“Hands on a Hardbody” competition takes place in 2B alley

The+competitors+mid+competition.

Photo: Ryan Forgosh

The competitors mid competition.

By Ryan Forgosh, Staff Writer

For his 21st birthday, senior comedic arts major Max Charbonneau challenged a group of friends to hold onto the Norman Lear statue in Emerson’s 2 Boylston Place alley. He offered a case of 24 steaks as a reward for the competitor who lasted the longest.

Charbonneau was inspired by “Hands on a Hardbody: The Documentary,” a film detailing the Hands on a Hardbody competition in which 24 people touched a truck for as long as they could with the last person remaining winning said truck.

The event kicked off at 4 p.m and ended around 8 p.m. when there was just one person left on the statue. Although the competition only lasted about four hours, competitors said they were willing to stay for as long as necessary to win the steaks.

“I just thought, ‘What would people want?’” Charbonneau said. “What people wanted was a case of steaks.”

But the case of steaks wasn’t the only prize on the line. There was another thing at stake: bragging rights.

“There’s a couple vegetarians in the mix, that’s all I’ll say,” Charbonneau said.

Shortly into the competition, Charbonneau identified one contestant—Dylan de Jong—as most likely to win.

De Jong, a senior creative writing major, came prepared to win, going so far as to bring a chair and cushion for ultimate comfort.

“I mean, I’ll stay till tomorrow,” de Jong said. “I’ve got plenty of comfort built in.”

However, de Jong wasn’t alone in his strategy—senior comedic arts major Robbie Doty also brought a chair.

“I think [Doty] stole the idea from me,” de Jong said.

“Oh, I did,” Doty responded. “I did it better. I have a full gaming chair, he has a rickety little thing.”

Doty met Charbonneau in Stroopwafel, an on-campus improv comedy troupe, and was immediately on board with his idea for the competition.

“Max is always coming up with these really fun and weird ideas for shows and events,” Doty said.

The first competitor was eliminated when they accidentally took their hand off of the statue after around 45 minutes. After that, Charbonneau introduced a new challenge into the mix every hour. These challenges gave some competitors an advantage and eliminated others. 

Before the competition started, Charbonneau hid a piece of paper on the statue. Competitors voted for one person among them to receive a hint for where it was hidden. Whoever found it could reap the benefit of a 10-minute break from the competition.

Other planned challenges included calling someone in the hopes that they would answer, retrieving an object without taking your hand off the statue, and trivia.

First year comedic arts major Will Newschafer won the first challenge. However, Newschafer had no intention of using the advantage himself.

“I don’t think I want to use it,” Newschafer said. “I want to barter it off to someone.”

Newschafer took a different strategic approach than Doty and de Jong. While Doty and de Jong went for comfort, Newschafer strove for convenience. He duct taped his hand to the Norman Lear statue so he didn’t have to actively hold onto it.

Despite winning the advantage and taping his hand to the statue, Newschafer still was not confident in his chances for success.

“I think for a little while I’m okay but if [de Jong] is still in I don’t know if I have a chance,” Newschafer said.

Once again, de Jong was identified as the competitor to win it all. However, after four hours holding onto the Norman Lear statue, the one to take home the case of stakes was none other than Newschafer.

“This is crazy,” Newschafer said. “This is awesome, I’m ecstatic. This is a core memory.”

As the last one touching the Lear statue, Newschafer won the case of steaks, but after deals he made throughout the competition, only nine remained for himself. Newschafer traded steaks for people dropping out of the competition, forming an alliance with his competitors.

“It’s still a lot of steak, so I think I’m gonna have to throw a steak party,” Newschafer. “And, I’m going to use the bragging rights.”