One of the highlights of Bhutan’s gathering of nomadic highlanders known as the Nomad Festival is the strongman competition where herders from the Himalayan frontiers and villagers near Bhutan’s Bumthang district compete (and drink Arra) to see who is the strongest.

Crowds at Bhutan's Strongman Competition

Crowds at Bhutan’s Strongman Competition

The crowds get excited — and I suspect wager a bit — about seeing who among them can best carry various 100-kilogram objects along a 100-meter course.

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Carrying a 100 Kilogram Log at Bhutan's Strongman Competition

Carrying a 100 Kilogram Log at Bhutan’s Strongman Competition

First comes the carrying the logs. This seemed to be the easiest task but just lifting these things without assistance was a challenge.

Carrying Tires at Bhutan's Nomad Festival

Carrying Tires at Bhutan’s Nomad Festival

There are different ways of carrying the tractor tires.

Different Technique for Carrying Tires at Bhutan's Nomad Festival

Different Technique for Carrying Tires at Bhutan’s Nomad Festival

Anything but rolling or dragging them is permitted. They must be lifted off of the ground.

Carrying a 100 kilogram Bag of Sand at Bhutan's Nomad Festival

Carrying a 100-kilogram Bag of Sand at Bhutan’s Nomad Festival

Finally comes what appeared to be the hardest part, lugging a 100-kilogram bag of sand 100 meters. Resting is permitted and these guys certainly need it before they were finished. The guy in the lead here was finally the victor. I was invited to compete but uh, my lumbago was acting up and I had to bow out: besides, I have retired from competition.

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