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Special Olympics Battle of the Barbells planned Saturday
Battle of the Barbells
Special Olympics powerlifters from Forsyth County pose at an event in Maryville, Tenn. This weekend, Special Olympics of Forsyth County will host Battle of the Barbells at Cumming First United Methodist Church. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

Competitors will be moving some significant weight at a first-of-its-kind event in Forsyth County.

On Saturday, Special Olympics of Forsyth County will host Battle of the Barbells, a powerlifting competition, starting at 9 a.m. at Cumming First United Methodist Church.

Organizer Mark Keesee, who formerly ran the state Special Olympics powerlifting events, said the event would feature 45 competitors from five organizations across the state, including 13 from Forsyth County.

“[We] decided to go ahead and do a local invitational,” he said. “What this does is it gives the athletes that don’t compete in powerlifting during the winter games something to compete in after the winter games.”

Keesee, who has a background in powerlifting, said he believes lifting has many positives for the athletes.

“I think the benefit is self-esteem and self-confidence in what they do through working out and seeing their different accomplishments,” he said. “It’s more of an individual effort than more of a team.”

Awards will be given out to individuals and teams earning first through fifth.

The event will include push-pull, full power, bench only and deadlift only events.

“Each individual athlete, they shoot for their individual best at each one of these meets,” he said. “What they’ll do is set a personal best at one meet and go to the next and try to beat it. It gives them some confidence doing that.”

Keesee said some competitors can pump serious iron.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “They start at 35-pound events, and we’ll be having a guy from Fort Valley, Ga. who has been lifting for a while and he’ll get in the 600 [pound] range for squats and deadlifts and over 400 on bench press. We’ve got some pretty big lifters coming.”

Cumming First United Methodist Church is located at 770 Canton Highway. The event is free and open to the public. There will also be concessions for sale.