Fort Jackson announced its strongest man and woman May 16 at the Hilton Field Softball Complex where more than 30 competitors battled for the top title of strongest during the Fort Jackson 2019 Strongman/Strongwoman Competition. The competition tested strength, endurance and determination.

The 2019 Strongman/Strongwoman Competition overall male winner was Staff Sgt. Thomas Hoffman, a drill sergeant with 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, and the female winner was Staff Sgt. Ashley Jackson, a drill sergeant leader at the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy.

"You can expect to see some camaraderie, cheering each other on and building relationships that will last beyond this sporting event," said Cindi Keene, sports coordinator for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "This is my favorite (event to coordinate)."

Competitors from four weight classes and five divisions competed against each other in timed events that included the tire flip, stone carry, fireman carry and Hummer pull. Competitors included males and females of all age ranges, active-duty, retirees, sister branches of service, beginners and seasoned veterans.

"I've never pulled a Humvee in my life," said Sgt. Samantha Escamilla, U.S. Army Dental Health Activity-Fort Jackson. "This is my first competition, it was a lot of fun. I'm hooked."

Escamilla, encouraged by a fellow unit member to compete, was cheered on by her daughter who screamed "get it" to her mother and other competitors.

Almost all the athletes were accompanied by friends and Family members that shouted to the competitors. Some shouts were encouraging, some were regarding form and some were just funny.

"Let's go AARP," shouted Timothy Peterson, a 40-year old retiree competing in the master's division.

Peterson, also known as Big Pete, befriended fellow retiree Dug Becker during the competition, and the two traded cheers and jeers as they each took center stage in the final event, the Humvee pull.

Each competitor was strapped into a thick yellow, nylon body harness that was chained to the front bumper of a shiny black Hummer wrapped in vinyl military graphics. At the start of the stop watch, crouched in a low sprinters stance, the athletes pulled with all their might to get the 6,400 pound vehicle rolling.

"Let's go Life Alert," Becker shouted as Big Pete readied himself to start the Humvee pull.

As the competition came to an end, the winners were announced in a ceremony. Prizes for the weight classes included trophies, while the overall winners walked away with plaques, gift cards and year of bragging rights.

"You never know how well you'll do, so give it a try," Escamilla said.

2019 Strongman/Strongwoman Winners:
Female Winners
Overall Female
n Ashley Jackson

Light Weight
n First Place:
Ashley Jackson
n Second Place:
Bawnie Sutton

Middle Weight
n First Place:
Meagan Anthony
n Second Place:
Dayleen Prieto

Heavy Weight
n First Place:
Justine Rennekemp
n Second Place:
Desiree Serrano

Super Heavy
n First Place:
Amber Kasner
n Second Place:
Lashonda Howard

Male Winners
Overall Male
n Thomas Hoffman

Light Weight
n First Place:
Hakeen Mathis

Middle Weight
n First Place:
Kenneth Wright
n Second Place:
Shawn Van Netta

Heavy Weight
n First Place:
Thomas Hoffman
n Second Place:
Bryan Durbin

Super Heavy
n First Place:
Garrett Williams
n Second Place:
Lakopo Leota

Master's
n First Place:
Timothy Peterson
n Second Place:
Christian Robertson