Articles from November 2010

Would you like your records?

by Al Myers

Joe Garcia, the OFFICIAL USAWA RECORD DIRECTOR,  has notified me that he will provide anyone’s individual records to them if they want them.  This will allow you to see what USAWA Records you actually have!  Joe has worked hard on the Record List lately and has it completely up to date.  Please contact Joe directly at to request your list.

Joe also sent me a listing of the prior  USAWA events which contain OVER 100 USAWA Records.  Of course, this is the records still on the books.  Very likely more records were set or established at the time, but have been broken since.  We have no way of identifying the number of records SET at the time of these old meets.  Just like the old saying goes “records are meant to be broken” – once gone they’re gone.  But it is still very interesting in seeing which events have the most.  To date, over 100 USAWA Records are in the Record List from 9 competitions – and very fitting the number one competition is the 1995 IAWA World Championships in Eastlake, Ohio directed by Howard Prechtel!

USAWA Events with Over 100 Records

1.  151 Records – 1995 IAWA World Championships in Eastlake, Ohio

2.  139 Records – 1991 IAWA World Championships in Collegeville, Pennsylvania

3.  125 Records – 2003 USAWA National Championships in Youngstown, Ohio

4.  119 Records – 2004 USAWA National Championships in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

5.  119 Records – 2005 USAWA National Championships in Youngstown, Ohio

6.  113 Records – 2002 IAWA World Championships in Lebanon, Pennsylvania

7.  111 Records – 1999 USAWA National Championships in Ambridge, Pennsyvania

8.  109 Records – 2010 JWC Record Breakers in Kirksville, Missouri

9.  106 Records – 1990 USAWA National Championships in Akron, Ohio

Christmas Extravaganza RB

by Dave Glasgow







18 DEC.-2010 1330 HRS.







Habecker’s Gym is Leading USAWA Club

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker (left), leader of Habecker's Gym and Art Montini (right), leader of Ambridge BBC relax together prior to this past year's National Championship. From the looks of this friendly picture, it's hard to tell that their clubs are in a heated battle for the 2010 USAWA Club of the Year.

As most of you know, one of the new programs I developed last year was the USAWA Club Award Program.  I did this for the main reason of encouraging club participation in the USAWA, with the hope that clubs will become more actively involved.  I really believe the future success of the USAWA lies with clubs.  The many lifts we do are difficult to learn and it takes someone who is experienced in All-Round Weightlifting to be able to mentor and teach others, which happens in a club environment.  It also takes a clubs support to be able to host and promote competitions.  I know I couldn’t put on the meets I do at the Dino Gym if it wasn’t for the support of the gym’s membership.  These guys provide “the muscle” needed to make a meet setup successful.  Often all the work they do is “behind the scenes” – but they know how much I appreciate them!!

I am VERY PROUD to say that this year MORE CLUBS are registered as “member clubs” of the USAWA than ever before in the history of the USAWA.  We have 10 clubs registered!  This makes me extremely happy – because I feel that the promotion of club involvement is working.  So I created a Club Award Program to recognize the clubs that are the most involved.  It is a very straight-forward points program and the points can be calculated directly from information available on the website. The previous year’s winner is not eligible the following year, but is responsible for giving out the award to the next year’s winner at the Annual General Meeting in conjunction with the National Championship.

Club Awards are determined by adding up club points using this 4-Step System:

1. One point awarded to the club for EACH USAWA registered member that lists the club as their affiliated club on their membership application. This designation is also listed beside the members name on the membership roster.

2. Two points awarded to the club for EACH club member that participates in the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup. Points are awarded for each competition, so if one club athlete competes in all three of these big meets it would generate 6 points for the club.

3. Three points awarded to the club for EACH USAWA sanctioned event or competition the club promotes.

4. Four bonus points awarded to the club for promotion of the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup.

Club Award Points to Date (TOP FIVE)

1.  Habecker’s Gym – 26 points

2.  Ambridge BBC – 19 points

3.  Frank’s Barbell Club – 17 points

4.  Clark’s Gym – 16 points

5.  JWC – 12 points

The TIME is not up yet!  Clubs STILL have till the end of the year to add points to their total.

Howard Prechtel – The Supreme All-Rounder

(WEBMASTER’S NOTE: The following was written about Howard Prechtel by Bill Clark in the February, 1990 issue of the Strength Journal.  It is  the BEST STORY I have ever read concerning the life and lifting career of Howard Prechtel.  It is worth sharing again for those who missed it the first time.)

by Bill Clark

Howard and Noi - an uplifting couple.

An All-Rounder is a person who gets a thrill out of lifting anything that isn’t attached – and some things which are.  Possibly no individual in the USAWA more truly personifies the all-round mentality than Howard Prechtel. The 64-year old Cleveland native has been picking up iron for 45 years and seems to be enjoying it more now than ever before.  Training is even made easier by coaching Noi Phumchaona, his wife and fellow all-rounder.  That’s them in the picture.

When Howard lifted at John Vernacchio’s Valley Forge open last November 11th and finished off the day with his exhibition of the Travis Lift, it was simply another chapter in the rather amazing saga of Howard Prechtel and the iron pile.  Howard was born in Cleveland and grew up there, dropping out of school to join the service when he was 17.  He fought at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima and was awarded two Purple Hearts for wounds that eventually were the reason he’s still lifting iron at the age of 64.  After war service, Howard returned to Cleveland, bounced from job to job for a decade, went thru a marriage, and wound up in a hospital with shrapnel from an old war wound threatening his future.

Along the way, Howard had become intrigued by strongmen, such as Warren Lincoln Travis and Louis Cyr.  At age 31, Howard started to work on the things the old-time strongmen did.  Now, 33 years later, he’s still at it.  At the Valley Forge meet, Howard banged out 108 reps in the Travis Lift with 1027 pounds in 75 seconds.  When Travis was at the top of his game, he did 100 reps with 1000 pounds in 75 seconds.  And he was far short of being 64 years old.  That effort, which was done under careful scrutiny headed by USAWA President John Vernacchio, currently is not an approved USAWA record – but the effort is on the table – not dead.

It also is the extension of a remarkable lifting career.  Howard’s efforts have been aimed at three Travis specialties – the Roman Chair Sit-Up, the Hip Lift, and the Back Lift.  He also has returned to Olympic lifting and has captured national and international honors.  He’s lifted in two world masters meets and numerous national competitions. Howard’s record surge goes back to 1961 – not long after his stay in the hospital.  He came up with a one-hand effort of 1020 pounds in the Hand and Thigh.  That was on January 12th, 1961 – more than 29 years ago.  In November, 1963, he broke the mark of Travis which had defied those who tried… he hip lifted 1025 for 105 reps in 75 seconds.  It was 16 years before Howard would beat the mark again.  In May, 1979, he did 108 reps with 1109 in 75 seconds. That effort remains his personal record.

