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Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 stand with the winners of the Iron Rhino weightlifting competition at Del Valle High Intensity Tactical Training field aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 13, 2017. The Iron Rhino event was the first weightlifting competition hosted by MWSS-374 where competitors had three attempts to reach their maximum deadlift, bench, and squat, to claim the title of Iron Rhino. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Christian Lopez)

Photo by Cpl. Christian Lopez

Marines test their strength in first ever Iron Rhino competition

13 Dec 2017 | Cpl. Christian Lopez Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 competed for the title of Iron Rhino during a weight-lifting competition at the Del Valle High Intensity Tactical Training field aboard the Combat Center, Dec. 13, 2017.

The Iron Rhino event was a contest in which each competitor had three attempts to hit their max weights for deadlift, squat and bench press. The competitor with the highest-overall cumulative score became the Iron Rhino and won the trophy, said 2nd Lt. Brock Turner, communications officer in training, MWSS-374.

“The Iron Rhino was a great opportunity to bring the unit together and foster unit cohesion and esprit de corps,” Turner said. “Events like this are important because they push Marines to be the best versions of themselves.”

28 competitors took part in the event but only one could earn the title of Iron Rhino. At the end of the event the person to walk away with the title was Cpl. Isaiah Nelson, heavy equipment operator, MWSS-374.
According to Nelson, he began preparing for the event as soon as he heard about it and even began researching training methods to implement in his workouts. His hard work paid off, and Nelson ended the event with a cumulative score 1,300 pounds, maxing out at 550 pounds on his deadlift alone.

“It was a tough competition because there were a lot of people who came close to beating me,” Nelson said. “It was a lot of fun though; it was a great contest and I couldn’t be happier with my win.”
According to Turner, the Iron Rhino will become an annual event. As this was MWSS-374’s first time hosting the competition, the unit hopes to bolster their attendance in coming years, even considering opening the event to Marines from other units.

“I love seeing our Marines get passionate,” Turner said. “Marines are always trying to be the fittest versions of themselves, so giving them the opportunity to showcase their strength is great.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms