Meet one man fighting for the title of BC’s strongest

Kelowna’s strongest go head-to-head in weightlifting competition

Ryan Stickel started watching World’s Strongest Man with his grandfather when he was five years old.

And now, at 33, he has nearly a decade of competitive weightlifting under his belt.

“I just loved it ever since,” the Fort St. John resident told Kelowna10. He was among dozens competing for the title of Kelowna’s Strongest in City Park.

Weights clanged, and crowds cheered as weightlifters from all over British Columbia tested their mettle.

A grueling gauntlet of five separate strength challenges awaited him, but Stickel was well prepared for what would be thrown at him.

The first round of competition employed specialized weights, such as the log, a far heavier and slightly more awkward barbell, a 205-pound block, as well as a traditional axle barbell.

“I actually I got a buddy that's a welder, so I made my own log and I've got an actual [log] at the gym that I go to in town,” he said. “We didn't have a block, that was a new implement, but we do have sandbags, so we just use sandbags in place of the block. And I felt like it helped quite a bit having the uneven press and finding the balance.”

Weightlifting can be an incredibly physically taxing experience, but Stickel said you just have to be in tune with your body and know when enough is enough.

“There’s a difference between hurt and injured,” Stickel said. “You have to make sure you know the line. But they do have staff here ready to do massage and look after you between events. So I think that’s going to be the key, especially coming into the later events.”

Stickel’s aspirations for the competition were high, citing his age as a driving force for his efforts.

“I'm not the youngest kid anymore,” he explained. “If I'm going to make a push at something, now's the time. Basically, try to do as well as I can at this and get to provincials and then go from there.”

Stickel placed second in the men’s open category, giving him his chance to compete at the BC’s Strongest Man competition.

Published 2023-06-07 by Robin Liva

Get a fresh daily look

See what’s happening in and around our city, and the people who call it home.

Our newsroom abides by the RTNDA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and follows the Canadian Press Stylebook. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to send us a news tip, please contact us.

Kelowna10 is division of Pattison Media, and strives to achieve the highest ethical standards in all that we do.