In the Roman Chair Sit-Up, he started in 1973 with 713 pounds and today has raised the mark by over 200 pounds to 932.  His efforts in the Back Lift border on the frightening.  Travis had done 1000 pounds for 3000 reps in 101 minutes, and a total of 5,000,000 pounds in three hours, nine minutes.  In 1980, Howard did 3547 reps with 1070 pounds in 85 minutes to erase Travis from the books with 3,795,290 pounds.  Then, in June, 1982, he made 5460 reps with 1111 pounds in three hours, nine minutes to obliterate Travis’ mark with 6,066,060 pounds.  Travis had done 1000 pounds for 5000 reps in the same time period.

Who knows what Howard will do next.  He still keeps an active schedule as an Olympic lifter.  After all, he was third in the 198-lb class Olympic Trials back in 1956 and loves the overhead lifts.  Plus – he has Noi to train in those lifts as well. He’s become a leader in the USAWA, both on the platform and in the meeting room.  He’s the chairman of the Ohio chapter of the USAWA and a member of the USAWA board of directors.  he holds 60-64 age group records in the bench press feet in the air (90 kg), RH C&J (45 kg), Continental Clean (100 kg), RH deadlift (100 kg), Hack lift (127.5 kg), Hip Lift with traditional bar (648 kg), Jerk from Racks (90 kg), Neck Lift (115 kg), Two-hand DB press (62.5 kg), Two-hand Military Press with BB, heels together (72.5 kg), Pullover and Pushup (82.5 kg), RH Snatch (45 kg), Front Squat (127.5 kg), Steinborn Lift (92.5 kg), and Zercher Lift (137.5 kg).

Howard’s sincerest hopes for 1990 are that repetition records will be approved by the USAWA and that his mark set at Valley Forge will be accepted by the USAWA as a true record.  If the rep records become a reality, look for Howard to load up the back lift again and see if he can get 7,000,000 pounds next time.  If he does, you’d best bet on Howard.  The barrel-chested, short-haired military determination of the 17-year-old fighting a man’s war on Guadalcanal has not diminished one bit.

Gold Cup One

by John McKean

Howard Prechtel as a young man, sitting and relaxing as he poses for a picture with over 1000 pounds on his back!

Howard Prechtel phoned me to describe, in his typical factual but low key manner, his idea for a meet where IAWA World Champions would strive to set individual world records in their favorite lifts. He was most pleased to inform that the Wide World of Sports was VERY interested in TV coverage! Of course a large Gold Cup would be awarded to each successful contestant in this “World Champions Record Breakers” meet (in later years , Gold Cup meet was easier to say & inscribe on trophies!).

Soon, all lifters were wildy excited about this concept, and planned to travel to Cleveland( Lakewood), where the meet venue was a large High school, famous for its legendary football teams, and other athletics. However, as Howard later told me, with a bit of mirth in his normally somber tone, one prominent US lifter wasn’t too thrilled. Seems this specialty lifter had not ever entered or won a World Championship, but, in his own ,rather unhumble opinion, was very worthy of competing ( a legend in his own mind !) in this unique record day event. He phoned, more than once I believe, and pleaded, begged, and implored Howard to let him appear before the TV cameras! But Howard was always very principled, and held his ground – ONLY legitimate world champs would grace the stage!

Another famous lifter was quite excited to demo his skills to a televised international audience. But, though “sparse” of hair,had a bit of vanity to him and often wore an absurdly thick , wavy brown wig when out on the town. So, in preparation for his network debut, he had his wife, a professional hairdresser, dye his sidehair to yield a perfect, flowing brown tone to exactly match the shade of the 6″ muffet that was to be pasted to the top of his bare skull.Only problem was, our boy fall asleep during the dying process, the extra time converting his remaining real hair to jet black!! The hair piece had to remain at home, and fellow contestants had to bite their lips to suppress chuckles when they saw their newly done old pal, the darkest haired chrome-dome in history!

During the meet, everyone marveled at Howard’s organizing skills -the weight set up & appearance of the large auditorium was spectacular! The Gold Cups on display lit up the room to create added excitement & atmosphere of a truly important, historic event. The only disappointment, and it really seemed minor at the time due to everyone’s enthusiasm with the lifting, was that the filming crews never showed.

Spectator involvement may have been the largest ever -as mentioned this was a Saturday at an athletic based high school and most student athletes were there for Saturday training. These kids didn’t even mind sharing their spacious weight lifting room with competitors; they were thrilled to see real competition style lifters warming up beside them. One of the bigger football players , a nice,polite young man, couldn’t help himself but ask my (then) 12 year old son,Rob, what he could possibly be lifting in what was deemed by them a virtual “professional” weightlifting contest. When Rob described his intent to do a hand and thigh with 800 pounds, the senior linebacker almost fainted! And when Rob went off to lift, EVERY athlete crowded in to watch a grade school child pull a hard fought 800 ! In fact, Rob was so intent on this performance that he apparently broke tiny blood vessels in his cheeks and was red faced for a week!!

In this, and following Prechtel meets, lifters were supplied every comfort and convenience by Howard. He was, indeed, a Bob Hoffman of all-round lifting, and even looked like the ole “Father of Modern Weightlifting”, with a similar beneficial demeanor! We’ll miss ya, Howie, your meets and your character were pure quality, and your hard work & dedication to promoting them will forever remain as “golden” as your cups!

Other Tributes to Howard

by Al Myers

I was truly impressed with all the comments made about Howard.  It shows what a great man he was and the  positive influence he had on so many people.


