Marcus Waugh Wins 2024 World’s Strongest Firefighter

Marcus Waugh of the Toledo, OH, Fire and Rescue is the 2024 World’s Strongest Firefighter (WSF). Waugh was one of 120 athletes who competed in the annual contest at the 2024 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH, and among the 18 finalists in the last four events on Saturday, March 2, 2024.

2023 champion Andrew Burton did not attempt a title defense as he competed in the 2024 Arnold Strongman Amateur contest. Burton finished second overall in his competition and is eligible to compete in the pro strongman ranks, making him the first “graduate” of the WSF.

[Related: 2024 Arnold Strongman & Strongwoman Classic Results & Leaderboard]

Waugh dedicated his victory to his children after withdrawing from the 2023 contest due to an Achilles injury suffered during the competition. This was Waugh’s redemption:

I worked so hard for this. Daddy’s finally bringing it home!

The day featured four unique events that had connections to firefighting. To determine the finalists, contenders had to advance from the qualifying events on Friday, March 1.

The 2024 WSF competition included two women’s divisions. The top two from each division advanced to the finals.

The weights and scores were adjusted across weight classes so athletes could compete together to determine one winner. Michael McGowan won silver, and the highest-finishing woman, Kelly Lamb, claimed the bronze.

2024 World’s Strongest Firefighter Results

The competition was streamed live via the Arnold Sports livestream. The final rankings for all 18 contenders were:

Marcus Waugh

Michael McGowan

Kelly Lamb

Casey Shoe

Frank Boniello

Alek Escobedo

Zackary Hash

Cameron St. Amand

Megan Prato

Joseph Voiles

Brooks Larkin (tied 10th)

Michael Ebanks

Alexandra Castellanos

Guerrero Lopez

Anne Butters

Liam Shiels

Daniel Cave

James White

[Related: 2024 Arnold Classic Results — Live Updates & Winners]

Schwarzenegger Shares His Thoughts

Schwarzenegger shared an exclusive statement to BarBend about the WSF competition’s success and its significance to him five years after the inaugural contest on the Santa Monica Pier.

“We had the biggest contest we ever had. We had over 120 firefighters from seven different countries represented,” Schwarzenegger said. “These men and women are the real deal, and I’m so happy to have them be part of the Arnold Sports Festival and show the world they’re just as strong and powerful as they are brave.”

2024 World’s Strongest Firefighter Event Recaps

Below are the recaps of the contested events in Columbus:

Max Sandbag to Shoulder

The first event on the Arnold Expo stage was the Max Sandbag to Shoulder. Firefighters chose from 10 different sandbags to lift off the floor and to their shoulder with the other arm extended out to the side to be confirmed a good lift by the head judge.

Waugh won the event with a max lift of 396 pounds. Megan Prato ranked second; the highest-placing woman with a top lift of 220 pounds. Frank Boniello hit 350 pounds for the bronze spot.

Crucifix Axe Hold

The Crucifix Axe Hold was another test of shoulder strength. Athletes held axes with weight plates hanging from their handles in a lateral raise position for max time. The athletes’ backs had to maintain contact with a wall, increasing the difficulty of the challenge.

Twelve of the 18 contestants surpassed one minute, but the last firefighter standing was Lamb, who held the 15-pound axes for 84.95 seconds. Brooks Larkin placed second, holding 25-pound axes for 78.78 seconds, and bronze went to Prato, who held the same weight as Lamb for 71.69 seconds.

Ambulance Tire Deadlift for Reps

The penultimate event of the competition was the Ambulance Tire Deadlift for reps, which was inspired by the Hummer Tire Deadlift of the Arnold Strongman Classic from years past. Schwarzenegger joined the audience to watch the contest’s conclusion.

The goal was to lift their weights for max reps in 60 seconds. The announcer and pro strongman Rob Kearney kept the time while judges called the lifts. Cameron St. Amand wowed the crowd by lifting 645 pounds for an incredible 14 reps, with Schwarzenegger cheering him on. Waugh completed 12 reps, and Casey Shoe hit 11 reps of the same weight for silver and bronze, respectively.

Fire Hydrant Shoulder Press for Reps

The final event was unique. Competitors had to clean a fire hydrant to the shoulders and press it overhead for reps. The judges called a good rep on lockout.

Gloves, chalk, and bare hand holds were all allowed, and the athletes could hold the hydrant any way they could. The hydrants were chosen based on the weight class of the athletes.

Alek Escobedo won the event, lifting his 235-pound hydrant overhead for 10 reps. Waugh clinched the championship by finishing in a three-way tie for second place with McGowan and Shoe. They all completed seven reps with 235 pounds.

2025 Competition Confirmed

Event planner Dione Masters was recognized and honored during the competition with an award, a special axe, for her support of the contest and athletes. She has been involved with every event in its history. That history will continue as Schwarzenegger confirmed to BarBend that the 2025 event will also occur in Columbus, OH.

Next year will be even bigger.

Organizer Noah Justin echoed those sentiments and expressed that the WSF is more than determining a world champion and raising money, as there are benefits beyond the platform.

“The community is growing, friendships between competitors are strengthening, and we may even add a couple more divisions next year,” said Justin.

Co-founder and Operations Director John Byrne spoke about the contest’s growth and how it doubles as a charity fundraiser for firefighters and families in Columbus and California.

“Since Arnold inspired and founded this event in 2019, over $250,000 have been raised for firefighter charities. It’s such a blessing to be able to do this event.”

Featured Image: @asfworldsstrongestfirefighter on Instagram, photo by Lance Brimmage.

The post Marcus Waugh Wins 2024 World’s Strongest Firefighter appeared first on BarBend.


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