By Eric Christensen

(CBS4) – Alex Kelley had a successful career with the Colorado Buffaloes. He started 38 games but after an unsuccessful tryout in the NFL, Alex figured he needed something to fill that football void.

Alex Kelley

(credit: CBS)

“I found this show on the History Channel about The World’s Strongest Man and I had a concept about what strongman is,” said Kelley. “It’s the guy on Game of Thrones, 6-foot-10-inches, 440 pounds — and I’m not that big, but two of the guys on that show were about my size. One of them won World’s Strongest Man and is about my size and I said ‘Well, maybe I’ll give that a shot.'”

So a little over a year ago, Alex walked through the doors at Gym Number 5 in Gunbarrel.

“He walked in the doors and my first reaction was ‘What rock have you been hiding under?'” said owner Russell Chagolla. “He has biceps that fill his shirt out and I knew right then and there this guy is special and I wanted to be part of it.”

Alex Kelley

(credit: CBS)

That’s when Alex started training and competing in strongman competitions. Sure his football background helps, but this is an entirely different ballgame.

“What’s more difficult — carry a 265 pound bag of sand or moving a 325 pound USC defensive tackle from point A to point B?” I asked Kelley.

“Definitely moving a 325 pound USC defensive tackle because they fight back,” Kelley said.

Don’t be misled, there’s nothing easy about what Alex does. On the day we visited him he needed to lift 360 pounds over his head three times to qualify for the Official Strongman Games. He could only manage two. That’s been one of the few disappointments Alex has experienced. After only 13 months, he’s competed in eight competitions and won five of them.

“I have a 1-year, 3-year and 5-year goal. My 1-year goal, which I actually reached, is to qualify for the amateur Arnold’s. My 3-year goal is to qualify for the World’s Strongest Man and my 5-year goal is to win it,” said Kelley.

(credit: CBS)

Lofty goals for sure, but when you see him deadlifting an all terrain vehicle, lifting 400 pound stones or carrying 400 pound bags of sand, Alex appears to be a natural.

“I like throwing things. I threw a full-sized empty keg a few weeks ago and I threw it 20-feet in the air, I enjoy that too.”

RELATED: 2021 World’s Strongest Man Finale Airing On CBS Saturday, September 4

Eric Christensen