The prisoners know. 

Kristyn Whisman can hoist a 200-pound boulder nearly over her head. She’s dragged a 646-pound yoke 18 feet. And lifted the chassis of a Honda Civic. The prisoners at Monroe Correctional Complex know because Kristyn Whisman is their college dean.

Which means when she pulls off those feats in the parking lot of Smitty’s Bar and Grill in Denison, Texas, on October 18 and 19, she’ll likely have the most unusual fan base of anyone in the 2013 America’s Strongest Woman competition.

The 30-year-old dean of correctional education at Edmonds Community College, which runs the prison’s GED program, says her role as a competitor allows the inmates—many of whom are serious weight lifters—to see beyond her gender. “I connect with them in a way that’s not too personal, too private.”

She’s entered more than 20 strong woman competitions since 2006, including the recent Washington’s Strongest Apple, which helped her qualify for the Texas event. 

It’s been a year of momentous feats. A prisoner serving life without parole recently earned his GED after trying for seven years. “I told him, and he literally dropped to his knees and started crying.” 

The other momentous feat?

She had a baby six months ago.

 

Published: October 2013