Describing it as the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life, Tyson Delay said competing at this month’s Canadian Alliance of Amateur Strength Athletes (CAASA) National Strongman Championship was an experience he won’t soon forget.
Held Oct. 5 in Regina, Sask. the 25-year-old former Bella Coola resident took on the biggest behemoths from throughout the country at the event, where he competed in the 231-pound middleweight division.
“It was unreal,” said Delay, now of Williams Lake who, despite placing 13th our of 14 overall in his class, was among the best in multiple events.
“Three more seconds and I would’ve been in first or second place in the sack run, and if I’d flipped the tire one more time it would’ve put me forward about seven places, but it was a great experience, nonetheless. I think getting thoroughly stomped i definitely excellent motivation.”
At nationals, Delay competed in an axle lift, sandbag race, tire flip, deadlift and farmer’s walk.
He said every single lift was a personal record for him at the event.
“The whole darn thing was a positive,” he said. “Where I ended up on the scoreboard was not great — I’m not super happy about that at all — but I lifted things I’d never done in competition before. One axle lift … you had to clean and press it overhead, rip it from the floor, to shoulder, over your head, and it was 255 pounds. That was PR in itself.”
In the tire flip event, which Delay said has historically been a problematic event for him, he placed high across the board.
“I was top six despite how heavy it was —an 850 pound tire … I’d never flipped one of those before,” he said. “After that I had about five minutes to breathe andcatch my breath and it was time for the deadlift, 565 pounds. I’ve never even lifted close to that in training but I got one rep on it, almost two.”
Battling slippery floors was also a challenge for competitors, Delay said, as by the time the farmer’s walk event took place, his hands and grip were incredibly exhausted.
“That was 265 pounds in each hand, and by then my grip was gone, so that kicked me back so many places. I was pretty bummed about that,” he said.
But, at the end of the day, Delay said he got the opportunity to compete against pro athletes and to learn from pro athletes.
“I had a small group of guys I’m friends with and we all met up and formed a little team to keep each other in a good mindset, which was nice, and the whole experience was awesome,” Delay said.
“I met some pro strongmen I’d seen on TV and stuff so that was really cool, and there was a lot of experience and a lot of respect for the guys I’m competing against out there. They are literally the best in Canada and they are incredible.”
Delay noted he now plans to take a bit of a recovery break after his six-week preparation for nationals cast a toll on his body.
“This next month I’m going to take it easy and concentrate on coaching and helping some athletes getting ready for a powerlifting event in Prince George on Nov. 2,” he said, adding his friend of Williams Lake, Garret Leroy, will be competing an X Conditioning powerlifting meet in the Spruce Capital.
“Overall, looking at the scoreboard I’m not happy at all, but looking at what I accomplished out there I’m very, very pleased. It was the biggest competition I’d ever seen and I kept a good attitude and had a great experience.”
Delay said he’ll be back in the new year working even harder to help erase a stigma B.C. athletes are known for at strongman events.
“B.C. is kind of known as the weak province,” he said. “The guys kind of laugh when the B.C. team shows up and that really pisses me off and I want to change that and help build a team here in B.C. to go to nationals and smash it.”
Delay also thanked his wife, Brynn, for sticking by his side through all of the training and dietary requirements.
“She’s so great through all the recovery, chiropractor meetings, message therapies, all that,” he said.
Delay, who moved away from the Bella Coola at the age of 17, contributes much of his work ethic to his time growing up in the valley.
“I think that’s part of why I’m so obsessed with strongman now,” he said. “Working on ranches from when I was younger, even watching my dad on our small ranch, they were absolute work horses and I was always blown away with what they could do, or what they could pick up when they were working. Stuff like that really impressed me and stuck in my head.”
“I’m going to keep working and just come back stronger next time.”