The Temecula Trifecta weekend saw Spartan Race unveil some new obstacles including the new Spartan Rig on display in the festival area. What a great idea! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Well someone did, in Canada. Killington Ultra Beast finisher Dom Maurice founded Platinum Rig in 2012, a company that specializes in high quality modular, portable and stationary rigs for Crossfit Boxes, back yards and OCR events.
In OCR races the Platinum Rig includes an always changing series of rings, Tarzan ropes, chains, monkey bars, swinging horizontal bars, etc… which Spartans must traverse using their upper body strength. They were quickly incorporated into Eastern Canada Spartan Races amongst others and have organized three Master of the Rig competitions. By 2014 Platinum Rig began to sponsor OCR athletes including 12-time consecutive Canadian Spartan Race winner Benjamin Morin-Boucher and Helene Dumais who made 17 Spartan Race podiums in 2014, including a 2nd place Killington Ultra Beast finish. In short, Canadians love Platinum Rig.
On June 8, 2014 Joe DeSena visited the Toronto Spartan Super where he took a liking to the Platinum Rig and decided to feature it in the Spartan Race World Championships located in Killington Vermont. Spartans may vaguely recall the orange Platinum Rig hidden away in the woods after the dreaded sandbag carry. It was far away from spectators, as Spartan USA likes to keep its proprietary obstacles by the spectator zone; it was not a talking point of the Spartan Race World Championships. Fast-forward to the OCR World Championships where Platinum Rig was again featured, but this time was placed in the middle of the action drawing a large crowd and truly inspirational moments. Some say the Platinum Rig made the OCRWC.
Now fast forward to the 2015 Temecula Beast, Sprint and Super held from Jan 17th – 24th where a new Spartan Race branded Spartan Rig makes it’s debut appearance in the spectator zone, outside the race course for Spartans to demo leaving Eastern Canadians thinking “really??” Actually, they took it further, some claiming they will boycott the new Spartan Rig when they travel to US Spartan Races, doing burpees instead of crossing an obstacle they have a lot of experience with. Some members of the Platinum Rig Team even went as far as to cancel their plans to race in American Spartan Races. When questioned whether he is surprised about the Spartan Rig, Dom maintains; “not really. We are still in business with Spartan Race here (Eastern Canada) and its a huge draw for us. Platinum Rig will keep looking forward and challenge all OCR racers in the best events in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Netherland and the OCRWC”.
Is this an overreaction? Sporting events copy other events all the time. It’s not as if Platinum Rig invented the rig and with all those attachments including a trampoline, it appears to be aimed to the commercial gym market. What maybe more of a “blatant rip-off” could be the new Multibar obstacle that is actually featured in Spartan races now.
But wait a minute! I’ve seen that obstacle before: Hangin’ Shaft at World’s Toughest Mudder. Actually, I’ve seen a lite version of it two months before WTM, at Tough Mudder Alberta. You can see it here in my report of that event. So is Spartan Race really to blame in an industry that copies and renames obstacles from other OCR events all the time? Aren’t they bringing in a giant slip-n-slide this year? How many races had that obstacle before Spartan Race decided to jump on that train, or slide? And how many OCRS have copied obstacles (and stolen photos) from Spartan Race? The problem I see with the Spartan Rig is that the name appears to already have been taken, Google it! And you can bet this Canadian won’t boycott that slip-n-slide!
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