Howard Prechtel passed away 9/11/10 Those who had the privalege to compete on the same platform would know he was a great guy, a true lifter of iron, wounded badly in WW2 he had shrapnel in him his whole life. An early mover in USA all round w/tlifting, he invented the Gold Cup World Record Breakers, he was IAWA Int…. Pres. before myself, I was proud to have known him and followed in his footsteps! Steve Gardner

A Great man and friend.Frank Ciavattone

Makes me sad to hear he passed! He was a great guy and teacher! Howie you will be missed greatly! RIP!Cara Ciavattone Collins

True gentleman.always there to help you rip howardAndy Tomlins

I was saddend to hear of Howard passing away..He was an outstanding lifter and a wonderful mentor to all in the IAWA, he will truly be missed and never forgotten..a kind and gentle soulLori Ciavattone

I am very sad to hear the news. He was a star, gentleman and friend. I will not forget him.Graham Saxton

This really made me sad. I always referred to him as ‘Uncle Howie’ as he seemed like that favorite uncle that everyone has. Even though he wasn’t a chiro, how many of us did he adjust over the years at the meets with good results? He also reminded me of Jimmy Stewart, with his gentle, polite manner, and kind of deliberate thoughtful way of talking with you. I’ll always remember him and his clodhopper shoes when he went out on the lifting platform. You always felt good after being around him. Rest in Peace, Howard. Joe Garcia

I first met Howard at the 1993 IAWA World Championships in Boston. He came up to me after my first continental snatch and gave me some pointers, and went on to help me throughout the meet. He came over to England for the Gold Cup that year in Burton England. He used to have a disabled girl come and watch him train her name was Becky Summers. He said she had more grit and determination than anyone he had ever met. Sadly she passed away, and Howard created an award in her honour “The Becky Summers true grit award” I remember him telling everyone about her at the awards ceremony, then to my utter surprise awarded me the Becky Summers true grit award. That meant SO much to me. This great man, a war hero, a world champion weightlifter and founder of the IAWA Gold Cup, thought me worthy of this award. This trophy to this day is one on my most prized possessions. I went on to meet up with Howard at every World Championships and Gold cup For around the next ten years, and he was always one of the first lifters i looked for when i arrived at the venue, to both greet him, and also have him adjust my neck. To this day no one has ever crunched my neck as good as Howard. I have been deeply saddened all day today at the news of Howard’s Passing. He was a mentor, father figure, hero, and out and out great man in my mind. - Steve Angell

I met Howard back in 1991 at the worlds and was very impressed with him.At every meet I attended he always helped me out with any adjustments it would take in a 10 lift meet if you know what I mean.Well my story that holds allot of value to me is in 1999 I had knee surgery from a falling off a piece of Heavy Equipment in November and with extensive physical therapy I was able to lift in the 2000 Nationals in May, well my knee was still bothering me and I went anyway I could only go about 80% out a 90% bend.When I got to the meet I had told Howard how nothing was working and he said no problem come over here and stand in front of the wall and put your hands to the wall and push your knees back to stretch out my hamstrings and repeat a few times well I’ll tell you the pain was gone and in a few weeks I was felling great.I straddle deadlifted 501lbs and allot more great lifts and it ended up being one of my best meets for personal records.I use his method all the time and have past it on to other people with knee problems with great results.He was a great mentor and friend and will be missed by all.He was always great to me and my family and the USAWA and appreciate everything did for all of us in the organization.  – Joe Ciavattone Sr.

I first met Howard in 1948, and my first impression of him was “The gentle giant”.  I’ve always thought of him in this way. - Dennis Mitchell

I will always remember Howard’s friendly smile, and how he helped me and many other lifters feel better by giving them those miraculous adjustments before they lifted. It was great to see him last year at the world’s. He was truly at great lifter and a great man. -  Denny Habecker

Howard at the 2009 Worlds

by Al Myers

At the 2009 IAWA World Championships, Howard couldn't "resist the urge" to go to the lifting platform one more time!

One of the BIGGEST SURPRISES of the 2009 IAWA World Championships in Lebanon, PA was NOT any of the lifting, but the unexpected appearance and attendance of Howard Prechtel.   Most of us had not seen Howard in several years, and we were not aware ahead of time that he was even going to be at this meet.  But in WALKS the PIONEER of the USAWA, Howard Prechtel, which took all of us by surprise!  It was a joyful reunion!  Special thanks HAS to go to Bob Geib for bringing Howard to this meet and making it all possible.  For several of us, that was the last time we got to visit with Howard.  I spent alot of time watching him throughout the day – and the ENTIRE TIME he had the biggest smile on his face.  It was obvious to me that he was enjoying himself immensely, as I’m sure it brought back many great memories to him from his days on the lifting platform.   His Grandson Melvin Cooler commented in the latest Daily News story about a quote Howard made to him, and it ringed so true at this time, ““I have forgot about alot of things in life, but I never forgot how to lift weights.”

Howard is one of three men (in my opinion) that shaped the early days and foundation of the USAWA.  Howard’s influence on our organization will ALWAYS be there – and without a doubt he will go down as LEGEND in our organization.

Thoughts from Howard’s Grandson

Dear USAWA community,

I am Howard’s grandson and I would like to thank all of you that have recognized Howard’s achievements throughout the years.  His life was weightlifting.  A man on a mission with 110% dedication.  It was very difficult to talk to Howard without mentioning something about lifting.  Howard was injured in WWII on the island of Iwo Jima and started exercising while in the hospital recovering doing repetitions with a broom stick.  As you can see he went from lifting a broom stick to breaking many world records. When I was 15 years old, he said, “son if you want to be the best, you have to believe that you’re the best and work harder than every other sob out there. No one is going to give you anything. You’re going to have to sweat for it.”  I am 49 years old now, and while visiting him in the nursing home in Cleveland in 2008 he told me the same thing again.  He also added, “How is your lifting going”?  I said, “Granddaddy, all you ever talk about is weightlifting.” He said, “I have forgot about alot of things in life, but I never forgot how to lift weights.”

At 85, he was determined to get back into competition and back into heavy lifting.  He said, “I have to get the hell out of here.  I have to get to the gym, gotta grab some heavy stuff.”  I said, “you really need to slow down.” He said, “that’s the problem, I don’t have time to slow down.”  He was still trying to exercise in the nursing home although the staff was not too happy about him bringing weights into the home for obvious reasons.

Again, thank you all so much for your support. I know that Howard was so proud of this organization and what you have achieved.  When you think about winning competitions, breaking records, or just being the very best at your skill, you better think about Howard. He gave everything he had to the very end!!

Very Sincerely,

Melvin Lynn Cooler

Tribute to Howard

by Scott Schmidt

Greetings, All

You may have just read the sad news on our Website that one of the Icons of the USAWA, Howard Prechtel passed away November 9th, 2010. Al Myers asked that we share our experiences with Howard. This is my response.


Scott Schmidt

Tribute to Howard

As a tribute to Howard Prechtel, I would like to offer a few words to describe his accomplishments, and his influence on my weightlifting career.

I knew Howard personally for over 20 years. I knew of his presence for over 30. He was a legendary Cleveland, Ohio strongman. Another fellow athlete and good friend, George Yanoscik always would speak of Howard’s’ fantastic feats in the all round type events as we trained on the Olympic style lifts. To hear some of his feats, such as 900 pound Roman Chair sit ups, or repetition Travis Lifts for multi-million pound results was incredible.

