By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY – Staff Writer
Crestline is not only the current home of the world’s strongest woman, Deanna Flores, it is also her hometown where she grew up and where her extended family lives.
Flores was recently paraded through town during the two-mile long Jamboree Days parade where she received many cheers from parade goers and comments of shock, that we had a world champion living in the mountains.
Flores is a 2008 Rim of the World High School graduate. She attended Valley of Enchantment Elementary School and Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School while growing up. While at Rim High School, she played basketball and was First Team All-League and was declared Player of the Year. She was invited to be on the San Bernardino All-Star Team that competed against Riverside County. While attending Cal State San Bernardino, she chose to not play sports and focus on her studies, resulting in graduating with a B.A. in social work in 2014.
Flores has been a case worker for Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino for the past five years, with her caseload focusing on services for adult clients. San Bernardino County has one of the largest numbers of Regional Center clients, about 48,000, because of the abundance of resources available and home affordability for them.
Flores always schedules her time precisely because her family is her first priority, followed by work and finally strength training. She still calls Valley of Enchantment home, where she lives with her two children, Apollo, 11, who loves to play soccer, and Alessandra, 4, who is taking gymnastics and swimming.
Because she has stayed on the mountain, Flores has an extended and supportive family, including parents, siblings, cousins and friends in the community, who are quite proud of her achievements and have helped her extensively. This was especially essential while she was attending the world championship competition, which occurred during the blizzard in March 2023. Without their help, she wouldn’t have been able to either leave the mountain or focus on the competition.
Weight training has recently become a big part of Flores’ life. She often drives down the hill to train with her coach but, to use her time more efficiently, during most of the year trains with Internet trainers.
Flores hopes to create a formal gym in her home but now uses improvised training items at home. She is very careful and focused when she trains, as she doesn’t want to get injured. She also uses the formal training equipment at the Rim of the World Gym in Lake Gregory Village.
Last October, she participated in the national competition, where she was surprised to place third, putting her on the podium. The surprise resulted from her having trained for the 140-pound class but, when she weighed in at the competition, she was 1.2 pounds over the limit. She was placed into the 160-pound weight class, competing against strangers in that higher weight class.
With that third-place win, Flores was invited to compete in the Arnold Strongman Classic World Championship, which occurred from March 3 to 5, 2023, during the blizzard. She had made her plane and hotel reservations in December to get to Columbus, Ohio, and almost didn’t get to the airport because of the storm. She was unable to get out of Valley of Enchantment by vehicle, so she hiked and hitchhiked to get off the mountain.
After hearing about the collapse of Goodwin’s Market and being reassured by her family that they were fine, Flores refocused. At the end of the first day of competition, which had two events, she was in first place. She had to do a Viking Press, a sitting press up of 170 pounds from her shoulders, which she won. She also had to do the Farmer’s Carry, a timed event where she carried 197 pounds of hams for 50 feet, put it down, then did a dead lift three times, then dropped it, walked back and did another dead lift three more times. At the end of the day, she was in first place.
On the second day of the competition, all competitors began with a clean start each day. Flores competed in the Arm-Over-Arm Pull with a 50-foot weighted rope machine, moving 350 to 400 pounds across the room as fast as possible. She won by 2/10th of a second as she finished in 14.4 and the closest competitor was 14.6.
“It comes down to mini seconds when competing at these highest levels,” said Flores.
She also competed on the Rogue Dumbbell Machine and other events, finishing on the top of the podium with the title of Arnold Strongman Classic – World’s Strongest Woman.
“Strength is more to me than awards,” Flores said. “It is fun for me and good for health.”
Her next goal is preparing for an online qualifying World’s Strong Woman event by submitting three videos of her abilities of lift-ups, weight work and lifts to be invited to Charleston, W.V., for an upcoming competition. She will be training for her Overhead Press, hoping to be able to press 240 pounds per hand for five seconds and hopes to reach 500 pounds by the next competition. She also hopes to be able to do a dead lift for two reps of 370 pounds and to lift barbells from the ground at 400 pounds. She must submit the video in August and will know by September if she has qualified to compete.
“I am feeling stronger every day,” said Flores said, “and building more confidence.” She is being encouraged and challenged by friends online and in town. “Physically, I train alone but the online help is both encouraging and supportive. I have people around the world that support me in my quests.”