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World’s Strongest Man event coming to Bradenton, AMI this week. Here’s what you need to know

Strongman falls to ground after pulling two monster trucks

Ken McClelland pulled two monster trucks a ways down Bradenton's 12th Street West June 12th before falling to the ground and grabbing his calf muscle. The World's Strongest Man competition begins June 13, 2019.
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Ken McClelland pulled two monster trucks a ways down Bradenton's 12th Street West June 12th before falling to the ground and grabbing his calf muscle. The World's Strongest Man competition begins June 13, 2019.

The beaches of Anna Maria Island and Bradenton’s Old Main Street are set to host the Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man competition, which starts Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Competitors for the World’s Strongest Man competition, held annually since 1977, qualify based on placing in the top three in Giants Live events each year.

This year’s World’s Strongest Man competition will see 25 of the sport’s most-dominant strength athletes compete for the title. From pulling trucks to lifting and pressing logs, the challenges are designed to push the competitors to their limits, testing their physical strength, their agility and mental toughness.

Competition will be spread over four days and will include three days of qualifiers and a one-day finale.

Look for the athletes to pull monster trucks weighing more than 30,000 pounds, deadlift more than 650 pounds and toss 150-pound kettle bells.

The field of athletes will include the reigning WSM champion and star of “Game of Thrones” Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, four-time champion Brian Shaw of the U.S., and Poland’s Mateusz Kieliszkowski, the 2018 runner-up.

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Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, reigning World’s Strongest Man champion and star of “Game of Thrones,” will be seeking to defend his title in Manatee County, starting Thursday. Provided photo

The public is invited to watch all competitions, free of charge.

Qualifying is set for:

9 a.m. on Thursday on Old Main Street, south of Manatee Avenue near the historic courthouse in downtown Bradenton.

9 a.m. on Friday on Coquina Beach, Anna Maria Island.

9 a.m. on Saturday at Manatee Public Beach, Anna Maria Island.

The finale is planned for 8 a.m. on Sunday at Manatee Public Beach, Anna Maria Island.

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Hafthor Julius Bjornsson (center), reigning World’s Strongest Man champion and star of “Game of Thrones,” will be seeking to defend his title in Manatee County, starting Thursday. Also shown are last year’s runner-up Mateusz Kieliszkowski (left) of Poland, and four-time champion Brian Shaw of the U.S. Provided photo

There will be five events in each qualification round and all of the groups will be doing the same five events, a change from years past. The five events: truck pull, super yoke and farmer’s walk medley, overhead press, deadlift and last man standing.

In the finale at Manatee Public Beach, the events include loading race (medley), deadlift hold, overhead press (medley), squat lift and Atlas stones.

“As with any event bringing visitors to the Bradenton area and supported by the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, economic impact is always the main goal,” Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Elliott Falcione said in a press release.

Merchants on Old Main Street, where the competition opens, seemed happy to share the event with Anna Maria Island.

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Three days of qualifying for the World’s Strongest Man competition in Bradenton and Anna Maria Island will include the truck pull. Shown is Matjaz Belsak in the 2018 competition. Provided photo


“It gives us an opportunity to showcase everything great about Manatee County,” said Thomas Stynes, owner of the Bad Ass Cafe, McCabe’s Irish Pub and the Market on Main Street. “It’s a world event. I think it is tremendous. People will swarm to and flock to that. I am just delighted.”

Ty Harris, owner of Tytan Comics, also was pleased.

“It’s going to be fun to see something so different. It will draw a lot of people with the ‘Game of Thrones’ thing,” Harris said.

Stephanie Shenefield of Old Main Pub said she has always watched the World’s Strongest Man on TV, and her friends have been talking about the Bradenton production.

“I think it will be cool to watch,” she said.

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Brian Shaw of the United States carries a 275-pound anvil in the 2018 World’s Strongest Man competition. Provided photo

The World’s Strongest Man competition not only will bring the athletes and their families, but also coaches, trainers and potentially thousands of spectators who will stay at area hotels, explore the beaches, partake in activities and dine at restaurants throughout the destination, Falcione said.

In addition to the short-term benefit from increased visitation and economic impact, the area should also benefit from return visits in the future, he said.

“Supporting World’s Strongest Man was a strategic decision from a destination marketing perspective. With an estimated international viewership of more than 220 million, a strong presence in top feeder market (the UK) and an audience that aligns with our destination’s target visitor, brand exposure will be great, leading (again) to increased visitation, hotel stays and overall economic impact following the airing of the event,” Falcione said.

Coverage of the 2019 event will be broadcast worldwide to more than 70 countries and territories.

The annual Tachi Palace World's Strongest Man Competition will be held over four days in Bradenton. One of the more famous competitors will be Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, four-time champion and known for his role as The Mountain on Game of Thrones.

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