Standard of Excellence

Standard of Excellence

Parker Phelps: The Small Town Strongman

The sound of Barbell Standard weights hitting the ground rang through the arena as Parker walked into his first Oklahoma Strongman competition. He looked wide eyed around the room, a blur of iron weights and muscle. Barely 20 years old, Parker took a deep breath and tried to act like he belonged.

In the small town of Ringling, Oklahoma football is a way of life. Yet Parker confidently strides down the path less traveled, having long ago discovered his passion for weightlifting. Parker still remembers the roar of laughter from his teammates when he told them he enjoys lifting more than football. But he has never let the opinions of others drive his decisions, and that roar of laughter only pushed him harder to achieve his goals.

Winning Against the Odds

While Parker had already won a few powerlifting competitions, he still felt unprepared for his Strongman debut and intimidated by these men who looked more like monsters than humans. He watched in amazement as his Strongman competitors moved massive weights in ways that he never even seen before - and they seemed to do it all with ease.

Parker Phelps takes first place at 17
Parker (far right) taking home 1st place at the Oklahoma State Powerlifting meet

 The Importance of Hard Work and Quality Equipment

Parker has relied on Barbell Standard to help him achieve his weightlifting goals for his entire life. He has always associated the Barbell Standard brand and the iconic iron weight plates with hard work and success - no other weights will do. Parker believes (and lives) the idea that hard work is the only thing standing between him and an accomplished goal. He knows that Barbell Standard equipment will withstand the wear and tear of countless hours grinding alone in his home gym.

Winning the Oklahoma Strongman Competition

Suddenly, everyone was staring at Parker as he approached the 1970s Ford Bronco for the Arm over Arm Truck Pull . “Am I about to make a fool of myself?”. With a deep breath, Parker steadied himself for the pull. With the eyes of his friends, family, competitors and judges bearing down on him, Parker surprised himself and everyone there when he took first place in the Truck Pull event. Parker’s confidence and determination continued to grow as the day continued.

Parker pull a Ford Bronco on his way to winning the event
Parker completing the Arm over Arm Truck Pull

 Parker was filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when he was announced the winner of his first Strongman competition. He might be smaller, less experienced, and one of the only athletes without a coach or team, but still he took home the victory. Parker knows that with hard work and dedication there's nothing he can’t accomplish.

Parker celebrates the victory with his family
Parker celebrates his 3rd place finish at Oklahoma's Strongest Man 2022 (from left, Mom, Sister, Parker, Wife, and Father) 

The Road to World's Strongest Man

Lifting is Parker’s calling, and when he's lifting he feels like the best version of himself. After winning his first strongman competition, Parker successfully proved his worth to all who doubted him - himself included. Yet he knows that victory is fleeting and he continues to push himself to use his natural gift to its full extent.

Today, Parker is 22 years old and living outside of Ringling with his wife, just one hundred yards away from where he grew up. With a goal to deadlift well over one thousand pounds at his next Strongman competition on April 29, 2023, Parker continues to pour his time and energy into training for the competition.

As Oklahoma’s third strongest man, Parker doesn’t have a coach or a commercial facility providing resources and support. But what Parker does have are the love and support of his family and his friends, along with the deeply held belief that it’s only hard work and dedication that stands between him and his goals. Parker’s ultimate goal is to win the World’s Strongest Man competition.

Passing Down the Legacy

Faith, family, and Weightlifting are the most important things to Parker, so it  should be no surprise when Parker says that he hopes to one day pass down his equipment to his children. He’s even started coaching his younger sister in powerlifting at his home gym.

Parker bends yet another bar that he loaded past the maximum for his training
Parker bends yet another bar in a normal day of training.

With no formal training, Parker’s journey has been entirely self-directed. He has never used any type of performance enhancing drug, has no coach or specific training program and trains in his own home gym. Parker marches to the beat of his own drum, using his experience, God-given abilities, and hard work to keep pace with his competitors. Parker believes that success is best measured by comparing ourselves to who we were yesterday, and to who we strive to become tomorrow. He refuses to become complacent in his pursuit of a legacy of excellence.

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