After years of hearing these great stories about Howard’s abilities, as good fortune would have it, George was finally able to introduce me in person to Howard. From that moment on, I could clearly see what a genuine hero Howard was. He gave me so much help in so many areas of training to get strong, and also how to avoid and recuperate from injury.

Howard had learned the “secrets” of the chiropractic techniques that could get you back to normal as soon as possible. Over the years, he ‘adjusted” thousands of patients, including medical doctors from the Cleveland Clinic! If that isn’t a testimony to his ability to heal folks, I don’t know what better endorsement there is!

In addition to his enormous influence on the sport of All Round Weightlifting, putting on countless meets, instituting the Gold Cup, and setting countless World Records, Howard was also a World Class Master Olympic Weightlifter. During his years of competing, he was only 1 title short of being elected into the US Masters Weightlifting Hall of Fame with 9 victories. He could have easily achieved ten and more, but his ability to travel to compete became limited primarily due to financial concerns. In my opinion, he certainly deserves the recognition.

In closing, I will share one quick demonstration of how Howard enabled me to win when I was injured. Back at the 1991 Masters Pan American Weightlifting Championships, I came prepared to compete, but an old back injury flared up upon arrival at the venue. I tried with no avail to sleep it off, but the morning of the meet, I had decided to tell the meet director, USAWA Hall of Famer John Vernacchio, I had to withdraw. But before I did, I ran into Howard and explained my problem. In a Milli-second, he said “Lie Down” . I did. And you know what? He fixed me to almost 100% in a few moments. I was able to succeed with about 90% of what I came to pick up, and was able to take home my first Pan Am Title. That story along with many others is why I want to pay tribute to the memory of a Great Hero, and I will be forever grateful to my personal friend, Howard Prechtel.

May he rest in peace.

The Amazing Howard Prechtel

by Al Myers

One of Howard Prechtel's favorite lifts was the Hip Lift. This picture will forever grace the page for the rule of the Hip Lift in the USAWA Rule Book.

This week is a sad week amongst the USAWA – with the news of the death of Howard Prechtel.   I have invited the membership (especially those who knew Howard personally) to share some stories about Howard.  I think this is the best way to deal with the loss of one of the true pioneers of the USAWA – by sharing stories that reflect how Howard influenced our organization and us as individuals.

I will go first (and I’m expecting MANY MORE to follow). I have only been involved in the USAWA for 10 years, and have met Howard only a few times, but each visit was memorable.  When I became involved, Howard was winding down his days of active competition.  I will say this – Howard has made a big of impact in our organization!!  Besides being a great lifter (who often would do things other lifters would not even think of attempting), he was our leader.  Howard served as President of the USAWA from 1993 to 2007. That’s 14 years out of our 24 year history!!  Howard also served as President of the IAWA.  He promoted countless meets – including big meets like the 1994 USAWA National Championships and the 1995 World Championships in East Lake, Ohio.  Howard was the originator of the Gold Cup, and had the vision of developing this competition into a WORLD CLASS event that would allow lifters to “showcase” their best lifts in the spotlight of a prestigious World competition.   Howard was a “lifter’s lifter” as I’ve heard the many stories about him utilizing his ability and understanding  of anatomy and the human body  by “providing adjustments” on meet days to lots of lifters, which undoubtedly helped many lifters achieve the lifts they wanted that day.  Everyone liked Howard.  I have corresponded with Howard though letters and he ALWAYS answered the questions I had.  One of Howard’s favorite lifts was the Travis Lift.  He not only established the the maximum record in it at the time (1815# at a record day in Ambridge in 1990), but he established many repetition records in it.  His letter advice helped me my design setup for the Travis Lift.  Now, in his honor, I plan to make the Travis Lift a big part of my training this coming year.

Howard STILL has many records in our USAWA Record List.  I just did a quick count and he still holds 171 USAWA Records.  Some of his BEST USAWA RECORDS are:

Lift Record Age BWT Location
Clean & Jerk, Right Arm 99 60 105 88 IAWA – Lecester
Clean & Press, DBs, HT 150 70 100 95 Art’s Birthday Bash
Clean & Press, Heels Together 182 65 110 90 Nationals – Akron
Continental to Belt 314 70 95 97 IAWA – Collegeville
Curl, Cheat 154 65 105 91 IAWA – Collegeville
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells 344 70 105 96 Buckeye RB
Hand & Thigh 1050 65 105 91 U.S. Inlands
Harness Lift 2218 65 105 93 Gold Cup
Hip Lift 1550 65 110 Ambridge, PA
Neck Lift 408 70 100 98 Nationals – Mansfield
Pullover & Push 243 65 105 91 Nationals – Ambridge
Roman Chair Situp 738 65 110 Valley Forge, PA
Snatch, Right Arm 99 65 105 91 IAWA – Collegeville
Steinborn 259 65 105 92 Nationals – Walpole
Travis Lift 1815 65 105 Record Day – Ambridge
Zercher 331 65 105 91 Nationals – Ambridge
Zercher, Left Arm 220 70 100 96 Gold Cup

All of these records were established when Howard was OVER 60 years of age!  Can you imagine what his lifts would have been in these lifts if he had done them in his 20’s and 30’s??  Truly remarkable records – many of which will NEVER be broken!  The USAWA is a much better organization because of Howard Prechtel! He will not be forgotten.

Howard Prechtel has Passed

by Al Myers

Howard Prechtel's Obituary

I just received the sad news that longtime USAWA leader and All-Round weightlifter Howard Prechtel has died.  Howard was known by everyone in our organization and was greatly respected by all that knew him.  His funeral will be tomorrow, November 23rd, at 11:30 AM.  I know several of us have memories and stories about Howard and how he has impacted our lifting careers.  Please send me these stories,  as I would like to dedicate this week  to Howard by features about him in the website’s Daily News.

Max Sick (Maxick)

by Dennis Mitchell

Maxick demonstrating his "muscle control".

