The 2022 Rogue Strongman Invitational, which took place on Oct. 28-30, 2022, at the Dell Diamond stadium in Round Rock, TX, saw Ukrainian Oleksii Novikov ascend the podium and claim the six-figure prize for first place. Novikov beat the other nine elite strongmen who were invited to compete, including the 2021 Rogue Strongman Invitational champion Martins Licis.
Also among the roster was former American log lift record holder Rob Kearney. Kearney finished in eighth place — a drop of two ranks from his 2021 performance. On Nov. 4, 2022, Kearney took to his YouTube channel to recap his performance. Check it out via the video below:
Kearney opened the video by sharing the tragic news that his husband, Joey’s, mother passed away unexpectedly one week prior to the 2022 Rogue Invitational. The stress and grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one weighed Kearney’s preparation down heavily, including a conversation about whether or not Kearney would even travel to Texas to compete.
Ultimately, Kearney did make the trip to the lone-star state to test his hand against the other strongmen in the field despite not training at all during the week leading up to the event. Kearney felt satisfied with the seven reps he pulled in the Tower of Power event, but it was only good enough for seventh place. Pavlo Nakonechnyy won the event with 12 reps.
In the Cyr Dumbbell Ladder, Kearney locked out three of the four dumbbells in a time of 49.81 seconds. That was a four-rank leap from his result in the Heavy Dumbbell event in 2021, so he recognized the progress that was made.
In the Husafell Sandbag Carry, Kearney felt confident as he often performed events similar to this before turning pro. However, he felt he made a mistake in positioning when he lifted the sandbag, as he placed it too high on his sternum. This made breathing more challenging and ultimately shaved precious steps off his distance. He traveled just over 148 feet — far enough for fifth place in the event.
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For the Rogue-a-Coaster event, Kearney wrapped the rope around his arm so that he could lean and twist at full extension to garner further distance with each pull. Unfortunately, the reality was his grip choice cost him valuable time during the transition from pull to pull. The failed strategy scored him a last-place finish in the event.
Kearney knew the Yoke Carry and Log Lift Medley was “not going to be an event win” for him, but was confident that he could successfully lock out all three reps on the log and score a relatively strong time. He crossed the finish line at 1:20.58 seconds for sixth place. He “wasn’t unhappy” with his run, just acknowledged that the rest of the field brought the heat.
For the final event — Stones Over Hitching Post — Kearney knew he wasn’t in contention for a podium spot, but there was still money on the line depending on his final ranking. Kearney felt exhausted by the time it was his turn on the Stones and locked in a ninth-place finish after converting three stones over the bar.
Although Kearney wasn’t happy with his overall performance nor met his expectations, he still felt fortunate to compete, given the familial tragedy that occurred before the contest. Kearney will likely return for the 2023 strongman season, though he did not confirm in the video when his next elite contest will be.
Featured image: @worlds_strongest_gay on Instagram