This Saturday, 210 athletes will push their strength to the limit in the Okanagan Valley Throwdown at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Among the CrossFit athletes are locals Dustin Minty, Ryan Harris and Ashley Bone.
Minty, a referee and linesman in the BCHL and Western Hockey League, began doing CrossFit (which combines Olympic weight lifting, gymnastics, and high intensity interval training with other sport specific movements and challenges) to shed 55 pounds. Minty now weighs approximately 195 pounds. He has excelled with the training and is now doing it to remain in prime condition.
Minty, a Summerland resident, and the other athletes will complete up to five different activities. The first on Friday is a surprise and isn’t open to the public.
The first workout Saturday morning is called Saturday Morning Chores. Athletes will have eight minutes to complete as many laps as possible of the following circuit – 15 squats with a 20-pound ball throwing it to a height of 10 feet, 15 barbell presses with 135-pounds, 15 box jumps to a height of 24 inches, run 65 feet with a 70-pound kettlebell and do 15 kettlebell swings overhead, run back and do 15 more kettlebell swings. Athletes will get one point for each repetition completed in the allowed time.
The second workout is called Snatch and Everything After. This involves the Olympic weightlifting event “Snatch” where an athlete lifts as much weight as possible on a barbell from the floor to over their head in one movement. This is a test of strength, flexibility and speed. Once athletes have achieved their max lift, they will have any time remaining to do as many doubleunders (one jump with two rotations of the rope) with the skipping rope, which will be used as a tiebreaker in the event that two athletes lift the same weight.
The third workout is Hell Grace. In the Crossfit community, the workout Grace is an international bench mark workout where the athlete is required to do 30 repetitions of clean and jerk (the second Olympic weightlifting event) as fast as possible with 135-pounds. In Hell Grace athletes will have 10 minutes to complete 10 repetitions at 115-pounds then take that weight and lunge across the surface and back before adding weight to total 135-pounds before repeating the process, and then adding weight a third time to total 155-pounds before repeating the process a third and final time. If they complete this task in under 10 minutes, athletes will then proceeed to the 15-foot climbing rope and climb up it as many times as possible in the remaining time.
“It’s definitely going to be an intense day,” said Minty, entering his first fitness competition. “Hopefully (I have) enough energy for the whole day. It’s going to be fun. I don’t really know what to expect.”
Brent Hayter, competitive director for the Okanagan Valley Throwdown, said one of the things with crossfit is that you’re supposed to be prepared for anything.
Harris, an RCMP officer the last six years in Penticton, is looking to put his skills to the test and compete against others.
“I think it’s going to be a good event for cross fit, good way to promote the sport in the area and in B.C.,” said the New Brunswick native. “I think it’s going to challenge you in every way.”
Harris, 32, will have the support of his RCMP colleagues, who followed suit in joining him for crossfit classes.
“It’s good for our job. It’s a well-rounded sport,” said Harris, who started doing cross fit 10 months ago. “I think it’s going to be an amazing event.”
Bone, a 24-year-old nurse from Summerland who has been doing CrossFit for 1.5 years, is ready to have fun.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how far I have come since I started CrossFit,” said Bone. “I’m not expecting to win. Meet some new people.”
Hayter is excited. He feels that people will enjoy watching because they like seeing athletic feats.
“CrossFit itself is a very exciting sport to watch because it’s a combination of different sports and just the intensity of it,” he said. “It’s not a long, slow event.”
The Okanagan Valley Throwdown has an individual open, individual competitive and team category. The top seven men and women in each advance to the final. The top seven teams will also have a chance to compete in the final. Athletes accumulate points based on how they rank. Those finishing first in an activity get zero points. The athlete with the lowest points at the end wins. Points count from the entire day.
“At the higher levels you need to be good at everything,” said Hayter. “You can’t just be a good distance runner or just a good weight lifter.”
Hayter is hoping the event attracts a large crowd to have the energy in the building.
The finals begin at 4:30 p.m. with team finals at 6.
Tickets are available in the SOEC at the Valley First box office. Single tickets are $5, $15 for a family of four. Half the proceeds go to the South Okanagan Children’s Charity.