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Getting fit at the fair
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Captain Jamie Brown shows them how it’s done in the tire flip portion of the Fireman Olympics Monday night. - photo by Bethany Porter

Most people think about food when the Warren County A & L Fair comes around every year, but there were plenty of athletes who showed up Sunday ready to get fit.

The first-ever Fittest of the Fair was held over the weekend at the Steve Grandey Arena. The event, full of athletes young and old grinding through workouts, was put on to raise money for the John Upchurch Scholarship fund.

Highland CrossFit, formerly owned by Upchurch before his passing in Oct. 2021 and now operated by Linsey Cornelius Youngblood and J Wilson, partnered with the fair to host the event. Youngblood, an avid fitness athlete who regularly joins in on the action, thought it was a great success in the first year.

“It went really, really well. I think we had a great turnout for the first one and the general consensus was it went pretty smoothly,” said Youngblood. “We were competing during the Baby Show and every chance I got a chance to look around, it seemed like several people were on the fence watching us as well.”

Overall, 27 athletes who wanted to test their limits in Fair-themed events competed Sunday. Youngblood and Wilson put them through three rigorous events, all showcasing the speed, stamina and strength of the competitors.

The first event had the athletes take two laps around the arena, complete a 100-meter farmer carry and do burpees on either side of hay bale towers set up for leaping. Between each burpee, the athletes had to get over the towers, which were stacked four high for males and three high for females. 

After doing 10 burpees, the athletes did another farmer carry and two more laps to complete the event.

Youngblood noted that the majority of the competitors completed Round 1 in the 10-minute time limit, an impressive feat considering the sheer workload required in the event.

Four tires, all going up in weight, awaited the competitors in the second event. With just a minute to compete, the athletes had to flip the smallest tire eight times, then flip two more heavier tires six and four times, respectively. When they arrived at the heaviest tire, it was a test to see how many times they could get it turned over before time ran out.

“We were able to do that individually so all our competitors got to watch each other and cheer. It was a lot of fun,” said Youngblood about the tires, which was donated by the Co-Op.

The final event was a kettlebell challenge where athletes did 25 sit-ups, 20 kettlebell swings, 15 goblet squats and 10 kettlebell clean and jerk while alternating with lunges. It was snake-style, two-round event where the athletes went down in reps the first time through, then had to turn around and do it over again starting with the 10 lunges and working their way back to the 25 sit-ups.

“We had a seven-minute time limit on it and we had some who finished, but you could tell the exhaustion was setting in the third event while lifting the kettlebells,” said Youngblood, who noted the men’s kettlebells were 53 pounds and the kettlebells for female competitors were 35 pounds.

It was a family affair for many athletes, all of which seemed to enjoy the outdoor setting at the fair and challenges of the events. Father and son duo Casey Williamson and Nate Williamson each took away trophies in their respective divisions, with Casey topping the Male 40+ division and Nate coming through as the top high school male.

There was also Callie and Cayden Pack showing out. Callie was the top female finisher in the 26-39 age group and she watched as her son was named the top 4-5 grade division winner as Cayden represented Centertown school.

Brothers Merek and Micah McColloch spent their day dueling to be the top overall male, with the younger Merek ultimately pulling away. Micah was named the top male athlete in the 26-39 age division.

Casey Agee, representing VitalityFit Gym in Smithville, was the overall female winner.

Youngblood hopes to continue the event in the coming years and is hopeful the contest can grow into another great feature at the local fair. 

“I heard great things and everybody was super excited. We had a lot of Highland Rim athletes, but we also had some join us too from other areas. We had one woman who is traveling the country with her family who heard about it from her sister and joined us at the gym all last week before competing. That was really cool,” said Youngblood.