August, 2000

What better place than the harsh, rugged foothills of the Adirondack mountains to cultivate a physique for performing herculean feats of strength. Such extraordinary feats were showcased last fall by Hague, NY (near Ticdonderoga) native Rick Belden, when he earned the title of World's Strongest Man in the Battle of the Titans world strongman contest in Florida.

Belden, who tosses around 400-pound boulders like shot puts, pulled a 40,000-pound tractor-trailer 20 feet up a slight incline in 15.6 seconds, faster than all 37 other competitors, and only eight-tenths of a second off the world record. He won an astounding seven out of eight events on his way to the title, including pushing a 500-pound wheelbarrow, and running with 200-pound kegs of beer (personally, my favorite event). And astonishingly, it was Belden's very first strongman contest.

Now a 6' 5", 287-pound resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, Beldon grew up in Ticonderoga cutting logs and moving timber with his father. In a recent interview by the Plattsburgh Press-Republican he recalls that when he was growing up, "I thought everywhere else was better and Ticonderoga was horrible," he said. "I later realized it was one of the best times of my life."

Congratulations, Rick Belden, World's Strongest Man!

 - Chuck Daniels

North Country