By day, she teaches third and fourth graders at McDermid Community School in Regina. By night, she’s flipping 600-pound tires and pressing 180-pound axel bars over her head.
On Sunday, Tracey Halladay proved she’s one of the best strongwomen North America has to offer, and one of the best in Canada.
“It feels surreal … it’s insane,” she said moments after the show. “I don’t even know what to feel yet — happy, sad, excited, everything!”
The 34-year-old was one of four Canadians invited to compete in North America’s Strongest Woman, hosted by Mettle Performance Training Centre in Regina. Five of the top strongwomen in the United States made the trip north to compete as well.
The nine women flipped 600-pound tires, competed in a pressing medley that included a one-arm 120-pound dumbbell press and 220-pound log press, carried a wheelbarrow holding more than 1,000 pounds, competed in a last-woman-standing deadlift that ended at 650 pounds and raced through an atlas stone run — which is throwing giant cement balls that weigh more than 200 pounds over a bar for time.
“Every event was just bone-crushingly heavy, so I think all of us girls were concerned about all of the events, just because they were so heavy. And we’re all kind of on the same level so it was pretty tight at the top (points-wise) for awhile, it really came down to the last event,” Halladay said.
She’s most proud to have won the tire flip in just over 30 seconds because she’s just over five feet tall.
“Definitely most proud of getting first place in the tire flip because I’m really short and usually tall people do better in tire,” she said. “It’s also a win for me because getting first place with this group of girls in one event is amazing for me.”
Being a strongwoman is something Halladay also takes into her classroom at McDermid. Traditionally the sport of strongman has been strictly for men and only in the last five years or so, has it seen significant female growth.
“(My students) all think it’s awesome. In my classroom we’re all about ‘everyone can do anything’ because gender doesn’t matter anymore and, I hope the whole world goes that way. Just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you can’t do atlas stones or flip a 600-pound tire.”
She said she also thinks that women considering lifting weights shouldn’t be intimidated by the crazy feats of strength at the competition and give it a try.
“Everyone has to start somewhere. My chapter 20 is different from your chapter one. You have to start somewhere. You can’t start at the top, everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up,” she said. “Just don’t give up, perseverance!”
The title of North America’s Strongest Woman goes to 25-year-old Kimberly Lawrence of Willington, N.C., Britteny Cornelius of Kokomo, Ind. came in second and Halladay rounded out the top three. In terms of Canadian representation. Calgary’s Allison Lockhart finished fifth, Regina’s Taunia Stevens finished eighth and Montreal’s Joyce Turner finished ninth.
The Top 3 women earned a place to compete at World’s Strongest Woman, an official event put on by the famous Giants Live. It will be Halladay’s second appearance at the competition. Last year the event was held in England.