Last time I saw Mike Jenkins was at dinner after this astounding 2nd place finish at the Arnold Strongman Classic earlier this year. There, he outlasted American contemporaries Travis Ortmayer and Nick Best as well as former ASC and WSM champion, Zydrunas Savickas. In attendance that night was his girlfriend Kari, who immediately after his final event of the ASC, put her arms around him, congratulated him and they both shared an incredible emotional moment together. A well deserved moment indeed and my favorite part of the entire Arnold weekend.
Big Mike had many naysayers in and out of his peer group. Many felt he really did not deserve the automatic qualification for winning the Arnold Amateur the year before. But Mike and Kari knew otherwise. Since that evening of dinner, life is doing Mike just fine. He has continued to compete and train at his usual massive pace. He also asked Keri to marry him, of which she accepted and are planning nuptials sometime in 2012. Mike is racking up the frequent flyer miles this year. He competed in Columbus at the Arnold, the Sin City event in Las Vegas and yesterday placed behind Brian Shaw for the runner-up at the July 4th Philadelphia Strongman Classic.
Since we started adding a strongman event to our Bros vs Pros, there were a few names I really wanted to invite to compete. Derek Poundstone, who is hoping for an invite to the Worlds Strongest Man this year, arrived on a mission to win at Bros vs Pros 5. He out-repped the mighty Ben White and a slew of very formidable gym Bros to take home the title of BvP 5 champion. More than anyone, I put Mike Jenkins at the top of my list to invite for future shows and was excited to know he wanted to be a part of it as well.
Mikes background is not too different from other strongmen. He played on the phenomenal James Madison University Division 1-AA national championship team which set into motion a short stint playing Arena Football. From there, he took up the “hobby” of strength training and it just kinda took off. Today, he simply is hoping for a WSM invite for the 2011 event in South Carolina based on his outstanding performances thus far. Regardless of that invite, he will be participating in Poland's Giants Live in August and the famed Jon Paul Sigmarson Classic in November in Iceland.
As many of you guys will see, he is personable, polite, quiet and a beast of an athlete. His now fiance' Kari will be there with him for support. She is fresh off a 2nd place finish in Bikini at NPC Tarrytown, Pa event last weekend. He tells me he hasn't pulled any kind of vehicle for quite some time. Will this be the opportunity for a gym Bro to take home some serious cash? Mike hopes not, but this weekends event will tell the tale.
On a side note: good luck to all of the fire truck pull competitors... I think you are gonna need it.