Max Sick was born on June 28, 1882 in Bergenz Austria.  As a youngster he suffered with lung trouble, rickets,and dropsy.  At the age of ten he made his own weights and started working out.  His parents were against weightlifting and destroyed his weights.  In order to keep working out Max started doing muscle control exercises.  He was very successful and to this day is remembered mostly for his muscle control ability.  Although Max, who later changed his name to Maxick, claimed to have developed his very fine physique and strength using only muscle control, he did some very excellent lifting, leading us to believe that he trained quite a lot with the weights.  He was capable of a continental and jerk with double body weight.  Maxick stood 5′3.75″ and weighed between 145 and 147 pounds. Some of his other lifts were:

Right hand military press – 112 pounds

Right hand snatch – 165 pounds

Right hand swing with dumbbell – 150 pounds

Right hand jerk (two hands to shoulder) – 240 pounds

Two hands military press – 230 pounds

Two hands clean and jerk – 272 pounds

Two hands continental and jerk – 340 pounds

He was also a very good gymnast and hand balancer, and was unbeatable in “Finger pulling” beating men who weighed over two hundred pounds.  Maxick was also a very good business man.  He wrote many books on muscle control and was business partners with both Monti Saldo and William Bankier (Apollo).  His muscle control courses were still being sold into the 1970’s under the name of Maxalding.  Maxick died in Buenos Aires in 1961, where he ran a gym and health studio.  He was active even on the day that he died.  That morning he had been wrist wrestling with a friend and then rode his bicycle home.  He was later found lying on his back with a note under his heal, that stated,  “My heart is beating rather slow, I feel extremely cold, I think it will be over soon. Remember the infinite is our freedom manifested through our consciousness”.  Dated, May 10, 1961 22 hours.

Joe Ciavattone Sr.

by Al Myers

Joe and his sons at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup displaying their Championship Trophies. Pictured left to right: Jonathon, Joe Sr., and Joe Jr.

One of the very exciting things that I accomplished at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup in Walpole, Massachusetts was interviewing Joe Ciavattone Sr. for his USAWA Hall of Fame Biography.  Joe was inducted into “the hall” in 1996.  One of my goals for this website was to  give recognition to ALL USAWA Hall of Fame members by including biographies on each of them.  So far I have 16 bios out of the 22 HOF members.  The ones I still need are for Ed Zercher, Noi Phumchaona, Chris Waterman, Bob Hirsh, Rex Monahan, and Bill DiCioccio.

I had a great time visiting with Joe and his involvement throughout the years with the USAWA.  His passion for All-Round Weightlifting is evident when talking with him – and just watching him get excited when his sons pulled out big lifts at the Gold Cup was a highlight for me.

The blog below contains Joe Ciavattone’s  USAWA Hall of Fame Biography.  Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Biography – Joe Ciavattone Sr., class of 1996

Joe Ciavattone Sr. at the 2000 USAWA National Championships performing a 661# Neck Lift, before he set the All-Time USAWA and IAWA Neck Lift Record of 804.5 pounds in 2005.

Joe Ciavattone Sr. was born July 9th, 1968 in Norwood, Massachusetts.  He has lived in Norwood his entire life.  Joe has worked in construction throughout his working life, and is currently a construction foreman and heavy equipment operator.  He has several construction licenses, including a hydraulic, tractor trailer, and supervisor’s license.  For the past 6 years Joe has been busy working on a 200 house subdivision site.  Joe has been married to his wife Debbie for 18 years.  They have four sons – Mike, Marc, Joe Jr., and Jonathon.  They have lived in their house since 1994, which is also the home of Joe’s Gym.  Joe’s Gym has a very nice set up of weights and equipment needed for all the USAWA lifts and general weight training.  A big part of Joe’s training now is involved with coaching and training with his sons.

Joe Ciavattone at age 15 competing in an Olympic Weightlifting Meet.

Joe started weight lifting at the age of 4 in his parents shed with his brother Frank, another USAWA Hall of Famer.  They are the only two brothers in the USAWA who are both in the USAWA Hall of Fame.  They trained together whenever possible.  As Joe got older, he started competing in local Olympic Lifting meets throughout the New England area.  He became involved with the USAWA in 1990 at the Strongest Man in New England Contest which was sanctioned by the USAWA.  Joe continued to compete in Olympic Lifting until 1995.  Some of the competitions he competed in were the Bay State Games, Salam Open, Atlantic State Open, Holyoke Open, and various AAU Junior Olympic Meets.  He also competed in the Junior Olympics in 1987 in Syracuse, New York.  He trained in Rhode Island under the great coach Joe Mills.  Joe still comments that was one of the best lifting experiences of his life.  During this time in his training, he perfected the Split Clean and Split Snatch under Coach Mills which has helped his weight training through today.  At that Junior Olympic Weightlifting Meet, Joe placed third as a teenager, which he feels was a testament of his quality training.  Joe played football for 5 years, including 8th grade and throughout High School.  He was Captain of his High School football team.  He started Varsity as a Junior and Senior at the Center position and was Honorable Mention for State as a Senior.  Since then, he has still been involved in football and has been a youth coach for 16 years, from 1987 to 1995, and from 2004 to 2010.  He is very proud to have coached two teams to the Youth Superbowl with a record since 2004 of 41-15.   Joe also coaches weightlifting at his local High School for athletes involved in the football and baseball program at his gym, Joe’s Gym.  Joe remarked, “I’ve always enjoyed coaching football and weightlifting over the years as all the knowledge I have gotten in lifting in the USAWA from good friends here in the US and England.  The knowledge of competing and training that I have gotten has made me the coach and champion that I am today.”

Joe Ciavattone pressing the famous Ciavattone Train Wheels in 2000.

Joe made sure to mention his brother Frank and credits him for getting him involved in lifting at a young age. Frank  encouraged him to pursue Olympic Lifting, and eventually persuaded him to get involved with the USAWA.  The mixture and variety of the various All-Round Lifts fit Joe perfectly as it allows him to get all forms of lifting within one organization.  Today, Joe trains mostly at his home gym, Joe’s Gym.  Since he is busy with work and family, it is the best fit for his schedule.  It also allows him to spend time with his sons, as they train for weightlifting and football.

Joe has been involved as a meet director within the USAWA.  Some of the competitions he has promoted include the 1997 New England Strongman Championship, the Ciavattone Classic, the Norwood Record Breakers Day, Joe’s Gym Record Breaking Day, the Norwood Championships, the New England Championships, Gardner’s versus Ciavattone’s Postal Meet, and the Ciavattone versus Fulton Postal Meet.  His gym has recently been very active in the USAWA Postal Meet Series.

Joe Ciavattone Hack Lifting 454 pounds at the 1998 World Championships in England.

The Neck Lift is the lift that Joe is most proud of.  He has held the World Record in it in four different weight classes and breaking such barriers as 700 pounds and 800 pounds.  He holds the All-Time Neck Lift Record for the USAWA and IAWA with a lift of 804.5 pounds.  The other lifts he likes are all the varieties of Bench Presses within the USAWA.  Joe currently has a unequipped Bench Press of 375 pounds.  The Ciavattone Deadlift is also a favorite, and he feels it is a true test of hand and leg strength. When asked what initially interested him in the USAWA, Joe replied, “I like the many different type of lifts and training different lifts for competition, which makes this sport very interesting to me.” When asked if there were any meets that meant the most to him, Joe replied, “In 1998 I went to the World Championships in Leicester, England.  I had trouble in training for the Hack Lift, and only was getting 300 pounds in training, but got 454 pounds at the meet.  Training for a year as well as saving money to go over seas was hard, but was well worth it to bring home a Gold Medal.  The second meet was the 2005 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships where I Neck Lifted 804.5 pounds for the All-Time Record.  The third meet would be the 2005 Gold Cup in Maui, Hawaii where I saved up money to take a weeks vacation with my wife and break the World Record in the Reverse Grip Bench Press of 300 pounds.”

