Strongest man in Kansas says bullying drove him to the sport

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – An aviation worker in Wichita has become the strongest man in Kansas.

Jesse Jester, 28, took home the title after winning a United States Strongman competition in Salina in 2019.

“I am someone who will never be satisfied. The more I can achieve the better,” Jester said.

Jesse Jester competes at a strongman competition.

Jester works at Textron Aviation.

“I spend most my day straddling alongside a plane installing the center fuel tank assemblies for latitude planes,” he explained.

Following a full day of work, Jester heads to the gym where he will spend another three to five hours building his body.

The gym has been part of Jester’s routine for nearly two decades.

“I started when I was very, very young with powerlifting and for me, it became a means of building up an exterior so that, that perceived mental weakness wasn’t there. It was a means of self-empowerment and discipline,” he said.

Jester said he was bullied as a child. He told KSN he struggled to stand up for himself.

“So until I did something to find that confidence in order to stop this, I was going to be trapped in that perpetual chain,” Jester said.

Jester was a natural lifter. He won four world powerlifting championships in a matter of years.

“First time I won a world championship, I was 16 years old,” he said.

After years of powerlifting, Jester switched gears and started training for strongman competitions.

“It’s very much more real-world strength. Powerlifting teaches you to be really strong lifting things on a one-inch bar. Strongman teaches you to be really strong,” Jester explained.

Jester, who weighs about 280 pounds, can now lift more than the weight of a grizzly bear. He said lifting has helped him grow physically and mentally.

“It really helped my confidence,” he said, “It took away that feeling of helplessness and enabled me to see the fruition of my hard work, that the handwork, the more I could work the more I could achieve.”

Jesse Jester wins first place at a 2009 world powerlifting meet.

Despite Jester’s success, he said he is determined to accomplish even more.

“The goal is in June of 2020 I will be moving on to North America’s Strongestman and then potentially from there I will go to Arnold Classic for the world’s strongest man,” he said.

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