Constant steady improvement
Three years ago, we set out on mission to create an epic fitness competition in the heart of Seattle. We didn't quite hit "epic" levels in year one. Thirty-six athletes showed up for a throwdown of underwhelming proportions. There weren’t that many of us, but we had a really good time, and the word spread. The following year we had 113 athletes and a few hundred spectators crammed into an empty retail space across the street from our gym. Things got a lot bigger, and a lot more interesting, after that.
I received a text from Baker saying Kill Cliff wants to sponsor our event. They like what we are doing, and it is time to take it up a couple of notches. I said, "OK." He said, "Good." Then he said, "Why don’t you sell Kill Cliff in your gym?" I said, "No good reason." He said, "It's delicious; you should." I said, "OK." He said, "Good." A week later, we had a fridge in the gym full of Tasty and Berry Legit and our event had title sponsor. I was stoked. And I had no idea what to do next. Every few days after, I would get a text from Baker. Kenny Leverich is in. The Natural Grip is in. Compex is in. Progenex is in. Carleen Mathews is in. Cole Sager is in. And it just kept on going. I booked a bigger venue. I booked more space at that venue. I got a ton of gear. I got a ton more gear. I called in every favor I could think of. We put up a new website. We added an online qualifier. We changed the name. Did I forget to mention the Kill Cliff Cascade Classic was known as Beast Fest the first two years? Lifeproof, Invictus, Dye Brands, Jump Box, SMK, Blonyx, Emily Abbott, the Alexes Parker and Anderson, Cody Anderson, Takasaki, Scali, Hogan, Alvarez, and on and on. This thing was getting out of control. We sold out our event. We had more vendors in year three than we had athletes in year one. It was hard to believe what this thing had become. Almost 350 athletes over two days. Over 30 vendors. In a 12,000-square-foot venue on a pier. A PIER!
It wasn’t perfect by a long shot. But it was amazing nevertheless. The athletes were incredible. The volunteers were tireless. The vendors were incredibly generous. And the spectators were phenomenal, cheering for the last finisher in each heat just as loud as they cheered for the event winners. Sometimes even louder. In fact, it was that very thing that made us decide to expand beyond functional fitness. It was while watching that last-place finisher during one of the heats that we realized something magical happened when you watched somebody go beyond themselves. When they have one rope climb remaining, and no grip left. When they have one clean left, and no drive in their hips. When the team needs the last athlete to go five more feet, and they can’t move one more foot. When the crowd is on their feet for an athlete they don’t know. When their judge stops counting and starts cheering. When the other athletes from the heat, who can barely stand, get up and start pleading for them to get it done. That thing isn’t unique to fitness competitions. That thing isn’t even unique to athletes. That thing is shared by everyone trying to find the very end of themselves in a physical pursuit, whether it is something raw like lifting, or something artistic like dance. When you need a little more and you don’t know if it is in there. When the crowd wants it as bad as you want it. When your fellow competitors want you to succeed.
When we drill down to the very essence of what we are all doing and striving to accomplish, we simply find movement. And the celebration of human movement at its very best. Best performance of the year, or just the best effort of the day. When someone gives their all and we get to bear witness to it, that is worth celebrating. That is what The Kill Cliff Cascade Classic is about. That is why we are adding Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting, and Strongman. That is why we will continue to add sports every year. Because if you believe in the power and beauty of human movement as displayed in a contest, then this is the place for you. The Kill Cliff Cascade Classic is a celebration of human movement.