BY ETHAN LILLARD
PEN CITY CURRENT
FORT MADISON- Guns, lots of yelling, heavy objects flying through the air and risk of possible injury – no, this isn’t war, it’s the Iowa Games Strong Man Competition.
For the second-consecutive year, Fort Madison native Ian Hauck competed in the masters division of the Strong Man competition, this year taking the gold.
“That’s my goal is to improve myself every year,” Hauck said. “I’m getting older and I’m getting better. I’m not getting worse as I’m getting older, I’m getting better. By the time I’m 50 I hope I’m doing better.”
The Iowa Games Strongman competition consist of four events. This year at the games there was the farmers walk where each contestant carries weights in each hand for 50 feet, go around a cone and comeback as soon as possible in under 60 seconds. Hauck took first with a time of 31.5 seconds.
The next event was the overhead medley where each contestant goes from kettle bells, to barbells, to a log, and finally an axel bar. At the end each contestant has to hoist the weight overhead and carry it across the finish line. Hauck finished first in that event as well with a time of 24.3 seconds.
Even though it was the event Hauck despises the most, he also took first with eight tire flips in 60 seconds. In the bag over bar event, contestants pick up heavy bags with the weight of 100, 120, and 150 pounds off the ground and lift them over a bar. Hauck dominated the competition again with an 8-second finish.
Of course one of the staples of any strongman competition is pulling some sort of heavy vehicle. At the Iowa Games each contestant pulled a truck for 100 feet. Hauck finished in plenty of time with a finish of 23.2 seconds, sweeping each event in the Masters division.
For Hauck, the gold medal has been a long time in the making, having taken silver last year at the same games. Hauck actually didn’t have much confidence coming into this year’s games, having gone on a vacation just before and getting in very limited workout time.
“I went into it not expecting very good results because a week and a half before we went on vacation,” Hauck said. “(I) didn’t lift and didn’t work out. Then I had a period of about four days working out then the four day weekend I didn’t work out.”
Despite Hauck feeling like he was ill-prepared, he took first place in the first event and his confidence slowly rose from there.
“After the first event happened, it felt good,” Hauck said. “I started feeling better, got to the truck pull, pulled it pretty fast. Started feeling better. Got to the overhead medley, smoked it. Then I was like, ‘Yeah, I got this.’”
And he did.
Hauck swept away the competition, walking away with gold, something 10-plus years ago he never thought was possible after breaking his foot. After the injury, he went through more of a cardio centric workout phase.
When he decided he wanted to get back into heavy lifting, Hauck’s goal wasn’t to compete in powerlifting competitions, but with the help of a friend he realized he had potential for the sport.
“Me and my other buddy were getting into lifting and we wanted to lift heavy,” Hauck said. “We hadn’t thought about competing or anything, we just wanted to test ourselves and see.”
Hauck passed the test and realized that there were not only different weight divisions in powerlifting, but there were also different age groups. Realizing he would be competing against people his own age and weight, Hauck started to compete and succeeded.
“I never realized there were weight classes,” Hauck said. “That’s why a lot of people steer clear of the strongman because they think it’s a big man’s competition. It’s an enjoyable sport.”
Hauck will be the first to admit that powerlifting isn’t for everybody. It’s very different from other sports, but many of the reasons it’s different are the very reasons he and many others enjoy it.
“The people are like your family,” Hauck said. “They treat you good, it’s not like your baseball or soccer where people are fighting with each other all the time. Everybody is yelling for each other.
“They’re right in your face saying, ‘Come on!’ It’s a great feeling having people root you on that you don’t even know. They help you to get your form right, or if you don’t know how to do an event they will show you how to do it.”
Hauck has a very fit physique, but says when it comes to the competitions, it isn’t all about strength. Like anyone who has ever taken a weight training course knows, he says it’s all about form.
“A lot of it is technique,” Hauck said. “It’s not all just raw strength. Especially like the overhead medley. I kicked everybody’s butt in the overhead medley. I was the fastest time out of all the people at the Iowa Games in the overhead medley. It’s all about knowing how to do it.”
After taking the gold, Hauck has now started to set his sights even higher. He would like to eventually take his talents nationally and compete at the United States Strongman.
“I’d like to go there, that’s my goal,” Hauck said. “It’s very challenging compared to the strongmans here because the weights are way heavier. They go beyond my limits, so I’ve got to build up to that.”