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Strongest man in Cache Valley also reigns as Mr. USU Congeniality

October 30th, 2009 Posted in Arts and Life

By Nick Rust

LOGAN–Chase Casillas, 22, won the first annual Sports Academy Strongest Man competition recently. The 6-foot-5-inch, 302-pound Casillas ended the final competition pulling a half-ton truck 100 yards in 24 seconds, blowing away his nearest competitor by 10 seconds.

“I really didn’t think I’d win that,” Casillas said. “but I ended up winning it.

“I’d never even competed in something like this in my life,” Casillas said. “I was just lifting weights casually.” He said contestants traveled from as far as Provo and some practiced flipping tires and carrying cement to gear up for the event.

In addition to the truck pull, Casillas competed in several other events. He took part in the sled pull, a test of how long it took to pull a 700 pound monster truck tire 50 yards: the “farmer carry” where he carried a 125-pound block of cement 100 yards; the dead lift in which he lifted 385 pounds nine times in 45 seconds and the tire flip. “This was my least favorite,” he said. “It feels like you just ran a couple of miles when you finish.” He flipped the (monster truck) tire 15 times in the 45 second time limit.

“I won two free personal training sessions or a month of this pretty hardcore class called ‘blood and guts’, “ he said. “It’s like military training (the blood and guts).” He said he still hasn’t made the choice and said people have thrown up after the “blood and guts” training. He also won a ribbon and tee shirt.

Hunter Timbimboo, Casillas’ friend, told him he wanted nothing more for his birthday than to see him pull a truck, so he entered the competition and Timbimboo was there to cheer him on.

“Everything about him is strong,” Timbimboo said. “He’s physically strong, but he’s also mentally strong” He said Casillas’ concentration probably helped him a lot.

“It was actually just kind of exciting to do this,” Casillas said. “A lot of the other guys were just really serious about it.” He said one of the guys from Provo hurt himself during the tire flip competition and others were vomiting, but he was just there having fun. Even with his success, Casillas said he doesn’t know if he’ll compete in another competition like this.

“It’s something I can chalk up on the list of things that I’ve done in life,” he said.

Casillas, the reigning USU Mr. Congeniality, is a native of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and had planned on walking on to Texas A & M’s football team before a knee injury ended his football career in his junior year of high school. His injury occurred when he was illegally chopped blocked and his knee cap was knocked out of place. “I’m glad I didn’t do it (continue football),” he said. “because about a year ago I wasn’t doing anything and I had to get more surgery on it.”

In 2005 his aunt invited him to Utah for a ski trip. He said after awhile staying with his aunt she didn’t know what to do with him so she dropped him off on the Utah State University campus. He took a tour of campus, but returned to Texas and attended a junior college, mainly because of bands he was playing in. Casillas currently plays bass guitar for the band Lenore. He said he never wanted to stay in Texas and decided to return to Logan and attend USU, where he is now an English major.

Casillas started getting serious about weight lifting last year. He works out at the Sports Academy six days a week, lifting for five and doing cardio on the sixth. He said he doesn’t talk to anyone while he is working out and said middle-aged men don’t like him very much.

“I get the crusty eye,” he said. “One even tried to start an altercation with me over a machine.” Casillas said every time he sees that guy he gets dirty looks from him. His biggest peeve is guys who throw down weights and make loud noises. That is why he stays silent. “If I have to throw it down,” he said. “I shouldn’t be doing it.”

Look for Casillas in early November on ABC News. He said will be featured in a story to “find out why the BMI (body mass index) system may be lying to you.”

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