Age and experience pushed youth aside at the 2012 MHP Liberty Strongman Challenge, as 40-year-old Don Pope triumphed over his younger competitors to take the win. The event was held July 3-4 at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs baseball stadium in Allentown, PA, and at the Wawa “Welcome America!” Festival in front of the iconic Art Museum in Philadelphia.
Pope was the only competitor to complete the brutal Tire Flip/Police Motorcycle Sled Drag Medley, the final event of the competition, and edge former champion John Conner to take home his first Liberty title. Pope not only had to battle against the youth of the strongmen realm in Philly on July 4th, but he also had to endure stifling heat that reached 100 degrees by mid-afternoon with a heat index that topped 110.
When the dust settled, Pope won two of the five events, including the Arm-Over-Arm Pull, yet was consistent enough to take the win. Conner also won two events (Atlas Stones and Log Press) and placed second overall. Lou Costa won the Tire Deadlift, taking the third place position. Rounding out the field were Mark Kimener (fourth), John Dennis (fifth), Colby Duranleau (sixth) and Mark Philippi (seventh). Powerlifter Chris Della Fave was a guest in the Tire Deadlift event, pulling a whopping 875 lbs. at 242 bodyweight.