Competitors raise weights, funds in charity Samson Fest

Dozens of competitors ranging from the bony to the bulky put their strength to the test for a good cause in a South Kitsap church parking lot June 8.

Aside from being outdoors, Samson Fest 2024 had all the similarities of your typical gym. The air was filled with the thuds of weighted bags, balls and dumbbells, and the grunts of effort all mixed together with background pump-it-up music. But perhaps the greatest sound was the cheers and high fives between competitors of all sizes as each took their turns at various stations to achieve their best marks.

For visitors to the community like Adam Shapiro, it was an incredibly hospitable introduction to South Kitsap. “I’ve competed in events all over, but you connect so quickly here,” he said. “We didn’t know each other two hours ago, and now everyone is connected and hugging and just appreciative of each other.”

Kitsap Community Development officer Derrick Means said there are many ways to support community, but the “avid fitness buffs” among their supporters had sought out what he hopes will be an annual way to bring fitness, faith, family and fun to the same event.

Local gyms and nonprofit leaders from around South Kitsap and Bremerton put it together at the newlife church in Port Orchard for a grueling CrossFit-style competition that raised around $3,000 for The Coffee Oasis.

The men and women with the muscle put on quite a show with some outlandishly big weights, but no matter the level of fitness prior to that day, everyone seemed to be putting their best efforts forward with plenty of lunges, lifts and those dreaded burpees to go around. “I dare say, a good time was had by all,” Means said.

Sydnie Kimminau with Annapolis Fitness & Performance said the event embodies what her organization is, making fitness a part of everyday life while breaking down the barriers of gym intimidation. “Anyone can come and join and not have to feel or be super fit. There’s families here, and it just embodies community.”

For those not so adapted to the fitness industry, it provided a unique coaching experience for some of the competitors as well. “I’m just so appreciative of the opportunity,” Shapiro said. “They seem to know our names already and are just so encouraging too.”


Men’s Experienced: Hunter Hohmann, George Clark, Eddie Allen

Men’s Novice: Michael Landin, Masen Taylor, Teddy Bowen

Women’s Experienced: Taylor Holmes, Hannah Roberts, Jesse Holloway

Women’s Novice: Leah Armstrong, Taylor Mason-Burns, Jill Benton

Youth Male Experienced: Logan Ward-Erickson

Youth Male Novice: Carson Krause, Noel Kopecky, Jack Shapiro

Youth Female Experienced: Isabella Dick, Jennifer Rogg

Youth Female Novice: Remley Roberts, Makiah Clark

Athletes take turns on a stationary exercise bike at one of the stations.

Athletes take turns on a stationary exercise bike at one of the stations.