Power shift


West Hawaii Today - - Sports - BY MATT GERHART

Un­der over­cast skies and a steady driz­zle, it wasn’t all that hot and steamy for a July Satur­day in Hilo.

Un­less, of course, you were dead­lift­ing cars, toss­ing stones – big boul­ders, ac­tu­ally – and lift­ing heavy metal logs over your head like Bron­son Ti­wanak and Devin Pre­ston were.

Un­der­stand­ably, Ti­wanak wanted a lit­tle re­lief.

“I’m go­ing to find an ice pond,” Ti­wanak said.

If there is one thing Hilo is known for it’s rain. It’s also home to the only sanc­tioned strong­man com­pe­ti­tion in the

state, and heavy lift­ing and mois­ture min­gled for the first time at the Big Is­land Sub­stance Abuse Coun­cil’s fifth an­nual Sum­mer Jam, where a peren­nial cham­pion and a first-time win­ner strong-armed the com­pe­ti­tion at Edith Kanakaole Mul­ti­pur­pose Sta­dium.

Ti­wanak, of Oahu, claimed the heavy­weight di­vi­sion for the third time in four years af­ter fin­ish­ing run­ner-up last sea­son. A lightweight in name only, Hilo’s Pre­ston cap­tured the crown in his fifth try at the event.

“The first year was just to learn and try, and I just fell in love with it,” said Pre­ston, the son of BISAC CEO Dr. Han­nah Pre­ston-Pita and Wa­iakea foot­ball coach Moku Pita.

He was thrown for a few curves Satur­day, such his first try at the yolk event – con­tes­tants had to walk with a spot­ting rack strapped to their backs car­ry­ing ei­ther 600- plus (lightweight) or 800-plus pounds (heavy­weights) – but in some ways Pre­ston has been train­ing for the event since his foot­ball-play­ing days at Wa­iakea.

“A lot of power lift­ing and ex­plo­sive­ness train­ing,” he said, “and you have to work on your con­di­tion­ing. It’s kind of like foot­ball train­ing (for me). “This thing kicks your ass.” The 2014 Wa­iakea grad­u­ate is look­ing into con­tin­u­ing his higher ed­u­ca­tion and he said he’s also worked as a bounty hunter.

His hunt for strong­man glory is over af­ter he won the log press, car dead­lift and stone throw to de­throne the ever-im­pres­sive Sean Gutekanst. The Kailua-Kona na­tive won yoke and fin­ished sec­ond.

“I wanted it bad,” Pre­ston said. “(Sean) is al­ways ahead of me by one. We made each other work. It was a backand-forth bat­tle.”

Ti­wanak was the event win­ner in log press, yolk and stone throw, while peren­nial con­tender Ka­muela Wass­man, also of Oahu, won the farm­ers walk (con­tes­tants carry weight on their sides) and car dead­lift to fin­ish sec­ond.

More of­ten the not, the first four BISAC strong­man com­pe­ti­tion’s took place un­der a blaz­ing sun, and while the over­cast skies were wel­come the rain wasn’t.

“A lot cooler, Ti­wanak said, “but the rain on the stones was most no­tice­able. No mat­ter what they did they couldn’t dry it off.”

He and Pre­ston each ad­vanced to a na­tional strong­man com­pe­ti­tion in Las Ve­gas in Novem­ber.

Ti­wanak fared much bet­ter in the yoke than his first try dur­ing a main­land com­pe­ti­tion.

“You move it 60 meet while it’s wob­bling ev­ery­where,” he said. “You have to keep your body as tight as pos­si­ble. You can just feel the pres­sure on your back.”

An arm wrestling com­pe­ti­tion was also sanc­tioned for the first time. Lionel Molina won the top men’s di­vi­sion and Penny Kaae took the women’s ti­tle. While Kaae was com­pet­ing for the first time, Molina trains for events on Oahu.

“The best prac­tice is arm wrestling,” Molina said. “Work­outs help, but the most suc­cess­ful way to prac­tice is to arm wres­tle other peo­ple.”

Pre­ston-Pita said Sum­mer Jam drew be­tween 3,000 and 4,000 peo­ple.

“Prob­a­bly our event,” she said.

Next year, she said sumo wrestling and power lift­ing events were in the works in what could be­come a two­day Sum­mer Jam.

When it was over, Devin Pre­ston wasn’t look­ing that far ahead. He did, how­ever, have a fa­vorite pas­time of many in mind.

“I’m go­ing to get a big meal and a lot of drinks,” he said. big­gest


Hilo's Devin Pre­ston com­petes in the log press Satur­day dur­ing the strong­man com­pe­ti­tion at the Big Is­land Sub­stance Abuse Coun­cil’s fifth an­nual Sum­mer Jam.

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