Fergus to host international weightlifting competition this summer

FERGUS – Chris Frappier is inviting people to step outside their comfort zones and realize their own strength at the True North True Strength 2024 Open.

It’s an international weightlifting competition, the first of its kind in Canada, set to take place on Aug. 25 at Fergus’ Anytime Fitness (735 Tower St. S.). 

And it’s open to men and women of all abilities. 

“You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete. You don’t have to be the strongest or the most confident. What matters is your willingness to try, to grow, and to become the best version of yourself,” Frappier writes about the competition.  

The event is sanctioned by the United States All-Round Weightlifting Association (USAWA), but organized by Frappier, a Fergus resident. 

He broke a world weightlifting record at the USAWA HackenDinnie Classic in Kentucky last year. 

After returning home, with encouragement from HackenDinnie organizer Clint Poore, Frappier realized he wanted to give his community a chance to compete in something similar “and give people locally a chance to set a world record. 

“I love this community, I love Canada,” Frappier told the Advertiser. “This is an opportunity to give back to the local community and give people a chance to try something different.

“We didn’t have a lot when I was younger,” he said “And we had some hard times in the family.” 

He wants to give locals something he wishes he had when he was young. 

People tend to underestimate their own potential, but weightlifting provides an opportunity for  people to push their limits and prove themselves, Frappier said.  

“This weightlifting competition … isn’t just about lifting weights. 

“Its about embracing a challenge, discovering your inner strength, and joining a community that celebrates every step of your journey.”  

There is no fee to participate, but competitors must become USAWA members, which costs U.S. $25. 

The  USAWA is a branch of the International All-Round Weightlifting Association (IAWA) that handles all memberships in Canada, Mexico and the United States, Frappier explained. USAWA members can compete in all IAWA events.

The weightlifting associations work towards “preserving the history of odd lifting,” Frappier said – that’s the strong men and women who performed incredible feats at fairs and on street corners in the 1940s and 50s. 

Unlike International Power Lifting, which has five lifts for competitors to chose from,  the USAWA and IAWA include more than 200 different lifts, including pullovers, lateral raises, strict curls, wrist curls, “and all other kinds of really odd looking lifts that I would not try at my age,” Frappier laughed. 

The competition

The Fergus competition will have two parts. The first includes two lifts: the Hackenschmidt floor press and trap bar dead lift. These are different from a traditional bench press or dead lift – they’re safer and take stress off joints, Frappier said. 

The second part will be all about setting and breaking records, and participants can pick any three of the hundreds of possible lifts to go for a record – they just need to let Frappier know ahead of time so he can ensure the required equipment is available. 

Frappier is confident at least one participant will break a world record during the event – “probably a local woman.” 

Some lifts don’t yet have  official records (as they must be set with USAWA or IAWA officials present), so some competitors may pick records that come with a blank slate. 

Three officials will attend the Fergus competition, all travelling from the United States because there aren’t any all-round weightlifting certified officials in Canada – yet. 

But on June 2, Frappier and his son Kyle are set to complete the three levels of practical sessions needed to become certified officials. They’re set to receive their certification a few weeks later and become Canada’s first USAWA certified officials. 

“So we can reduce costs drastically if someone else in the area wants to do this in the future,” he said, as a big portion of event costs currently go towards officials’ travel and accommodation.

Frappier is looking for local businesses to become community sponsors, and has launched a GoFundMe page (gofundme.com/f/support-canadas-next-world-record-holders). 

“Every dollar helps,” he said, and to date local sponsors have contributed $2,000. 

If Frappier surpasses his fundraising goal of $5,500, he will donate all additional funds to Centre Wellington 100 Women Who Care.  

Registration for the True North True Strength 2024 Open is capped at 45 people, and so far 25 have signed up. 

Empowering women

Frappier is hopeful the competition will empower more women to compete, in honour of his mother. 

“My mom went through a lot,” he said. “She was a small but mighty woman.” 

Frappier was blown away by the strength of the sole woman to participate in the Kentucky competition, and he did some research into other women weightlifting, but found through records and newspaper articles that very few women compete. 

“Let’s try to change that,” he said. 

Through the True North True Strengthen 2024 Open, Frappier wants to “give women a chance they don’t usually have,” as strength training is typically “dominated by males.” 

So far, eight women have signed up to compete, and one of the three officials is a woman.

Some spectators will be able to attend the event, but space is limited and will go to competitors’ family members before the public.

Frappier says he understands people’s reservations about competing – “the fear of the unknown, the worry of not feeling prepared or skilled enough.

“But let me tell you something: the most rewarding moments in life often come when we push ourselves beyond what we thought was possible.

“So, to those who feel intimidated I urge you to take this leap of faith. Join us in making history by being part of Canada’s first ever sanctioned weightlifting competition.” 

For more information or to register, visit usawa.com/true-north-true-strength-2024-open/, follow @truenorth-truestrength on Instagram, or contact Frappier at 226-821-1740 or stonedreams53@gmail.com.