British Columbia

Prince George woman wins North America's largest strength contest

She's a mom, she's a palliative nurse, and as of this weekend, she's a gold medal-winning Strongman. Meet Prince George's Jennifer Ferguson.

Master's Nationals North American Strongman Championships largest such competition in North America

Jennifer Ferguson (centre) holds her championship trophy at the Master's Nationals North American Strongman Championships in Las Vegas. She is flanked by Dione Wessels (left) and Patrick Rodgers from Strongman. (Michele Wozniak)

A Prince George woman is pumped up in more ways than one after winning gold in North America's largest strongman competition.

Jennifer Ferguson won the Master's Nationals North American Strongman Championships on the weekend in Las Vegas, and says she can hardly believe it.

Ferguson is a first-time competitor and only started practicing strength athletics a year ago.

"I started watching a few YouTube videos, and generally it was very large men lifting these great big weights. i just thought, gosh, that looks really interesting, and then I started seeing some videos of women doing it," she told Daybreak North host Russell Bowers.

"I floated the idea to my trainer, Jay Cook: 'do you think it would be crazy for a 40-year-old woman to just pick this up, go for it and try it?'"

Ferguson was already involved in strength training, but a strongman competition is different from deadlifting or bodybuilding. It's mostly about lifting heavy things and carrying them around. For Ferguson, that meant carrying weights of up to 450 pounds to win her weight class.

Carries a lot of weight

Ferguson carries a lot of weight on her shoulders, not only as a Strongman competitor, but also as a palliative care nurse and a mother of two.

She says that even though she is very busy with her career and family, it was important for her to do this competition for herself.

"I think women, and mothers especially generally come last in things and don't make ourselves a priority," she said. "I had to make myself a priority and find a way to make it happen."

"I had my workouts in my day timer… So it was like meetings at work. I wouldn't skip a meeting at work, and I wouldn't skip going to the gym, either. I'd just make time."

Ferguson says her two kids are thrilled for her, especially her 11-year-old daughter, who wants to start working out herself.

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Prince George woman wins N. America's largest strength contest


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