Columbus, Ohio has long been a CrossFit hub. Home to some of the largest affiliates and multiple Games champions, it’s also where you’ll find the headquarters of Rogue Fitness. They were the organizers and hosts of the Rogue Invitational, an official CrossFit Sanctionals event that took place on May 18-19, 2019. A small group from Wodify had a chance to attend the competition, less as brand ambassadors, and more as pure fans of the sport of CrossFit. This Invitational hosted a packed line-up of well-known All Stars, exciting up-and-comers, and some true Legends as well. Here are some of our big takeaways:
Rogue could’ve packed us in a tiny stadium and oversold tickets to this much-hyped competition. Or, they could’ve taken the individual events off-site and made us sit miles away from our favorite competitors. Instead, they nailed it. The size of the indoor and outdoor facilities was perfect, making the event intimate without ever feeling overcrowded. The Rogue Invitational gave off the same energy and vibe of the CrossFit Games, just with a smaller attendance.
Not all Sanctionals have been as star-studded as this one. Even though plenty of competitors were already Games-bound, they weren’t going to turn up their noses at a $50k purse. Given that the Games are so close, some athletes referred to the event as a warm-up, but watching in person, it was clear that everyone was gunning for that prize money. On both the mens’ and women’s side, it was a battle from the first event to the last. It was great to see Chandler Smith earn a coveted spot to the CrossFit Games. And it was truly inspiring to watch Kaitlyn Meade of CF Balance step-in from the sidelines and hit multiple 145lb snatches. Her effort was all the proof you’d need to realize that nobody was phoning it in.
The Rogue grounds made for an extremely fan-friendly event. A large outdoor area (mostly tented) housed the festive vendor village, and served as an easy-to-find entrance to the outdoor events. Inside, we passed through Rogue's amazing gym and retail shop to get to their giant warehouse. The organizers sectioned off a portion to create an accommodating indoor stadium whose atmosphere became electric once the competition was in full swing.
As an overall experience, this was a great Sanctional to attend. It was packed with a "Who's Who" of CrossFit athletes past and present. What more could an avid fan ask for? Columbus is a great city with plenty of restaurants, activities and sights to see. Transportation was simple thanks to Lyft being an event partner and LIME Scooters making city navigation easy and affordable.
The Rogue Invitational was not the first Sanctional of the year, but it’s clear the organizers were looking to set the standard that all future events must meet. If you were skeptical of the Sanctionals format, don't be. They are the future of the sport and fill the void of Regionals. Just like you, we can't wait to see more and look forward to finding out what other hosts bring to the table.