Retired Sgt. 1st Class Levar 'Big Sarge' Curry pulls a truck with only bodily strength during the Strongman and Strongwoman Competition, May 24. Curry won the 2018 Strongman competition and returned for a last chance to win another title. (Photo by Nathan Clinebelle)

Do you even lift? Jackson's strongest go toe-to-toe

By Emily Hileman, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Pulling a truck with sheer strength seems like something only in the movies, but several members of the Fort Jackson community did that and more at the Strongman and Strongwoman competition at Vanguard Gym, May 24.

The Strongman and Strongwoman competition is an event hosted by the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation that is held annually. The event is a Strong B.A.N.D.S. (Balance, Activity, Nutrition, Determination and Strength) as well as a Commander’s Cup event.

The Commander’s Cup is the highest sports award on Fort Jackson and is based on a points system. Units compete in a variety of team and individual sports and the unit with the highest cumulative point total at the end of the year receives the award.

Competitors exhibited strength in classic weightlifting, tire flipping and yes, they even pulled a truck with only their bodily strength. “It was hard,” said Cpl. Kadeem Gadson. “The way they did it was very organized. I’d definitely do it again.”

Although they’re all vying for the title, individuals also have personal reasons for competing in the strength-driven competition. “I chose to do it because I haven’t been in a competition in a little while,” said Spc. Stephanie Gonzalez.

Although not stationed at Fort Jackson, Gonzalez, an Army reservist, said she comes to Fort Jackson to work out every day while she’s on assignment as a traveling nurse in Columbia. It’s one of the many ways she maintains a community and keeps up with her Army roots.

“I usually do Olympic weightlifting,” she said. “I felt like it was a good way to get back into the competitive spirit and do some cool morale boosting things with other people.”

Only one competitor on the field was a returning champion, retired Sgt. 1st Class Levar “Big Sarge” Curry. Curry won the 2018 Strongman Competition.

“They added some good events” he said. “The tire flip was for distance and fastest time, versus doing the most you can.”

Even though he enjoys the spirit of the competition and the community it provides, he’s decided to retire from powerlifting to keep up with his grandchildren.

Competitors put their best foot forward, but only three competitors walked away with titles. The men’s heavyweight champion was Staff Sgt. Steve Lowry, drill sergeant with Company E, 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment. Men’s lightweight champion was 1st Sgt. Denny Horton of Company B, 369th Adjutant General Battalion and the women’s strongwoman champion was Staff Sgt. Chartell Deloney of 120th Adjutant General Battalion.