation Canada, the event served as a qualifier for Alberta’s strongest man/woman competition and was hosted by Colten Sloan who earned his pro card in the sport last October. The area resident is recognized as the first Indigenous man in Canada to lift his way to a pro card in Strongman competition.
While Saturday’s event was for the amateur athletes, four of them powered through to break records and at least one of them now has her sights set on earning her own pro card.
Angie Houle of Goodfish Lake has been training and competing in Strongman events for the last two years.
“It was mind-blowing when I first did a show . . . little did I know that I would be really good at it,” she said as she prepared to head into her next challenge – the keg medley – carrying three kegs, each heavier than the first, to a trailer in a timed event.
Houle is already third in Canada in her class in the Strongman amateur division, and the first Indigenous woman to achieve such success in the sport. Now she is ready for the next step and is looking to turn professional. She showed just how ready she is with her record-breaking 216.8 lbs. lift in the women’s open class in the axle clean and press event.
“That’s my first personal best I’ve done over my head,” she said, adding she is in the gym four times a week training. "We hit it hard just for these shows.”
To say she is focused would be an understatement. Houle said she is driven to succeed and that driving force simply comes down to one thing, or actually four – her children.
Her training partner is Sloan and they both train at Optimal Wellness in St. Paul.
“It’s not easy what we do, it’s so hard,” she said but her enthusiasm for the sport is unwavering.
“I do it for my children, I do it for our Indigenous community, I do it for our women out there because you’re never too old, it’s never too late,” she said, revealing that she is about to be 40 and never felt stronger.
Achieving her pro card would allow her to compete at the next level, which means bigger events and heavier weights.
“Even though these (amateur) shows are amazing, it’s just heavier weight – like I’m talking about 400-lbs dead lift, 500-lbs dead lift.”
Other Canadian Strongman record-breakers at the event included: Joscelyn Obrian - 175 lbs in the Women 82 kg category; Toby Culham - 180 lbs in the Men’s Masters LW U100 kg category; Ryan Vance - 255 lbs in the Men's Masters HW over 100 kg category.