Joe’s resume of Championships is quite long.  He has been World Champion  5 times, National Champion 6 times, and has won 3 National Heavy Lift Championships.  He has also competed in 6 Gold Cups. In 1998 at the USAWA National Championships in Mansfield, Massachusetts, Joe was the Best Lifter of the entire meet!

Joe is a perfect example of someone who can lead a balanced life and still be a Champion Weightlifter. He spends a lot of hours at work, yet still finds time to be involved with his son’s activities, and not just in attendance, but actively involved as their coach and supporter.  On top of this, Joe always helps out as an official at meets and attends as many meets that he can.  You can count on him supporting the USAWA through participation in Postal Meets at Joe’s Gym.  In closing, Joe remarked, “Being part of the USAWA is a very important part of my life because of the friends I have made, and the competitions are always of the highest quality.”

Scott Schmidt’s Hall of Fame Induction

by Al Myers

One of the historic events that occurred at the 2010 Gold Cup in regards to the USAWA was the Official Ceremony in which Scott Schmidt was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame.  The USAWA Hall of Fame Award is the highest honor in the USAWA.   It recognizes outstanding achievement as a lifter, and leadership qualities that are exhibited within the USAWA.  Scott is the PERFECT EXAMPLE of a Hall of Famer – and it was my honor to be able to give his induction speech at the banquet.  I am going to include it here so those who were not in attendance will know WHY Scott was the latest member of the USAWA Hall of Fame.

Scott Schmidt (left) receiving the USAWA Hall of Fame Award from USAWA Awards Director Al Myers (right).

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Scott Schmidt – by Al Myers

It is my honor to be able to give this speech in recognizing Scott Schmidt as the most recent member of the USAWA Hall of Fame. I first met Scott at the 2005 USAWA National Championships in Youngstown, Ohio, and I could tell right away that he was someone who took his weightlifting serious. I have to admit – I was somewhat intimidated by him at first. He was all decked out in his official warm-ups, and carried himself like someone who came to the meet to do business. This was just the start of our friendship. Since then, I have had the opportunity to compete with Scott at several meets. I have developed great respect for Scott and his enthusiasm he has for All-Round Weightlifting. He always has his “game face” on during competition but at the same time he is always giving encouragement and support to the other lifters.

Truthfully, I have to say it is about time Scott is inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame. Our Hall of Fame program has been dormant for the past several years. We should have honored Scott with this award before now. He now becomes the 22nd member of this very prestigious fraternity in the USAWA which represents the highest award the USAWA has to offer.

It’s time I tell you a little about Scott and why he is so deserving of this award. Scott was born on November 15th, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio. He has lived in the Greater Cleveland area his entire life. He has been married to his wife Kathy for almost 33 years, and they have two children, Alan and Heather, and one grandson Joel. He has spent his entire working career in business, and currently he is selling Natural Gas and Electric service to commercial accounts. Scott also does a lot of volunteer work for his church, Unity Lutheran of Cleveland. He has been President of the Church Council for 12 years. His other athletic pursuit is golf, which he does at least once per week. Believe it or not, Scott is a pretty good golfer as well as weightlifter, and often scores in the low 80’s. Last year he received a plaque for his first Hole in One!

Scott started lifting when he was 14 years old. His first competition was in 1967. Scott started his competitive lifting career as an Olympic Lifter and has compiled a very impressive resume of achievements. He has won the Ohio Open State Championships 10 times, the Ohio Master’s State Championships 18 times, American Open four times, 2 National Master’s Championships, and 4 American Open Masters Championships, along with 4 Pan American Masters Championships. He has placed in the top 5 in all four of the World Championships he has been in. In 1993, he missed winning first place in the World Championships due to one missed snatch! Scott has set over 50 Open and Masters Ohio State Records through his Olympic lifting career. On top of ALL THIS, his club, the Schmidt’s Barbell Club, has won 25 team titles!

Scott was first introduced to the USAWA by Bob Karhan, a past USAWA Champion. Scott’s first USAWA competition was in 1992 at the USAWA Winter Fest, a winter all-round meet which was held at the Ambridge Barbell Club. Since then, Scott has been a regular at USAWA meets and always a top competitor at our National Championships. His specialties are overhead pressing and jerks, gripping events, and the heavy lifts – notably the Hand and Thigh and the Hip Lift. Back in 1996, he was the first man in the USAWA to Clean and Push Press over 300 pounds. He is member of the “century club” – a designation I have given to USAWA lifters who hold over 100 USAWA records. There are ONLY 20 lifters in this club, which is another accomplishment that warrants Scott’s outstanding involvement with the USAWA. In All-Round Lifting, Scott has won 10 National Championships and 8 World Championships. He has participated in the Gold Cup 6 times. He has placed in the top TEN among all competitors 4 times at the USAWA National Championships, with his best finish being 2nd overall at the 2008 Championships.

Scott – you are the perfect example of the type of person and lifter all others should strive to be like. You have been a leader in the USAWA. You support your fellow competitors. You demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship. You have supported local competitions as well as being involved in the major competitions. It is my honor at this time to officially present you the award that you have spent 20 years working towards. You have more than earned it.

Appreciation Response – by Scott Schmidt

First of all, let me say it is an honor to be here at the Gold Cup Banquet with the privilege of being inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame. After many years of effort, it was truly a warm feeling of accomplishment when I was chosen this summer to be recognized by our members to join the Hall of Fame. When I consider what the folks who are in the Hall have done, I am indeed humbled by this award. In addition to all the feats of strength they have preformed, one incredible common bond is the camaraderie they all share. I believe all our top performers enjoy helping assist others succeed as much as they enjoy winning themselves. That quality is what makes me extremely grateful to join the Hall.

I also feel this is a great aura to have in our organization to in-cent new members to join the USAWA as well.

In summary, I wish to sincerely thank all of you responsible for allowing this ceremony to take place. All of our voting members. All of our USAWA executives. All of our Hall of Famers. My entire family for their years of support. And most of all, I thank God for enabling me to share all these wonderful strength experiences with such an outstanding group of competitive athletes, and good hearted human beings. Especially Al Myers, who organized the Hall of Fame election process, and Frank Ciavattone and his family, who volunteered to put a ton of effort into holding this fantastic Gold Cup event and banquet.

