Orem firefighter wins strongman competition
StoryDiscussionImage (2)Orem firefighter wins strongman competition
Jim Dalrymple - Daily Herald Daily Herald |
Orem fire fighter Kevin Wilkey poses for a photo outside of the Lindon Fire Station Monday, Mar. 14, 2010 in Lindon. Wilkey placed first in the Military, Law Enforcement and Fireman categories at the Metroflex Strongman Competition in Houston, Texas last February. ANDREW VAN WAGENEN/Daily
OREM -- An Orem firefighter recently put his muscles to the test and bested up to 40 strapping strongmen at a Texas competition.
On Feb. 19, Bloxx Energy flew firefighter Kevin Wilkey to Houston to vie in the Metroflex Strongman Competition. Wilkey competed in the Military, Law Enforcement and Fireman category and took first place in the viking press, the duck walk, the fire hydrant carry and the truck pull. He also took second place in the tire flip. Wilkey said the event included competitors from Utah, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and New York.
Wilkey explained that the Viking press is a shoulder press event, for which he lifted a 210-pound log 19 times. The duck walk, he said, involved dangling 345 pounds between his legs and carrying it 50 feet. The fire hydrant carry required him to lug a chain-filled hydrant 175 feet in 30 seconds, and for the truck pull he dragged a 19-foot Uhaul truck 100 feet in 23 seconds.
To prepare for the competition, Wilkey said he has been training with Mapleton resident and America's Strongest Man champion Van Hatfield. Wilkey said that with Hatfield's training he has focused both on intense weight lifting as well as techniques specific to strongman competitions.
"What we do is what a lot of people do at the gym," Wilkey said, "we just multiply the weight by two or three. But it's not all strength, it's a lot of technique. Most people can flip a big tire, but it's knowing how to grab it and where to put your effort."
But building up muscle mass and learning how to use it does more than make Wilkey a champion competitor. His supervisor, engineer Tracy Christensen, said that between structure fires and medical calls, firefighting involves a lot of heavy lifting. Wilkey's strength and stature, Christensen said, gives him an added professional advantage because he is always capable of lifting heavy loads.
"Kevin is a go-to guy," Christensen said. "He's an example to us all."
Wilkey said that his strength allows him to fill a particular role in the department. While smaller firefighters might be sent into tight areas, Wilkey said his team members count on him to be a heavy lifter.
"In firefighting," he said, "especially being one of the bigger guys, you're expected to be able to lift more stuff."
Wilkey added that his strength means he also can help his fellow firefighters if anything ever goes wrong.
"If we're ever in a fire and my partner goes down, I know I can lift four times his body weight," he said. "I can pick you up, no worries."
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