Some of North America's strongest athletes will be showing their stuff in Thunder Bay this weekend.

The third-annual Thunder Bay Classic and Fitness Expo kicks off Friday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.

In addition to a trade show featuring about 15 local fitness-oriented vendors, the three-day event will feature strength competitions for amateur, intermediate and professional athletes from around North America, in both men's and women's categories.

Heavy lifting

"Every year in Thunder Bay, we have like five or so events, and this one is sorta like the big daddy of all of them," Ben Thompson, the expo's promoter. "This one probably has maybe times five the budget that all the other events have, and so this one pays the most prize money."

"In the pro show, the guys are going to be lifting some pretty serious weights," he said. "They'll be doing a deadlift on Friday ... that'll be a big one. And then on Saturday, they'll be lifting stones, carrying 1,000 pounds on their back, and all that kind of stuff."

Something for everyone

Thompson said the competitions offer something for spectators of all ages.

"They just love the antics," he said. "They like seeing the guys get all amped up and excited, and they like seeing people pick up crazy amounts of weight. They love watching people pick up cars and press 300 pounds over their head, and deadlift 800 pounds, and do things that normal humans will never be able to do."

"Somebody from one year old to 75 years old can get excited about it."

Also this year, the expo will be raising funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thunder Bay, Thompson said.

The Thunder Bay Classic and Fitness Expo is taking place at the Slovak Legion at 801 Atlantic Ave.

It runs from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11.

Admission is $2 on Friday, and then $10 on both Saturday and Sunday.