The 2023 Shaw Classic, which took place August 19-20 in Loveland, CO, was notable not only because it’s become one of the most prestigious contests in the pro strongman circuit, nor because this year was its first time delivering the title of “The Strongest Man on Earth” to the winner. It was extra-special to fans of the sport because it marked the final competitive appearance of the show’s namesake, organizer, promoter, and eventual winner — Brian Shaw.
In February 2023, Shaw announced that this year’s Shaw Classic would mark his retirement from competing in professional strongman contests. Shaw won the inaugural Shaw Classic in 2020 and was runner-up to Trey Mitchell in the 2021 and 2022 editions of the contest.
The 2023 Shaw Classic saw athletes compete in eight events over the two-day contest: Log Medley, Max Hummer Tire Deadlift, Wheelbarrow/Arm-Over-Arm Medley, Bag Toss, Car Leg Press, Atlas Stones, Standing Bench Press, and Fingal’s Fingers/Power Stairs Medley.
Shaw claimed victory by winning both the Car Leg Press and Standing Bench Press, while placing second in the Atlas Stones and Max Hummer Tire Deadlift. The 2023 Shaw Classic podium was rounded out with runner-up Mitchell Hooper (2023 World’s Strongest Man) and third place contestant Tom Stoltman (2021-2022 World’s Strongest Man).
Shaw began as a strongman winning his first amateur contest, the 2005 Denver’s Strongest Man. He would go on to have a legendary professional career spanning 16 years, from 2007 to 2023, while tallying up a total of 29 wins and 15 runner-up placings across 68 competitions.
Brian Shaw Strongman Career Highlights
- World’s Strongest Man — Four-time winner: 2011, 2013, 2015-2016
- Arnold Pro Strongman World Series — Four-time winner: 2015-2018
- Strongman Super Series — Four-time winner: 2009-2010 (two contests per year)
- Arnold Strongman Classic — Three-time winner: 2011, 2015, 2017
- Forca Bruta — Three-time winner: 2013, 2015-2016
- Shaw Classic — Two-time winner: 2020, 2023
- America’s Strongest Man — Two-time winner: 2013, 2016
At 41 years old, Shaw’s competition days may be over, but it’s clear he’s going to be a mainstay in Strongman. He’s made it clear that he plans to continue organizing his eponymous contest each year, helping to grow the strength sport by offering a stage for elite athletes. No doubt he’ll also carry on as an example for strongmen and strongwomen competitors looking to follow in his massive footprints.
Featured Image: SHAWSTRENGTH / YouTube