Of course. I actually competed at The Crush Games in 2013. It was August of 2013 that I did Crush Games. I fell in love with the idea of, again, putting myself out there. I was the first adaptive athlete, the first person with CP, doing what I was doing.
I went up to the owner, I guess organizer, I should say, of The Crush Games. His name is Mike Osuna. We are still, to this day, very close. Didn’t know him at the time.
I just went up to him and was like, “Hey, I know all of my scales for these workouts. If you wouldn’t mind, it would be really cool…I don’t have to compete in any division, so to speak, but I would love to be able to show people what I’m capable of doing.”
I sat down with him, and I sat down with a friend of ours. His name was Brandon Fulwider. Again, we’ve all stayed very close. We came up with this game plan. We contacted Rogue at the time. I told Rogue what I needed to make it work, and they built me a custom little rig.
It was the first time I ever met Kenny Castro, who’s Dave Castro’s brother, and one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet in your life. They just said, “Whatever you need, we’ll make it work.”
I did The Crush Games, and it went really well. That’s actually, funnily enough, how I became Steph The Hammer” I was doing a clean, and the workout was a max lift. I think my heaviest clean at the time was 36 pounds. For most people, that’s not a lot of weight, but for me, I was doing it from my knees. Dylan Maletsky was the announcer.
I was about to try to clean 42 pounds for the first time. I always feel like this moment was the ESPN top-10 moments. I had five seconds left in the lift, and the last second, I made it. He screamed on the microphone, “Steph The Hammer Hammerman,” and it just went nuts. From that point forward, I just loved the energy of being involved.
As they were getting ready for January for Wodapalooza, I got in contact with Guido. I was like, “Hey, I know you have no idea who I am. I’ve never met you before. I got your phone number from someone, and I would love to compete, just like I did at Crush Games.” He was like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
I competed at Wodapalooza, and I was in my own little division. I had another athlete that was with me. Her name is Natalie Bieule. She is an amputee, but she decided that she wanted to go with the scaled women because she’s a badass.
I was like, “OK, that’s cool.” I ended up competing pretty much by myself. It was like this showcase, but people loved it. I went up to Guido afterwards, and I said, “If I could get 10 friends, or if I could get 10 guys and 10 girls to do this with me, would you let us compete? Would you let us have a division?” He said yes.
With the help of Chris Stoutenburg, who runs WheelWOD, we were very close, and he helped me program. He wasn’t at the event that year, but he helped me program. We created this division. In 2015, it was the first division. [laughs]