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Strongman competitor from Boardman getting ready for his ESPN2 debut

Shawn Shumaker competed in April's Clash on the Coast, and the highlights will be shown July 4.
Shawn Shumaker BSS Fitness
Shawn Shumaker, co-owner of BSS Fitness and Training in Boardman, competes in the car deadlift event at the Clash on the Coast strongman competition in Hilton Head, S.C., in April. Sunday morning, ESPN2 will show highlights. (Photo provided)

BOARDMAN — Shawn Shumaker is getting ready for his ESPN2 closeup on the Fourth of July.

In April, the 2010 Youngstown State University graduate competed in the Clash on the Coast strongman contest in Hilton Head, S.C.

Sunday, ESPN2 will show the Clash on the Coast finals, beginning at 11 a.m.

The co-owner of Team BSS Training & Fitness, Shumaker, a member of the Boardman High School Class of 2000, finished fourth in a field that featured 32 of the world’s best under 105-kilogram athletes.

“I’m extremely proud of my performance and pleased that I was able to go head-to-head with the world’s best strongman competitors,” Shumaker said. “It was an experience I’ll never forget and I want to thank my wife, Brandy, and daughter, Alice, for their inspiration, motivation and support.”

Shumaker said this is his third national strongman competition. The first two were the Official Strongman Games where he finished 7th in 2018 in Raleigh, N.C., and 6th in 2019 at Daytona Beach, Fla.

Shumaker said he's mostly "excited" about seeing the competition and probably will watch with a few close friends.

"Part of me doesn't want to watch it because I don't want to hear the commentators talking about me," Shumaker said, laughing. "At the same time, I'm curious. I want to see how the production was done."

In April, Shumaker survived a qualifying process to become one of 11 finalists for the Clash on the Coast title. Over three days, Shumaker battled top-flight competitors in these tests of strength:

  • Log/Block/Inch Dumbbell for Reps;
  • Duck Walk/Farmer’s Carry;
  • Sandbag Carry and Chain Drag;
  • Keg Toss;
  • Axle Squat;
  • Odd Object Loading Medley;
  • Max Axle Press;
  • Fingal’s Fingers;
  • Frame Carry (using a car);
  • Car Deadlift;
  • Trump Stone for Reps Car carry.

The competition was livestreamed so about half of the members of Shumaker's gym were watching on a projection screen. They texted support and encouragement.

"That was cool – every day they got together for a watch party," Shumaker said.

Daughter Alice, 7, was his cheerleader at the competition.

"It makes you push a little harder because you want to make her proud," he said.

Cameras were everywhere but Shumaker said he was so focused on what he was trying to accomplish "that I had no idea. My daughter was there the whole time and she was literally the only thing I heard.

"But then as soon as you are done and you are out of that zone, everything hits you, there are cameras in your face," Shumaker said. "You try not to stumble around and look weird."

He's looking forward to watching the loading medley and car deadlift events.

"The loading medley, we actually did on the sand at the beach," he said. "We had to carry a handful of objects and load them up on a pedestal. It was really tough, something I had never done before — running and carrying 300-pound objects in the sand."

His favorite event was the car deadlift where he crushed the competition.

"It's extraordinarily heavy," Shumaker said. "The first guy got zero reps and then I went and got 11."

Only two others scored at least two reps.

"So that was kinda fun," he said, adding that Frame Carry was not. 

"We were strapped into a car with a harness and we had to carry this car — sort of like 'The Flintstones,' basically," Shumaker said. "It was crushing. 

"I was so happy when the time was up and to be out of that thing and be done."

Believe it or not, Shumaker did not compete for the Spartans in any sport.

"I started weight-training when I was 14," Shumaker said. "In hindsight, I wish I would have [played a varsity sport]."

Low self-esteem was a factor. What he liked about weight-training was "control."

He said: "The harder I worked, I saw the benefits. If I worked really hard, I came out stronger and I'd look a little bit better."

Shumaker specializes in functional training, iron sports training and competition coaching as well as overall strength gain.

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