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What’s It Like to Have CrossFit HQ Invade Your Gym? CrossFit Bison Tells All

February 26, 2023 by
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The CrossFit Bison community, which consists of 300 members, was electric this past Thursday as they hosted the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open 23.2 announcement, but it didn’t come without the cost of displacing members for a week as CrossFit HQ took over the space. 

However, co-owner of CrossFit Bison, Chris Tafaro, spoke for his gym in saying it was well worth it. 

Remind me: CrossFit Bison is located in Midland Park, New Jersey and hosted 23.2 on Thursday. The gym has the second highest registration for the Open in the U.S. with 275 members signed up. 

Tafaro said a lot of thought went into the gym being the right fit as a host and it didn’t come without sacrifice for his members. He adds, CrossFit HQ forewarned him of what would need to happen, but who could say no to hosting the pinnacle event of the sport?

  • “[CrossFit HQ] They warned us of that. They were like, you know, your members are going to be displaced, they’re not gonna be able to workout here for the week and that was our biggest concern, but they also are so detailed down to even the screws in the rig,” said Tafaro. 
  • It came down to logistics, he adds, “they wanted to do it in the northeast and we happen to be a gym that’s primed for that because of the affiliate leaderboard and because we’ve been in business now 10 years.” 
  • “It was amazing. It was just one of the coolest things I’ve ever been part of.”

When asked about CrossFit Bison’s secret to its impressive Open registration, Tafaro said he and co-owner David Syvertsen love the competitive nature, but really encourage members to do it to see individual progress being made. 

He and Syvertsen are both big on the Open and for different reasons, but for Tafaro it’s about the members, the everyday crossfitter. 

  • “As a coach, like seeing people get their first pull up or whatever it is, that’s the big thing for me,” said Tafaro. 
  • “That’s why we do this because it will force an athlete to stand up at the pull up bar, and get their first pull up for five minutes whereas in the workout they may scale out and do ring rows.” 
  • “I think when you look at the scores it’s sometimes the bigger gyms that are beating us in the beginning, but by week three we pull ahead because I feel like a lot of people just don’t finish the Open if they’re not doing well and there’s no incentive,” said Tafaro. 

Another way he engages his members to sign up is by having teams with coaches as captains and doing some in-house competition. Each team can tally points by doing the workout or judging for someone. 

The entire gym will now take on 23.2 just like the rest of the affiliates across the globe. However, Tafaro says being asked to host an Open announcement is a “big honor” and a testament to his members. 

“It’s almost like justification for our members who are so big on Bison and they promote Bison to their friends and their family and they get members and they may have not been to another gym to compare, but now someone else is telling them we’re doing the right thing,” he said.  

“They know they’re in the right hands now. It’s justification to them and us that they’re in the right spot.”

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