Brad Shepherd has flipped tires in parking lots, trained anywhere he could find weights and travelled to Calgary weekly all in preparation for Canada’s Strongest Man.
The 35-year-old Red Deer strongman will head to Plantagenet, Ont. this weekend and test his skills against the best competitors in the country. He has podium dreams but first-timer expectations for only his second professional show.
“If I can finish in the top half, it will be a success,” he said.
“Last year out of the west one of the top performers managed to pull off a seventh. If I can beat that I’ll be happy. If I can hit the podium, I’ll be a whole lot happier.”
Shepherd also explained that his new coach, who has been with him for five competitions has really helped get him into shape for the biggest Canadian stage in his sport.
He’ll face off against some legends in the game, including one of his idol Jean-Francois Caron (World’s Strongest Man title holder) and Jimmy Paquet. Caron has been Canada’s strongest man for the last six years.
“You have to up your game. The training changes. Your weight changes and your whole mindset has to change because if it doesn’t you get left in the dust and you might as well have stayed home,” Shepherd said.
Quebec gets six entries into the competition while Atlantic Canada, Western Canada and Ontario each get three.
The competition will be broken up into two days. On the first day competitors will try their hand at truck pull, log press, keg toss and atlas stones and on day two – power stairs, yoke walk, car deadlift and a medley to finish the day.
Most of his events this season have been one day, so the newbie professional is eager to see how his body will hold up over the two days.
“Definitely changed things so we’ll see. It’s the first time I’ve had to do it this way,” he said.
”Instead of my normal training, I’ll go to Calgary and do six events. Basically I do a competition once a week and really punish myself. Hopefully it conditions me to compete and do better.”
The action gets underway on Sept. 16.