The Arnold Strongman USA Championship will return to the Santa Monica Pier this Saturday, January 18 and its bringing some of the strongest men in the world who will compete alongside 10 firefighters looking to prove they are just as tough.

The inaugural Arnold Strongman USA Championship was held last January on the pier, where a sold-out crowd chock-full of celebrities, local residents and first-responders witnessed Martins Licis take home the title.

Competitors in this year’s event are once again seeking to claim their stake in the 2020’s Arnold Strongman Classic but they are also competing to support the men and women who fight to protect the world from wildfires.

“Unlike other strongman competitions, Santa Monica’s event features two competitions occurring at the same time,” said personal aide Noah Justin. “There are the professionals in the Arnold Strongman USA Championship and the amateurs who are participating in the World’s Strongest Firefighter portion.”

Started by Arnold Schwarzenegger in an effort to highlight the strength that firefighters have, the World’s Strongest Firefighter competition is comprised of ten random firefighters from around the world, “who essentially won a sweepstakes, who love to lift weights and they’re going to compete in the same show but with about half the weight,” Justin said, mentioning money raised during the event is used to benefit three different benevolent funds — the Ventura County Fire Department Widows, Orphans & Assistance fund, CalFire’s benevolent foundation and the Santa Monica Firefighters Relief Fund.

“Incorporating firefighters into the Arnold strongman competition highlights how firefighters are industrial athletes,” CalFire’s Nick Ciardella said in a promotional video where he likened firefighters to marathon runners.

Saturday’s event is expected to feature various tests of strength, but organizers said there will be much more for attendees to enjoy. After all, the main goal of the competition is to raise money for charity and to give firefighters the spotlight that they deserve.

Weightlifter Miles Taylor, who’s viral deadlift video has been shared by thousands across the country, will be in attendance to share an inspirational word and again look to break one of his personal records, according to Justin. Eric Stevens, a former Los Angeles Rams football player and firefighter, is also expected to address the participants during the event and share his remarkable comeback story.

“In light of the recent wildfire situation in Australia, we’d be remiss if we didn’t speak on that during the event,” Justin said, describing yet another surprise that’s cooked up for Saturday. “As you see, it’s much more than an event with big guys lifting big weights. It’s more about showcasing the love that’s there in the community for the firefighters because they are the true heroes.”

brennon@smdp.com

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