By PJ Perez

Alice native, Sam Rodriguez competed over the weekend at the USS Alabama Dixie Stomp Strongman Completion in Foley, Alabama. Rodriguez placed second overall and his trainer, Kevin Tamez, from Snap Fitness Gym, place third overall.

This was Rodriguez’ second ever event, having competed in January in Austin where the two finished second and third as well.

"We did this one because it’s an XPC qualifier and we’re hoping to qualify for the big show," Rodriguez said. "We competed in the novice bracket because we’re new to it but come to find out you only qualify for the Arnold if you compete in the open bracket."

The Arnold Amateur, sponsored by Rogue Fitness and named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a NPC bodybuilding and fitness competition held yearly and is attended by Schwarzenegger himself.

Originally, there was 300 to 400 competitors signed up but due to recent events with the COVID-19 outbreak, Rodriguez said the was fewer than 100 competitors at the Dixie Stomp.

Rodriguez first event was the "Dead Lift", which was done in 40 pound increments. His second was the "Truck Pull," which utilized a mid-size pickup truck and had to be pulled from a seated position a distance of 50 feet. His was the quickest time at 21 seconds. The third event was the "Monster Dumbbell."

"That one was a 120 pound dumbbell and you have 20 seconds to to completely clean and press it overhead as many times as you can for 60 seconds," Rodriguez said. "I did that for 13 reps. I blew everybody out of the water. The next closest to me was 9 reps."

Other events were the "Farmer’s Handle" and the "sandbag Toss."

Thirty-two year old Rodriguez, who is married to wife April and the father of Juaquin, Kiera and Karissia, started training with Tamez about two and a half years ago for health reasons.

"I started going to the gym because I was sick," Rodriguez said. "My doctor told me that I needed surgery or to lose weight and I didn’t want to be put under the knife so I told him to give me a couple of months and I’ll change my ways."

"So I started going to the gym to lose weight and started getting strong and this is where I’m at now," Rodriguez said.

According to Rodriguez, the competition season is over until August but he continues to train and prepare for the next event.

"There’s a couple of competitions in August that we’re looking at," Rodriguez said. "I think our next is going to be Silver City, New Mexico."

"For the off-season, we’re just going to try to lean out, get stronger all around and not really do any competition movements, just basics,"

Rodriguez was never an athlete before and according to him, all this is new to him when it comes to competitive sports.

"I’ve never been in the position I am right now," Rodriguez said. "I’m not doing this for fame or anything. I just love going to the gym."

"I see what my max is one day and then I go on and fight to pick it up the next day. It’s like my drug."