JFK grad Stout wins another Strongman title

Special to Tribune Chronicle John F. Kennedy graduate Richard Stout added a Strongman national title to the Strongman world title he had won previously.

Strength is starting to come in numbers for Richard Stout.

The 30-year-old John F. Kennedy graduate was crowned the Strongman world champion back in March at the Arnold Classic Sports Event in Columbus, and apparently he was just getting started. Stout, who now lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, earned a Strongman national championship (lightweight division) on Oct. 29 in Davenport, Iowa.

The 175-pound Stout wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue the Strongman competition after the world title, but his intrigue picked up when he got a few phone calls.

“I actually did get a sponsor,” said Stout about the publicity he received after winning in Columbus. “Titan Support Systems, they’re out of Corpus. They have a lot of power-lifting gear, Strongman gear. I was talking with them, and we wanted to go to nationals just to kind of see how I did. And we wanted to prepare for the Arnold a little bit better. Plus, being closer to family, I know my family could make the trip over to Iowa, so I wanted to do it so I could spend the weekend there with them.”

Things worked out well.

Stout, a 2005 JFK graduate, participated in five events at the national championship — a “circus” dumbbell overhead press, a yoke walk, a tire deadlift, a tombstone carry and a medley race in which participants had to carry different weighted objects and load them onto a trailer bed. Stout only won one event, but he finished in the top five of each and edged out two other opponents in the final competition.

“If you want to win an event, winning the last one would be a good one,” he said. “I guess I saved the best for the last event.”

Stout entered the final event leading by one-half point. He had 128 points, while Jonathan Adams and Devon Reese each had 127.5. In the final competition, each competitor had to carry a 225-pound keg, run it 60 feet and place it on a trailer bed, then sprint back 40 feet and load a second keg. They finished by carrying a 225-pound atlas stone 20 feet and placing it on the trailer. Stout, Reese and Adams were lined up next to one another in different lanes, so they had a good view of who was winning.

It was a winner-take-all scenario.

“I was actually neck and neck with the guy next to me, Devon,  and he dropped (the atlas stone),” Stout said. “I was able to pick it up and keep going. I loaded it onto the trailer and let go. I looked to my left, and Jon was still going and Devon had dropped it, so I knew right then it was over. I just won it.”

The victory didn’t come easy.

Stout used a 12-week program to train for a variety of unique events. The “circus” dumbbell was an overly huge dumbbell, and each athlete had to press the 125-pound weight over his head as many times as possible. Stout got 13 (the best mark was 15). The second event was a yoke walk. A yoke is essentially a weight rack (loaded with weights) that competitors must carry 50 feet. The fasest to cross the finish line won. Stout took second with a time of 8.53 seconds (first place was 8.09).

The third contest was a tire deadlift, where tires were placed on an axle bar, similar to weights loaded on a bar. An axle bar is thicker than a regular weigh-lifting bar, Stout said, and the tires, which amounted to 525 pounds, caused the bar to bounce around after each lift. The competitors had one minute to record as many repetitions as possible.

“Those tires they had some air in them, so when you would come back down they would bounce left and right a little bit, depending on which side landed first,” Stout said. “It was tough when you got tired and it was bouncing like that, you had to edge (right) to get centered up.”

The second day of the competition started with a tombstone carry. Long tombstones were loaded with weights, and each athlete had to carry it 50 feet, turn around and go back. The cycle continued as long as a competitor could hold on.

“This was one of my weaker events in the past, but I went 304 feet, which was fourth place in the event,” Stout said. “A lot of the guys in front of me (in the standings), they all bombed out quicker than me, so after the event was over I was in first place by a half a point over two guys.”

That set up the final race, when Stout loaded the three objects onto the trailer in 22.86 seconds (second place was 23.82). Stout said he’s looking forward to becoming the first athlete to win back-to-back world titles. The prizes, which usually equate to a couple hundred dollars and some workout gear, is nice, but it’s the competitiveness and uniqueness of the contests that keep Stout interested.

“It was a good balance of everything,” said Stout of the different events. “Obviously there’s that power, but then you have to be able to move with heavy weights. There’s a conditioning aspect too with the medley. If you’re strong but you don’t condition yourself, you’ll gas out real quick, especially when you’re running with kegs and stuff like that. When I first looked into it, that’s really what drew my attention was the different events and different disciplines. You have to be good at a lot of different things, and that’s fun. It’s a big challenge.

“I think that’s why I still want to keep going with it because I know there are a lot of things I’m still not that good at that I want to improve on.”

The world championship is March 2-5, 2017, in Columbus.