Hall of Fame Biography – Scott Schmidt, class of 2010

Scott Schmidt performing a Snatch in an Olympic Lifting Competition.

Scott Schmidt was born on November 15th, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio. He has lived in the Greater Cleveland area his entire life. He has been married to his wife Kathy for almost 33 years, and they have two children, Alan and Heather, and one grandson Joel. He has spent his entire working career in business, and currently he is selling Natural Gas and Electric service to commercial accounts. Scott also does a lot of volunteer work for his church, Unity Lutheran of Cleveland. He has been President of the Church Council for 12 years. His other athletic pursuit is golf, which he does at least once per week. Believe it or not, Scott is a pretty good golfer as well as weightlifter, and often scores in the low 80’s. Last year he received a plaque for his first Hole in One!

One of Scott's favorite All-Round Lifts is the Hip Lift.

Scott started lifting when he was 14 years old. His first competition was in 1967. Scott started his competitive lifting career as an Olympic Lifter and has compiled a very impressive resume of achievements. He has won the Ohio Open State Championships 10 times, the Ohio Master’s State Championships 18 times, American Open four times, 2 National Master’s Championships, and 4 American Open Masters Championships, along with 4 Pan American Masters Championships. He has placed in the top 5 in all four of the World Championships he has been in. In 1993, he missed winning first place in the World Championships due to one missed snatch! Scott has set over 50 Open and Masters Ohio State Records through his Olympic lifting career. On top of ALL THIS, his club, the Schmidt’s Barbell Club, has won 25 team titles!

Scott was first introduced to the USAWA by Bob Karhan, a past USAWA Champion. Scott’s first USAWA competition was in 1992 at the USAWA Winter Fest, a winter all-round meet which was held at the Ambridge Barbell Club. Since then, Scott has been a regular at USAWA meets and always a top competitor at our National Championships. His specialties are overhead pressing and jerks, gripping events, and the heavy lifts – notably the Hand and Thigh and the Hip Lift. Back in 1996, he was the first man in the USAWA to Clean and Push Press over 300 pounds. He is member of the “century club” – a designation given to USAWA lifters who hold over 100 USAWA records. There are ONLY 20 lifters in this club, which is another accomplishment that warrants Scott’s outstanding involvement with the USAWA. In All-Round Lifting, Scott has won 10 National Championships and 8 World Championships. He has participated in the Gold Cup 6 times. He has placed in the top TEN among all competitors 4 times at the USAWA National Championships, with his best finish being 2nd overall at the 2008 Championships.

Scott Schmidt is the perfect example of the type of person and lifter all others should strive to be like.  He has been a leader in the USAWA. He supports his fellow competitors. He demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship. He has supported local competitions as well as being involved in the major competitions.  Scott has more than earned this USAWA Hall of Fame Award.

A Week of Broken Records

by Al Myers

Between the time span of less than 10 days, 150 new records were established in the USAWA.  This has to be a record in itself – I never remember this many new records in such a short time span.  Pity poor Joe Garcia as the Official USAWA Record Keeper!  He will be “burning the midnight oil” updating our USAWA Record List.  It all started with Thom Van Vleck’s JWC Record Breaker on October 29th, where a goal was established of setting over 100 records.  They achieved this with ease, and then on November 6th, where two USAWA meets were contested on the same day – the Backbreaker and the Gold Cup – more records fell by the wayside.

I was hoping 2010 would be the YEAR OF RECORDS – where the most USAWA Records were established in one year.  So far – and I have been counting – we are at 561 records for 2010.  As I stated in a previous Daily News story, the most in a year is 702 (which occurred in 2005).  We are not out of time yet – so maybe there’s a chance??  All it would take is for Thom to host another record day and he could do it ALL by himself!!

But the real question is this – who’s leading in the RECORD RACE between Denny “the Prez” Habecker and Art “the Man of Steel” Montini?  Denny pulled a “fast one” on Art at the Gold Cup by breaking one of Art’s records.  Art even commented to Denny at the meet about this “trick” – by not just adding to his total, but taking away from Art’s!  I can’t stand the suspense – so here it is!!

#1. Denny Habecker – 378 USAWA Records

#2. Art Montini – 369 USAWA Records

Denny Habecker used a little brains, along with brawn, to stay ahead of Art Montini in the USAWA Records Race. At the 2010 Gold Cup, Denny broke Art's record of 143 pounds in the Arthur lift with a lift himself of 154 pounds.

On the last count, Denny was at 369 records compared to Art’s 362 records. So he’s stretched his lead.   That was a couple of month’s ago.  It is a good thing Denny is not “just taking it easy on the coach” or Art would have passed him!!  I will keep everyone informed of this ongoing saga between these two old IRON-SLINGERS who are both showing no signs of slowing down!!

RECORDS THAT HAVE FALLEN – Records in last three events

My Thoughts on the Gold Cup

by Al Myers

Gold Cup Meet Director Frank Ciavattone (left) and IAWA President Steve Gardner (right) directed the Awards Banquet after the meet.

I am a little embarrassed to admit this – but the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup in Walpole, Massachusetts was the FIRST Gold Cup that I have attended.  Truthfully, in the past I just couldn’t understand why someone would go to a meet where ONLY one (or two if time permitted) lifts for records were allowed.  It just didn’t seem to make sense to me – especially since I could go to a local record day or a meet and set SEVERAL RECORDS.  So I always passed on attending “the cup”.  But now since I have been to one, I now understand the significance of this meet and have a completely different feeling about it.  The Gold Cup is one of only two IAWA Events (the World Championships being the other) that is contested each year.  It signifies the excellence of our lifts and recognizes those that are representative of our organization on an International level.  By attending, it shows that you are one of the elite lifters of the organization.  The Gold Cup was initially organized by Howard Prechtel several years ago with the concept that this meet would allow lifters who were World Champions to come to perform their BEST lifts for records, and in the process have a RECORD DAY that was the BEST of the BEST, and thus give our organization more exposure by demonstrating the tremendous abilities of the lifters within our organization.

Joe Ciavattone Jr., at 17 years of age, deadlifting 227.5 kilograms for a World IAWA Record.

