Test your strength during Catfish Days

    The 6th annual Catfish Days Strong Man competition which will be held at Saturday, July 22 at the Water Street Fitness center, 315 N. Water St., is open for registration.
    Entry fees are $60, with all of the proceeds going to help Our Caring Closet, a Wilmington charity.
    Event organizer Larry Readman will take entries up to the day of the event, admitting that the final week before the event is usually busier with sign-ups.
    Participants will get the chance to display their strength, and will also receive a meet T-shirt, showcasing Catfish Days. Along with the entry shirt, participants that finish in the top three through each division will also qualify for the Illinois Strongest Man 2017.
    “We are attracting them from far away this year,” said Readman. “We have six so far. We have two guys from Kentucky, one from Cleveland, a woman from Chicago, and a local, Matt Heck.”
    Readman will also be trying to get some of his high school powerlifters to enter the event, but it will depend on how they feel after their I-8 competition.
    As for the meet, Readman has continued his tweaking of the events, dumping some events and bringing in new ones.
    This year’s four events will include a bench press, farmers carry, deadlift, and stones lifted over a bar.
    “We are doing a bench press, which isn’t something you usually do in strongman, but for me I am tried of axle press, log press and dumbbell press,” Readman said. “I included it, so bench press and deadlift will be two of them, then we have farmers carry and stone over a bar. So you have half powerlifting, half strongman.”
    Like previous years, each event was hand picked to test a certain attribute of strength, with a press event, one that tests grip strength, and others that test lifting endurance.
    Whatever the events, Readman is continuously thinking of how to make the competition bigger and better than the previous years.
    “Next year I am thinking of an arm over arm, where you brace yourself and pull the vehicle towards you,” he said. “Those are pretty interesting, so maybe we can get a Hummer or something. That will be next year I think.”
    The competition is open to men and women, with different divisions, including lightweight, middleweight, heavyweight, super heavyweight, open, teen and masters.
    To register, applicants can go to www.ilstrongman.com, or call Larry Readman at 815-476-9814 any day before 7 p.m.
    “Anybody that wants to jump in and do it, they can just do one event if they want,” Readman added. “There isn’t very many people, so you can do one, two, three, or all the events. People can just try whatever they want.”
    Readman would also like to thank the sponsors of the event that help Our Caring Closet considerably, those include Francis Insurance, Oak Knoll and PQ Corp from Joliet.