Plans to make the Femsport Whitehorse Challenge an annual event were already in place even before Femsport president Nancy Lockington returned to Vancouver this week.
Twenty-two female athletes from inside and outside the Yukon competed at the first Whitehorse Femsport event, at the Whitehorse Curling Club on Saturday.
Not only does the organization plan to hold the event again next year, there are early indications the number of competitors is going to increase.
“We had some amazing feedback. It was all positive,” said Lockington. “Now that everyone knows what it is and they’ve seen it firsthand, it’s triggered quite an interest. (Whitehorse promoter) Janice (Lockington) and I are already brainstorming what we’re going to do next year.”
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“It was amazing,” said Whitehorse competitor Marianne Phelps. “It’s something you could totally get hooked on instantly.
“I do lots of training at Better Bodies and this is something that is completely different. It’s different from your regular gym workout.”
Femsport is an athletic competition that tests strength, endurance and agility. It’s similar to strong man competitions, but is exclusively for women.
“It’s basically a cross between a strong man show and sports day at school,” said Nancy.
Saturday’s competition was comprised of six timed events. It began with a kettlebell lift: placing increasingly heavy kettlebell weights onto pedestals of varying heights.
Then the tire pull: using a rope to pull a roughly 54-kilograms tire about 23 metres.
Up next were inverted rows, which are a little like chin-ups, but performed on an equalizer bar with feet on the ground, knees bent and the body perpendicular to the ground.
Box jumps came next. In the event athletes jump on and off a box approximately 45 centimetres in height, completing 50 in as short a time as possible.
The second last official event was the tire flip: flipping a tractor tire weighing about 117 kilograms end-over-end five times in a straight line.
“I think the one that I liked the best was the tire flipping,” said Phelps. “It was fun.
“Before you sign up Nancy (Lockington) brings her teams up and trains you a little bit – how to train for a box jump, how to train for a tire flip using regular gym equipment.”
An obstacle course event closed out the competition. The course tested agility, strength and balance, ending with the task of a pushing a car a certain distance.
The event ended with an exhibition tug-of-war contest.
Jessica Barone of Burnaby, B.C., came up for the action and placed second in the open division. (The novice division is strictly for first-time competitors and was exclusively Yukon athletes.)
It was Barone’s seventh Femsport event.
“This one is really good,” said Barone. “The venue is really widespread. Lots of sponsors, lots of people are here. It’s very open – lots of room.
“They’re similar. The energy level is different because it’s so brand new to everybody. The energy level here is like 1,000 per cent, versus Vancouver where it’s a little bit lower.”
It has become common for athletes to travel to the various Femsport events to compete. Open individual winner, Jennifer Russell from Penhold, Alta., is set to compete in four out of the five FemSport competitions scheduled this season.
Femsport currently has five annual events in Western Canada, “And Whitehorse is our newest addition,” said Lockington. “Our next one is in Kamloops (B.C.) and then in Calgary. Then we have an Edmonton show and our final show of the year is in Vancouver.”
Femsport was founded 12 years ago in Vancouver but actually has Whitehorse roots. J.P. Ericksen, who is from Whitehorse but now lives in Vancouver, started an online magazine in 2001. Ericksen and his business partner created the competition to generate content for their website.
“They needed some material for the magazine, so they got a bunch of girls together for a competition,” said Lockington. “After a couple years, they had the content they needed and were willing to give up the FemSport competition. At that time I was competing in it and they said, ‘If you want to take it over, it’s yours.’ So in 2004 I took over FemSport and made it into what it is today.”
Under Nancy poising and routines, like in bodybuilding competitions, were removed in order to focus more on strength and fitness.
Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Carmacks were all represented in Saturday’s event.
“For me the best thing about it is there’s all shapes and sizes, all ages, everyone is on the same page,” said Phelps. “There’s no nasty sides, no fighting. It was a nice family kind of thing … Everybody is cheering for everybody.”
1st Waterstone – Karen Hanna (Whitehorse), Taylor Hanna (Whitehorse), Angela Burke (Whitehorse)
2nd MacKay LLP – Sarah Hanson (Whitehorse), Thoa Pattison (Whitehorse), MichelleBergsma (Whitehorse)
3rd Chub From the Hub – Brittany Weber (Carmacks), Tina Harrison (Carmacks), Rachel Hanna (Watson Lake)
1st Taylor Hanna (Whitehorse)
2nd Michelle Bergsma (Whitehorse)
3rd Angela Burke (Whitehorse)
1st The Rainmakers – Jennifer Russell (Penhold, Alta.), Carmen Reinhardt (Sylvan Lake, Alta.), Shawntal Onneken (Edmonton, Alta.)
2nd The Ladybugs – Jen Hamel (Edmonton, Alta.), Jessica Barone (Burnaby, B.C.), Lyndsey Amundson (Whitehorse)
1st Jennifer Russell (Penhold, Alta.)
2nd Jessica Barone (Burnaby, B.C.)
3rd Carmen Reinhardt (Sylvan Lake, Alta.)
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