The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 22, 2014

Strongman competition to lift drug, suicide prevention awareness

WYANDOTTE, Okla. — Strength and speed will come together for drug and suicide prevention awareness on April 19 as Wyandotte residents gear up for the annual Bearskin strongman competition and 5K run.

As a joint effort between the Wyandotte Nation’s Methamphetamine & Suicide Prevention Initiative and the Bearskin Healthcare and Wellness Center, this year’s event is expected to pull participants from across the Four-State Area.

Travis Rhatigan, assistant manager of the wellness center, said that semiannual 5K events, including the April run, have continued to grow over past years.

“I expect about 250 entries into the 5K run and 1K walk, and we had 18 paid contestants in last year’s strongman contest,” Rhatigan said. “Our goal is to bring awareness to the MSPI and, in general, a healthy lifestyle and that is why we keep this open to the general public. We want as many people as possible to attend.”

This year’s 5K race will feature a superhero theme with participants encouraged to dress in costume as their favorite comic book hero. The strongman competition will feature a firetruck pull, a tire flip, a press event, a farmers walk and a car dead-lift in addition to women-only events.

“Our strongman competition is definitely a lot of fun and a lot of people turn out to watch,” Rhatigan said. “This will be the 15th year that we have held it, and it keeps growing.”

While the events are meant to inspire competition and fun, the community awareness for the MSPI can help address deeper issues in area communities.

“The MSPI has been extremely active, and this weekend will serve as a big community service project for them,” Rhatigan said. “They are very dedicated to getting out into the community to find those that need help and this event will help spread their name further.”

Both events will start at the Bearskin Healthcare and Wellness Center at 1 Turtle Drive in Wyandotte. The 5K race will kick off at 8 a.m. Packet pickup starts at 6:30 a.m. Weigh-ins for the two division strongman competition will get under way at 7:30 a.m. The competition starts at 10 a.m.

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