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Beyond Human Strength

CMU employee is working hard to compete at the highest level in his sport and to keep the community safe

If you go to the Hamilton Recreation Center at Colorado Mesa University at 5:30am and see someone doing 1,000-pound leg press repeats, or if you see someone working security at the winter X Games wearing only a pair of shorts and a t-shirt — you are witnessing Casey Walters in his element.

Walters, originally from Monroe, Louisiana first came to CMU on a football scholarship. He played for one year but decided to cut his career short to enroll in the police academy. Walters went on to work in a variety of corrections officer and private security positions. After commuting from Grand Junction to Aspen, Colorado for over a year while doing security patrol work, he decided to forego the long drive to focus on his family and accepted a position working for Facilities Services at CMU. He is currently part of the utilities staff and helps move furniture for staff and students as well as delivering tables and chairs for special events. He also provides security for Sodexo events on campus — especially those involving alcohol. In addition to his work at CMU, Walters also contracts with the winter X Games in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus service where he keeps the peace during ride-alongs.

The Hamilton Recreation Center is Walters’ favorite place on campus and he spends at least three days a week weightlifting to prepare for the sports he competes in — Scottish Highland Games and Strongman competitions.

“The rec center is a great place for me to relieve stress, but I’m also lifting heavy for higher reps, which is what the sports I’m into, like Strongman, requires,” said Walters.

Walters currently competes in the amateur divisions of both Highland Games and Strongman, but he aspires to go pro in one, or both, of the sports. He works with a local coach and recently became sponsored by Enhanced Performance Nutrition. In just a few years, he has made his way out of C Class rankings, is currently competing in B Class events and is on the edge of going up to A Class. Pro athletes in his sports are distinguished by placing well in A Class competitions and attending invitation-only events with large cash prizes.

“I found these types of competitions to be more up my alley than say, power lifting, where it’s just bench press, squat and deadlift. I’m six-foot-two with a six-foot-six arm span and that doesn’t exactly help me in the bench press. The events in Strongman are a big equalizer, and different events favor people with different builds,” said Walters. “I’m doing it for the fun right now. It would be great to eventually go pro, but the one downside to going pro would be that I would probably have to pick which one of the sports I love to commit to.”

In February, at the 2023 Ragnarök Games in Miami, Florida Walters faced off against an international field of Strongman competitors and hit two new benchmarks. In the farmers walk event, where athletes carry as much weight as they can in each hand for distance, Walters went 38 feet carrying 350 pounds in each hand, or 700 pounds total. In the super heavy yoke event, where you add weight to a metal A-frame (like a squat rack with a larger and smoother crossbar welded to it), Walters managed to lift 1,000 pounds and walk seven feet.

“While I only took it seven feet, I beat the guy that took first place overall in the super heavy yoke event. One thing I can say for certain though — that is the longest seven feet I’ve ever walked,” said Walters.

In September, Walters will travel back to Florida to compete in the World Strength Games Strongman competition, but first, he is headed to Salt Lake City, Utah in mid-June for a Highland Games competition. Walters loves living in Grand Junction because it allows him to easily compete in all the events in Utah put on by Utah Heavy Athletics as well as the events on the front-range put on by the Rocky Mountain Scottish Athletic Association. He has built many friendships in both communities and rarely attends national or international events without seeing a familiar face.

While Walters has seen recent success in Strongman events, he has a deep appreciation for the history and cultural connections that the Highland Games provide. He has tattoos celebrating his Norse and Celtic ancestry and his favorite event is the caber toss. In Gaelic, the word “caber” means big stick and the event originated from the medieval days when castles were being stormed and moats had to be crossed by throwing big sticks across them to act as bridges. When carrying and tossing these makeshift bridge poles, accuracy mattered, and in the Highland Games the goal of the caber toss remains to toss the beam and get it to land at exactly 12 o’clock relative to the sightline down your shoulder. Walters dreams of traveling back to Europe in the future and attempting some of the legendary feats of strength unique to the region.

“One of my long-term goals is to go to Iceland where they have a famous stone called the Húsafell Stone, which weights roughly 410 pounds — the idea is you pick it up and take it for a walk around this old sheep corral. The stone is in the shape of a wedge, and it is used as a corral gate, so the challenge is to pick it up, take it for a walk around the corral and put it back in its place,” said Walters.

He continued, “I would also love to go to Scotland and attempt to carry the Dinnie Stones. One of the Dinnie Stones is 400-something pounds and the other is 300-some odd pounds, and if you can even get them off the ground your name goes in a book. If you’re able to, you take them for a walk and just see how far you can go with them.”

When asked about how to keep the community safer, Walters recognizes that his impressive stature naturally keeps things peaceful, but he recommends staying aware of your surroundings and being vigilant about the little stuff, like locking doors and keeping valuables out of sight. He also suggests learning the basics of self-defense and believes that it is always better to have the skills and not need them rather than finding yourself in a situation where you need them but don’t have them.

Walters exemplifies courage and power, two of the values that define what CMU is, and what CMU is working to become as a Human Scale University. He models courage in his competitions as he pursues new challenges, and he is dedicated to using his tremendous power in collaboration with others to achieve the goal of keeping our community safe.

You can follow Walters on Instagram @RedTank74, and be sure to say hello if you see him in the weight room or at an upcoming event.


Written by Giff Walters