CINCINNATI - After one month of public voting at, Cintas Corporation and Carhartt  announce the winners of the Are You Carhartt Tough? contest - Jonathan Backus, a lineman from Hampton, Va. and John Irish, a truck driver from West Allis (Milwaukee area), 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 at the contest website -  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," says Backus.  "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," says 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.

Cintas Corporation, North America's largest uniform supplier, created the Are You Carhartt Tough? contest in conjunction with a new partnership between Carhartt, the nation's leading manufacturer of premium work wear for over 120 years, and the roll-out of the new Carhartt Rental Workwear line, which is available exclusively through Cintas (

"This contest is really a reflection of our companies," says Chuck Helmes, Director of Garment Strategy at Cintas Corporation. "Both Carhartt and Cintas are known for providing tough products and dependable service, and we want to celebrate workers who reflect those same characteristics."

"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."