FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Local strongman Ryan Stickel came in second place during the 2023 BC’s Strongest Man competition in Comox last weekend and is now training for the Canadian Nationals in October.
Meagan Stickel, Ryan’s wife, said the provincial competition hosted 45 athletes in various gender, weight and experience categories. Ryan’s class, Men’s Open, had eight men weighing over 120 kilograms, or 264 pounds, each.
Every athlete had to qualify in regional competitions to compete at the provincial level.
In Comox, there were five events. Ryan placed first in the car deadlift, lifting an approximately 700-pound vehicle nine times.
In the sandbag toss, where a heavy bag is tossed over a 15-foot pole, he placed fourth.
The tire flip is where three tires weighing 700 pounds, 850 pounds, and 1100 pounds are to be flipped twice. He came fourth in the event after finishing the event a second over the time limit.
The log press is where competitors lift a log weighing 270 pounds over their heads. Meagan said her husband completed nine reps and won first place in the event.
In the max atlas stone event, a large stone is picked up and put over a bar. Ryan maxed out at 370 pounds, tying for second place.
Meagan said the atmosphere at strongman competitions is unlike any she’s seen in any other sport.
“The athletes are so supportive of one another even while competing against each other,” she said.
“Every event, the previous competitors are crowding around screaming, ‘One more rep, get under it!’ Absolutely channelling all their strength to the person lifting.”
She said they all want one another to do well, and it’s inspiring to see.
“For how enormous the men are, collectively, they’re all such a group of friendly giants, very welcoming and eager to promote their sport and widen the network of people passionate about strength,” Meagan said.
“I also met some of the women, and they’re equally as welcoming and encouraging. Everyone is always ready to give advice and encouragement and even share equipment and supplies.”
Even though she doesn’t compete, Meagan said she and their kids have been welcomed with open arms.
Ryan won second place in his division and first in the 120+ kilogram men’s subcategory at the provincial competition, qualifying him for the Canadian Nationals in Winnipeg on October 21st.
“I am so proud, and I can’t believe the dedication, it’s brutal putting your body through that,” Meagan said.
“He pushes through, and he still goes to work, even though yesterday, he lifted 1,000 pounds and his legs feel like they’re breaking, he’ll still go to work the day after, and he never complains.”
To compete in strongman competitions, Ryan has a rigorous training routine.
Meagan said he trains four to five days a week, each session between two and four hours long.
“He’s on the road a lot, working away from home, so he sticks to heavy compounds and stone carries when he can because those are available pretty much anywhere,” she said.
With the national competition coming up, she said his workout routine won’t change much, but he may add more overhead variations and some deficit deadlifts.
“He’s extremely dedicated even while working nearly every single day as an electrician to provide for our family,” Meagan said.
“He worked all day, and then he went to the gym, and then he comes home and puts the kids to bed. He’s just the best dad, and he works so hard.”
The couple has two kids: three-year-old Magnus, named after Ryan’s favourite strongman, Magnús Ver Magnússon and a 10-month-old daughter, Raleigh.
“All his spare time is spent with his family, and we’re so incredibly proud of him,” Meagan added.
“The only thing more impressive than his training, work ethic and love for me and the kids is how much he can eat.”
Meagan also wanted to give Gators Gym and Prevail Athletics shoutouts for letting Stickel use their facilities.
She also wanted to let the community know about two other active strongmen in the community. Leighton Fehr qualified for the provincial competition but could not attend, and Alex Lorincz took 1st place in Grande Prairie’s Strongest Man over the weekend.