Steve Carrier is a tough guy, and he will prove it many times over when he comes to Altoona.
Carrier, a powerlifting champion, entertained on "America's Got Talent" more than a year ago by running through three 2- by-4 blocks of wood with the flex of his chest as they burst into flames.
While the audience and judges were impressed, Carrier said he was not chosen to continue in the competition.
(Courtesy photo) Steve Carrier, leader and founder of Mega Force Ministries, will demonstrate his power at First United Methodist Church in Hollidaysburg and the Jaffa Shrine Center in Altoona Sept. 16 to 19. Carrier, who is shown bending a frying pan, will talk about overcoming challenges.
But in life, Carrier is an overcomer who will share his story while entertaining at First United Methodist Church in Hollidaysburg, the Jaffa Shrine Center in Altoona and school assemblies in Hollidaysburg and Altoona school districts. All the performances are free with Carrier's shows being sponsored by the church. Offerings will be taken to defray expenses.
One of the first obstacles Carrier overcame was learning to walk without braces. Suffering from a genetic problem, Carrier was given little hope of ever walking normally.
According to his website, Carrier did not accept the professional's prognosis and played basketball in high school. He earned a sports scholarship to play basketball at Arkansas Tech University.
If you go
Name: Steve Carrier, powerlifter
When and Where: 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at First United Methodist Church, Hollidaysburg; 7 p.m. Sept. 17, 18 and 19 at Jaffa Shrine Center
Admission: Free, an offering will be taken
Services: Carrier will speak at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. Sept. 15 and 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sept. 16 at First United Methodist Church.
Now the 6-foot-4-inch, 290 pound weightlifter rips phone books in half and bends frying pans into the shapes of burritos. He can bench press 600 pounds and earned recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records for breaking 30 baseball bats over his thigh in 53 seconds.
Carrier, who lives in Texas, said while demonstrating his feats, he will talk about setbacks and overcoming them.
"I'll talk about the different things we go through," he said.
He said he will challenge people to keep moving forward despite difficult circumstances.
Founder of Mega Force Ministries, Carrier will speak about his relationship with Jesus Christ at the five services held at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. Sept. 15 and 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sept. 16 at First United Methodist Church, 801 Allegheny St., Hollidaysburg.
He will kick off his four nights of entertainment at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 with some hand feats at the church.
At that show, Associate Pastor Amy Raser will ask Carrier to perform acts that may challenge his abilities.
According to Senior Pastor Dennis Derr, Raser will become an honorary member of the Mega Force Team.
"I don't know what she will ask me to do," he said. "It's a surprise. I encourage the whole community to come out and support her," he said.
The shows will continue at 7 p.m. Sept. 17, 18, and 19 at the Jaffa Shrine Center.
"Every night is a totally different performance," Carrier said. He said if someone only goes to one show, he or she has only seen one aspect of the entertainment package.
"I save the best for last," he said. "It gets better every night."
He said the program is designed "to get you out of the house and off the sofa."
Although the programs at the schools are geared to youths, Carrier said adults will find the evening shows entertaining.
"I really want people to come to the shows at First United Methodist Sunday and at the Jaffa Shrine Center," he said.
At the nine school presentations, he will cover topics such as bullying, making positive choices and academic excellence.
"It's very entertaining. It's not a lecture. Kids don't listen to lectures," he said.
Carrier, who is a friend of Derr, has been in the area before. He spoke at First United Methodist in the spring and has demonstrated his strength at New Hope Baptist Church in Allegheny Township.
He has been performing his feats of power in communities all over America for 18 years and performs about 36 to 38 weeks a year.
Carrier said the last time he was in Altoona, he addressed a packed church. He said his talks are encouraging.
"You feel better about yourself. People are inspired. It is fun for all of the family," he said.