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The strongest of them all come to Chubbuck

Bailey Carlson (front) deadlifting 455 lbs and Oliver AhMu (back) lifting 405 lbs. during the Eastern Idaho Strongest Man/Woman Competition. | Nate Sunderland,

CHUBBUCK (KPVI) — Eastern Idaho got a big dose of muscle power Saturday, with the Eastern Idaho Strongest Man/Woman Competition.

Some 56 lifters from around the northwest packed into the BA Athletic Training Gym in Chubbuck for a chance to move on to a national competition, including one woman who’s already made it to the top.

48-year-old Leslie Hofhiens’ passion for strength training is undeniable.

“It’s an addiction that keeps me going,” says competitive lifter Leslie Hofhiens.

Her path to lifting began as way to take care of her son, who was born with a disability.

“He’s 21 one now,” says Hofheins, “He’s about 190 pounds and I have to completely transfer him, so it just kind of naturally fell into lifting to get stronger.”

That turned into not one, but two world titles.

“Two time strongest woman in the world for the lightweight 2016 and 2017,” Hofheins said.

And with goals of securing the title one more time, Hofhiens is using her parental strength in Chubbuck for the local competition.

“It’s actually a precursor to the national event,” says Jermey Lambson, event sponsor, “It’s a qualifying event. So if you qualify at this event, you can go ahead and participate in the national strongman competition.”

Organizers of Saturday’s competition have a different goal in mind.

“We’ll we’re trying to build the sport around here, get more people in,” says Lambson.

This is the first time the gym has hosted the event and the owners are very satisfied with the results.

“The turnout was fabulous,” BA Training co-owner Cade Ackley said, “I would have never in my mind thought this was going to happen.”

Event promoter Adam Mann, a strength coach at BA Athlete Training, said that of the 56 competitors, 22 qualified for nationals.

“I want to thank all of the competitors that came out and made this show a big success,” Mann said. “We couldn’t have done this show without all of these strong athletes coming out and giving their all every event. Also, would like to thank the volunteers and sponsors for getting us set up to bring this event to eastern Idaho: BYN Nutrition, BA Athlete Training, Fairway Mortgage, Blue Line Athletics, and Serious Steel Fitness.”

As for Hofhiens, she says it doesn’t matter where you start, just as long as you do.

“(When) I started lifting,” says Hofhiens, “I think my highest deadlift was 135 pounds, I remember crying because it was so hard. Now I have a world record 474. It’s not about how you look, it’s about what you can do, the goals you can overcome.”

BA Training has plans for an expansion in the near future and hopes to host bigger events when they do. Managing Editor Nate Sunderland contributed to this article.


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