Seven teams of men and women became human tow trucks for a tour bus in Kailua-Kona on Saturday.
Gripping a gigantic rope, the contestants put their backs and gluteal muscles into the pull at the Kona Commons parking lot for “Bus-A-Move,” an event to boost funds for Special Olympics West Hawaii.
The teams: 10 men and women. The objective: to pull a 36,060-pound Roberts Hawaii tour bus 30 feet in the shortest time possible, and raise money while doing it.
“Of course, it’s brute strength, because you have to make sure you’re pulling, but you need to work with a team, too,” said event coordinator Denise Lindsey, who is the powerlifting coach for Special Olympics West Hawaii.
Dylan Lambert, part of team Give None, Take None, said he turned out not so much to win but to support the community.
“We staggered and gave everyone room,” he said after his team’s pull, which was energized by cheers and yells from the onlookers. “The main thing is to just have a grip on the rope.”
Team All Natural took first place for the fastest pull, at 9 seconds, followed by Give None, Take None, at 10.03 seconds, and Humpy’s at 11.41
The lowest combined weight contest required not just brawn, but strategy. The goal was to pull a 16,500-pound Airgas truck 30 feet in less than one minute.
“You want to start with your strongest, lightest people,” Lindsey said. “This competition gives them a chance to shine.”
The Club in Kona took top honors in that category, with 290.2 total pounds, followed by the Echo City Knockouts at 291 pounds, and Huki Um, at 332 pounds.
The Echo City Knockouts also took first place in the Most Enthusiastic category.
In all, $3,400 was raised for Special Olympics. The organization helps people with special needs enjoy the benefits of athletics with training, competition and year-round sports programs.
“I think, overall, it was a great competition,” Lindsey said. “Everyone had fun, no injuries. There were some sore muscles, but those will pass.”
One of her proteges, Isaiah Wong, will go to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2015 to compete in powerlifting.
“He’s a very strong athlete,” Lindsey said. “I think we’re going to see some very good things come out of that young man.”
The bus pull was about the fun of everyone coming together, the camaraderie, and helping out the athletes, Lindsey said.
Special Olympics athlete Jennifer Poblano echoed the sentiment.
“It doesn’t matter to me if I win,” she said, “but it’s fun.”