Reagan Wildeman reaches for the top bar during the rope climbing challenge at the Cujo Conditioning Battle on the Border crossfit competition. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
Bruce Gordon’s spirit touched this year’s Cujo Conditioning Battle on the Border crossfit competition.
Gordon is a former Saskatoon Blades captain, a nine-time Penticton Ironman competitor, an accomplished Saskatoon Police Service investigator, a recently-graduated lawyer and a dedicated crossfit athlete.
The 54-year-old was one spot away from qualifying for the Crossfit Games when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this past June.
He passed away on Sept. 29.
His family and friends travelled to Lloydminster this weekend to honour his memory at the Battle on the Border.
“He was a triathlete when I met him and knew him,” said Reagan Wildeman, who comprised one half of the Bruce’s Angels crossfit team at the Battle on the Border.
“Bruce does everything to 100 per cent and he was really serious in crossfit. He always wanted me to try it and so, in his honour, I committed that I would come here with my really good friend Carolanne (Inglis-McQuay) and participate. That’s why I’m here.”
The Bruce’s Angels team of Wildeman and Inglis-McQuay captured third place out of 57 competitors in the women’s scaled division at the Battle on the Border, which was held from Friday to Sunday at the Servus Sport Centre.
Inglis-McQuay started competing in the fitness regimen at approximately the same time as Gordon and his wife Chris half a decade ago, while Wildeman used the Lloydminster event as her foray into crossfit.
“Like any good closet crossfitter, I was online looking up the workouts and trying to learn the skills,” said Wildeman. “I did drop in at a few crossfit boxes and just trained out of a local gym with my partner. He was crossfit certified as a coach 10 years ago. So, he and I in our local YWCA just sort of chipped away at it.”
Inglis-McQuay said participants at a crossfit event perform a series of workouts during the first few days, and their timed completion of the exercises determines where they place among the field.
She said the organizers design the series of workouts over the weekend to try and capitalize on different skill sets.
“For example, one of our very first workouts was as heavy as a movement you can do and then it was followed by something that was a very quick movement, so a combination of burpees or something that’s quite fast,” said Inglis-McQuay, shortly after the event came to a close.
“Today’s workout was a movement that a lot of people can do, which is overhead squats. But in a scaled division, a rope climbing is a complicated movement (to follow with). It’s a difficult skill to learn. So in the finals they’re always going to put something in there that is going to make it challenging.”
Tina Johnson, head strength and conditioning coach at Cujo Conditioning, said the Bruce’s Angels team comprised two of 330 athletes from across Saskatchewan and Alberta who took part in this weekend’s Battle on the Border.
She said the event is separate from the Crossfit Games and is solely used to give the program’s athletes a chance to push themselves to the limit in front of a packed room of cheering friends and fellow competitors.
“It’s definitely lively,” said Johnson. “There are athletes from everywhere who come to support each other. The nice thing about the crossfit community is that no matter where you’re from everybody supports and cheers each other on. We have lots of spectators who show up too. Even people who don’t know anything about crossfit they still like to come in and watch.”
Inglis-McQuay said the inaugural Battle on the Border in 2012 was one of her and the Gordon’s first crossfit competitions. She said Chris came back to watch and cheer on the athletes this year, which included the Gordon’s son and daughter-in-law as well as their many friends they’ve made through the sport.
“Bruce was a formidable athlete, but he was an incredible community builder,” said Wildeman.
“He was a great connector and believer in people. And today is a result of his belief in Carolanne and I and just pushing us a little bit when we needed it. What this weekend was about was really honouring that.”