Carhartt announced the winners of the Are You Carhartt Tough? contest – Jonathan Backus, from Hampton, Va. and John Irish, a roofing truck driver from West Allis, Wis.

CINCINNATI – Carhartt announced the winners of the Are You Carhartt Tough? contest – Jonathan Backus, from Hampton, Va. and John Irish, a roofing truck driver from West Allis, Wis.

Both winners were selected based on essays submitted that showcased qualities of “Carhartt Toughness” – strength, dependability, resilience and ruggedness. From Feb. 1, 2010 through Jan. 31, 2011, hundreds of essays were collected. Backus and Irish were two of 12 quarterly finalists, and their fates were dependent on Internet public voting throughout the month of February.

Backus is the epitome of strength, both professionally and personally. An employee of Dominion Virginia Power, he frequently works in dangerous, high-voltage environments in all types of weather conditions. On any given day, he may be scaling steel towers more than 300 feet high or working on energized lines reaching 34,500 volts.

Aside from his career, Backus’ physical strength fought a different battle last year when he was treated for Stage Two testicular cancer. After two surgeries and an intense chemotherapy schedule, he's proud to say he is now cancer-free.

“My fight against cancer took my physical and mental toughness to new levels,” Backus said. “I’m proud to be recognized by Cintas and will continue to prove that I’m tough enough to make it through anything.”

Irish, the second place winner, works long days as a truck driver, delivering shingles to construction sites. His tough job takes him up and down rooftops while carrying 100-pound bundles and his daily routine requires him to catch and lift thousands of pounds of shingles while on steep angles. He estimates carrying a combined weight of about 51,000 pounds per day. “Not many endure this job for many years, because it’s so physically demanding, but I’m ten years into it and going strong,” said Irish. “My Carhartt jeans take a beating just like I do, but they’ve proven to be just as resilient as I am.”

Backus, who received the highest number of votes, chose the Duck Hunt Trip for Two designed by Ducks Unlimited as his grand prize; Irish will receive a trip for two to the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series this fall.

“This is a great way for two well-respected work wear brands to showcase the men and women behind some of the toughest jobs out there,” said Steve Carter, Vice President of Corporate Sales for Carhartt. “Our customers work hard and play hard, and these are two fabulous prizes that we look forward to presenting to our top two finalists.”