A Strong Man Wows Them

By Sharon G. Jonas
Chris (Wonder) Schoeck straightened and twisted horseshoes, and bent steel bars, railing posts, and industrial spikes in half at the Classic last Thursday. Jon Kassel

Chris (Wonder) Schoeck, 47, a personal trainer at Manhattan’s Equinox Gym who began bending steel five years ago, much in the manner of turn-of-the-century strong men at Coney Island, performed before a crowd of about 70 at the Hampton Classic last Thursday afternoon.

Schoeck, who’s only 155 pounds (his mentor weighed considerably more) and who recently set a world record for bending a three-eighth-inch-thick, 30-inch-long, 13/4-inch-wide steel bar, had ready volunteers among the children who were looking on.

“I don’t know how he does it,” 13-year-old Joseph Misa said after he and his cousin, Arianna Roye, who’s also 13, tried to budge a three-eighth-inch-thick, 17-inch-long, 2-inch-wide steel bar.

Schoeck, who that day straightened and twisted horseshoes, and bent thick steel bars, railing posts, and industrial spikes in half, in addition to ripping decks of playing cards into confetti, told his audience that “the limiting factor is the mind. . . . Visualize success and have faith in yourself. Persistence matters too. Just when you want to quit, give it one more try, give it your all. Success could be seconds or days away.”

The Queens native, who travels across the country entertaining and inspiring audiences, is the subject of an award-winning documentary, “Bending Steel,” that can be seen online at bendingsteelmovie.com.