Horowhenua Strongman is here to stay.
The introduction of a popular Strongman competition to the recent Horowhenua AP&I Show proved such a huge hit that it is poised to become an ongoing feature at the annual event.
Strongman Horowhenua drew a large field of athletes - both men and women - from all over New Zealand, and it attracted crowds to match that were never less than two or three deep around the perimeter.
The inaugural running of the competition proved a showstopper, and was duly voted first place in the Trade and Display section of show.
Watching men and women grunt, sweat and push the limits of their strength and endurance through a variety of tasks was mesmerising. A well organised and well run competition, you could not turn away from.
Horowhenua AP&I Show secretary Jill Timms said the committee were impressed at how popular the competition was and how professionally it was run.
"We've had such positive feedback about the event from the public," she said.
Timms said the organisers had some new ideas for next year's event and were really organised and easy to deal with.
"We can't fault it," she said.
Organised by Levin man Stephen Burnell, himself a strongman, the competition involved some quirky events like a 135kg anvil walk and a fire engine pull, which went down well with the athletes and spectators alike.
Weighing 14 tonnes, it proved a real test although there were just two competitors throughout the entire competition that were unable to get it rolling.
Burnell said the overall winners were consistent across all the different strongman tasks and were rewarded for that consistency.
"If you had a dud event it was really hard to then take out the overall competition," he said.
The overall winners of the open competition happened to be a brother and sister from Palmerston North.
Eru Wirihana was consistent over the tasks to take first place ahead of Byron Konia of Wellington and Peter Darin Scott, also from Wellington.
His sister Shayna Wirihana beat Hinewai Hausman, also from Palmerston North, while Toni Baker, who lives in Christchurch but was originally from Levin, was third.
Kyp Kotzikas from Christchurch showed why he was one of the best in New Zealand in the weight division by taking out the under-105kg men's event ahead of Tyler Simpson from Wellington, with Chris Riddiford from Christchurch in third.
Riddiford's effort turned heads. He did well to get among the medals in the 105kg grade considering he was weighted under 90kg. It was a huge result in the context of the competition.
There was a large contingent of locals that entered, but carrying the flag was Slade Salton from Levin with his excellent effort to place second in the novice men.
Photographer Kat Nightingale from Wellington was third in the novice women's event behind Seirosa Utailesolo and Abby Meehan. She somehow managed to grab bronze and take more than 5000 photos of the event.
The under 82kg women's event was won by Auckland's Vendy Vespalcova, formerly of the Czech Republic.
Former New Zealand title holder Carl Waitoa provided live commentary throughout the competition.
Novice Women: 1 Seirosa Utailesolo. 2 Abby Meehan. 3 Kat Nightingale.
Under 82kg women: 1 Vendy Vespalcova. 2 Nicole Bennett.
Open Women: 1 Shayna Wirihana. 2 Hinewai Hausman. 3 Toni Baker.
Novice Men: 1 Henry Bakker. 2 Slade Salton. 3 Rohan Clark.
Under 105kg Men: 1 Kyp Kotszikas. 2 Tyler Simpson. 3 Chris Reddiford.
Open Men: 1 Eru Wirihana. 2 Byron Konia. 3 Peter Darin Scott.