SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The start of Sacramento’s first major event since the pandemic started is set for the same day California will reopen.
By Tuesday morning, the stage will be set for the World’s Strongest Man Competition at the historic Old Sacramento Waterfront. It'll be a chance for the city to flex its tourism muscle and rebuild a sorely missed calendar of events that attracts visitors to the region.
In the battle to be named the World's Strongest man, competitor Evan Singleton tore a bicep tendon last year. This year, in Sacramento, is the first-time California visitor's chance at redemption.
“All the air conditioning, all of that, I trained without any of that," Singleton said.
After training for seven months in Kentucky, he’s also hydrating his body to prepare for potentially record-breaking heat. With medical staff and cooling areas ready for the 25 competitors, Singleton said he is 100% focused on winning.
“This is where it starts. This is why I work so hard. This is where I come and put it all out on the line," Singleton said.
But Singleton isn't the only one looking for redemption. Sacramento’s economy is as well.
“One of the silver linings that has come from the pandemic is that ability to appreciate what we had pre-pandemic," said Mike Testa, Visit Sacramento President and CEO.
The World’s Strongest Man Competition is the first major event for the city with spectators in more than a year, signaling the revival of tourism and events. A sector which brought in 15 million visitors and more than $3 billion to the city in 2019, according to Testa.
“That’s a lot of money missing from the cash registers of our local businesses,” he said.
With the competition calling Sacramento home for the next three years, Testa said this week's events will be a dress rehearsal for next year.
In addition to the traditional keg toss event, organizers will be paying homage to the city’s history with a new event. In a turntable challenge, athletes will push an antique locomotive 180 degrees.
“We’re only able to do it because of the access to the train station," said IMG Productions Vice President, Rebecca Levin. "To think about the history of Sacramento and be able to work with that to come up with things that are really unique, but really speak to strong man, and that grit and determination that all of these guys are bringing to the competition - it’s just the perfect coordination.”
Organizers originally planned the event without spectators due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, but when California set a reopen date for June 15th, they released limited tickets. All of them sold out quickly.
Ticketed spectators will be asked to fill out a health questionnaire before entering the event space, but will not be required to prove vaccination status.
People can still watch a behind the scene's livestream on Facebook.
Testa says- the hope is, by next year- it will be fully open for all to enjoy.
Events like the world’s strongest man attract visitors to the region—and this year, Visit Sacramento is planning signature events like the Farm to Fork Festival, Tower Bridge Dinner, and Aftershock full steam ahead.
For more information on the "World's Strongest Man: Backstage Live! presented by SBD" event, click HERE.