A crowd of thousands of people were roused by an historic Deeside feat of strength as it took centre stage at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s US strongman festival.
Living legends of weightlifting took on the Dinnie Stone challenge this weekend at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival, in Columbus, Ohio – one of the biggest events in the world of strength sports and bodybuilding.
The iconic movie star and former bodybuilder himself was said to have been in the crowd during the event on Sunday, and he was also seen watching during the festival’s first ever Scottish Highland Games feature.
The 733lb “Dinnie Steens” made their way into the history books after seminal Birse strongman, Donald Dinnie, carried them the width of the Potarch Bridge in 1860.
Stevie Shanks – son of Dinnie Steen legend, Jack Shanks – was one of only four athletes handpicked to take on a “lift and hold” competition in Ohio at the weekend.
Replicas of the boulders, created by the late Gordon Dinnie, were shipped from the Scottish mainland to the states.
He took on the challenge next to famed strongmen Mark Felix, Odd Haugen and Bill Crawford.
Not long after the Dinnie event, Hafthor Bjornsson – famed for his role as The Mountain in Game of Thrones – took to the same stage for a mighty weight over the bar toss.
Belfast drummer, Mr Shanks, 53, made his way into the history books last month after getting “wind beneath” the stones at Potarch Lodge.
The Belfast man, who weighs just 156lb, took to the stage for a four-second lift of the replicas.
Mr Shanks said: “I love competing at all levels but this was something special. You look down from your chair and there are thousands watching. It was just an amazing experience.
“I always like to fire a crowd up and it works well because people come to an event to see something, and when you involve them in the action I think they feel part of it and react well.
“The audience today were well up for it and really helped me out. I am absolutely delighted with my lift. I didn’t enter to lose but I’m not daft either.
“I knew that the three guys in stage with me are way stronger head-to-head, but I knew that if I lifted the stones and gave a good account of myself that’s all I could control.”
He added he was within “touching distance” of Arnie whilst having breakfast the morning after the lift.
Regular World’s Strongest Man competitor, Mr Felix, won the competition with an immense 31-second lift of the stones.