Wednesday, May 21, 2003

'Men of Steel' tests Butler teams' mettle


Strength contest Tuesday

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIDDLETOWN - To football coach Eric Tudor, Middletown's tough, steel town image and his vision for building a successful prep football program can work together.

Toughness will again be the focus of Middletown High School's second annual "Men of Steel" competition 4 p.m. Tuesday when football players from four other Butler County schools join the football Middies in tests of strength and endurance.

"We take a lot of pride in Middletown's steel history," said Tudor, who is also Middletown's athletic director, in reference to Middletown's historical mainstay AK Steel, which is also the city's largest employer.

The unusual high school competition mimics strong man contests often seen on television where participants push, pull, lift and carry a bizarre collections of objects as a way to showcase their strength. Players from Middletown, Fenwick, Madison, New Miami and Hamilton Badin, in teams of five, will push a car, flip giant tractor tires, haul 200-pound dummies and more in timed events outside of the Tiger Ellison Football Complex on the high school grounds at 601 N. Breiel Blvd.

The event, which for the first time will be videotaped by TV Middletown for local cable broadcast at a later date, is open to the public at no charge.

"We're also trying to create camaraderie among each school's teams and among football teams in the county. Plus being cooped up in the weight room all winter you kind of get cabin fever," said Tudor. "The kids have a great time with it."

The winners get trophies while all participants get commemorative T-shirts.

E-mail mclark@enquirer.com




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