By Roger Lockridge
This new event is becoming a big deal very quickly.
Ever since the announcement was made that there would be 16 events that would serve as qualifiers for the 2019 CrossFit Games, the process and subsequent news to be shared has served as a drama for the fitness community. What would be next? Where is the next event going to be? Will there be any more surprises? Well, the 15th event was announced on November 1, and this one has created a lot of buzz ever since. It also came from an unexpected source.
Rogue Fitness, the well-known training equipment company whose name graces the plates that are lifted by athletes around the world, announced on their website the creation of the “Rogue Invitational,” which will serve as one of those 16 sanctioned qualifiers to help determine who competes at the Reebok CrossFit Games. While that alone is good news, there’s a lot more to this new event than that alone.
The Details: A City Of Fantastic Fitness History
The Rogue Invitational is scheduled to take place on May 18-19, 2019, at the Rogue Headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus has a long and storied history with sports fitness, most famously because of the Ohio State University as well as Arnold Sports Festival, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is held in Ohio’s capital every March. Now the CrossFit community will get to add to that history and make their own mark.
Another eyebrow-raising note was regarding who would be competing. The Rogue website states that it will feature “first-class competitors from around the world”; 20 men, 20 women, and 10 teams are included in that group. Among those invited will include the top 10 male and female athletes from the 2018 Games. That means this event could have both Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey competing on their stage. That alone would make this event a must-watch. When you add in the rest of the world’s elite, that means this event could be the appetizer for the fans and a preview of what’s to come at the Games later in the year.
There will be other top-ranked athletes will be among those invited. The remaining positions open will be filled via online qualifier. News and details of how that will go hasn’t been shared yet but will be at a later date.
The Prizes: Show Me The Money
While it would be great to qualify for Madison and that alone makes this event worth competing in, Rogue raised the stakes even more. It was also announced that every athlete competing in Columbus would take home a cash prize. The total purse across all divisions will total over $400,000. Female and male champions will take home $50,000 for their efforts. Event wins pay out $5,000 each. Second through 10th places will also receive cash prizes according to where they finish. Team champions will receive $20,000. Those of you who follow CrossFit know that these athletes are where they are because of the drive they have within them already. Imagine how much more competitive this could be with cash prizes at the end.
The Buzz & Other Information: Former Champs Are Excited
While the list of those invited hasn’t been shared yet officially, there still has been some talk online among the athletes including those who is likely to be competing at the Rogue Invitational, including Mat Fraser, Ben Smith, and Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet.
“Rogue doing Rogue things, excited for this one.”
–Mat Fraser, 2017 and 2018 Fittest Man on Earth
“This is awesome.”
–Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, 2014 Fittest Woman on Earth
“I can’t wait to compete in this one.”
–Ben Smith, 2015 Fittest Man on Earth
As for the other details, many have been wondering about streaming for the event. Rogue confirmed on Instagram that it will be available to watch on Facebook and there may be other ways that have yet to be announced. The event will also host spectators but no details confirmed on how to get tickets or how many will be available. None of the individual or team events have been shared yet either but that may not happen until May.
The places to keep an eye out for more information about the Rogue Invitational is by following @rogueinvitational on Instagram or by going to www.roguefitness.com/invitational . Of course, we will also share updates as they become available here on FloElite.
Roger Lockridge is from Lewisburg, WV. His work has been featured on numerous platforms and magazines in the fitness industry over the last 10 years. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @rocklockridge.