What all can I say about the efforts of Frank Ciavattone for organizing this great event???  Frank has been a National and World Meet promoter for many years, and his experience of putting on a TOP QUALITY EVENT was evident.  Frank had an excellent venue for us to compete in.  It was held at the Italian American Club in Walpole (which is just outside of Boston).   Lots of room for lifting and viewing, a great platform to lift on, and plenty of weights.  Our IAWA President Steve Gardner handled the scoretable and announcing and kept things flowing very well. Judy Habecker assisted with the scoring and does more “behind the scenes” than anyone else in the USAWA.  Thank you Judy from all of us!!!  Eighteen lifters competed and set many new IAWA World Records.  I really enjoyed seeing the variety in lifts performed – from deadlifts to presses, to unique lifts like the Clean and Press on Knees.  Some of the lifters were “seasoned” competitors like Art Montini and Denny Habecker, while others were still teenagers, like Joe Ciavattone Jr, Jonathon Ciavattone,  Frankie Ciavattone, and Kohl Hess.  The age of the lifters varied between 16 and 83 years of age.

Dennis Mitchell, at age 78, performed 600 repetitions on the Roman Chair Situp!!

What were the highlights of the meet?  That is a hard question to answer because it seemed every Gold Cup Record was a highlight.   Things that really impressed me where:  seeing Frank do 160 kg in his signature lift – the one armed deadlift, watching the wily Dennis Mitchell performing 600 reps in the Roman Chair Situp at the age of 78, and seeing Art perform a stiff-legged deadlift of 100 kg with ease. Most guys his age couldn’t bend over to pick up 50 pounds and he does over 200 pounds with straight legs!!  Of course, I really enjoyed watching Joe Ciavattone Jr. deadlifting over 500 pounds for the first time!  I very clearly remember when I did that for the first time as a teenager.  That had to be one of the best lifts of the day.  My father LaVerne attended the meet with me and I talked him into lifting.  He did a 187# one handed Ciavattone Deadlift.  At the awards banquet when he was presented his trophy he remarked to the group that it was the first trophy he had won in a weightlifting meet!  And speaking of trophies, Frank went way beyond expectations with the trophies he gave out.   He awarded EVERYONE a large Gold Cup in appreciation of their performances.  Just another little thing that SHOWS why the Gold Cup means just a little bit more than another ordinary record day!  Chad and I were the only ones to do a two man lift for IAWA record.  We decided to do a 2-man deadlift, after first wanting to do a 2-man one arm deadlift (but it is not an IAWA lift).  After doing 1000# in the 2-man deadlift, we were allowed to do our 2-man one arm deadlift for exhibition and USAWA Record.  I wanted to do this lift for Frank – and thankfully (because I didn’t want to let Frank down) – we got our 800 pounds.  Another great performance of the day was John McKean’s one arm dumbbell deadlift of 266# (I know his inspiration was that DINO GYM SWEATSHIRT he was wearing!).  This broke a record he set over 10 ago – which shows he is getting better with age.  I really enjoyed getting to FINALLY meet Joe Ciavattone.   We always seem to “just miss” each other by attending different meets, and he is the great lifter and person I expected him to be.  His passion for lifting shows when he is busy coaching his boys.

Al Myers and Chad Ullom performed a 2-Man Deadlift of 1000 pounds, and a 2-Man One-Armed Deadlift of 800 pounds.

Afterwards, Frank hosted the banquet at his house.  That is the type of generous person Frank is – opening up his house to his lifting friends.  The food was fabulous!!  Frank’s Mom and his sister Cara prepared an Italian Feast that had everyone “licking their chops”!  I know I ate my share.  After the awards were given out, I conducted the ceremony in which Scott Schmidt was officially inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame.  Scott gave a very thankful response in appreciation.  I will have more on that in a future USAWA Daily News story. Another special moment for me was when Frank presented me with a special award thanking me for my work and efforts in the USAWA.  It meant more to me than the big Gold Cup I received for lifting.

NOW I know what the IAWA Gold Cup is all about, and it is more than just going to a meet to set a record.  It is about being part of an elite competition promoted by the  International All-Round Weightlifting Association.


Gold Cup

by Steve Gardner



Group picture from the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup in Walpole, Massachusetts.

After the lifting everyone was invited back to Frank Ciavattone’s home where his family had prepared a wonderful banquet. Following the banquet, the presentation of the awards was made. Frank thanked everyone for attending his event and made some nice presentations to those who had helped him organize and run the competition, Steve Gardner thanked Frank on behalf of the lifters for putting on a splendid event. The evening was concluded with an induction to the USAWA Hall of Fame. Al Myers made a nice and thorough speech as a very worthy Scott Schmidt was inducted amid rapturous applause. A very proud Scott gave a wonderful thank you reply speech, the whole event ending on a high note!

Results of Gold Cup – GOLD CUP 2010

Backbreaker Pentathlon

by Joe Garcia

The 2010 Schmidt Backbreaker Pentathlon was held Saturday, November 6, 2010 at Clark’s Gym after a one year abstinence.   Steve Schmidt showed up with his back machine loaded on the truck, Mike Murdock rolled in from Kansas, and Bill Clark and I rounded out the crew.  Bill stayed out of the competition, running the meet and judging, with the rest of us both competing and judging attempts.  After weigh ins, we got started as usual with the Harness lift.  As this was the first time for Mike in attempting any of these lifts, we showed him how to put on the gear and get into the setup.  Wanting to break a few of Bill’s records, Mike came up a little shy but managed a nice 1000 lbs for himself.  I put in a 2415 and tried a personal best of 2615 to no avail.  Warming up while I was struggling with my lifts, Steve got a fairly easy 2705 and decided that was good enough for the day.

Next up was the Hip lift, so we unloaded the bar for that lift.  Mike was able to get 865, showing that with a little work his Harness would definitely go up.  After the Harness, the legs just didn’t seem to have any push, so I was only able to get 1485, and Steve put in a 1915, again not really pushing the limit.

Everyone’s favorite the Hand and Thigh lift was next event.  Again, the bar was unloaded, and we showed Mike the rudiments of doing this lift.  Mike picked up 445, Steve had 1105 and I got 1200.  This is one event where Steve did have problems, just couldn’t get his groove.

Switching to a different big bar, we then proceeded to the Neck lift.  Like any lift, there is certain technique which will aid the lifter in doing the lift and Mike struggled on this one.  Rather than letting the legs do the work, he tried to do the whole thing with his neck.  But, with Bill egging him on, he did manage a 200 lb lift, thereby breaking one of Bill’s records which made Bill extremely happy.  He had threatened to give Mike more weight on the results even if Mike hadn’t gotten the lift just to take it off of his own record.  Both Steve and I did a 335 lb lift.

The final lift of the day was the Back lift.  Out to Steve’s truck to haul in the infamous back machine. It’s not as smooth as the one at the Dino Gym, but seems to work pretty well for Steve.  Mike was able to get 635, with the biggest difficulty being in getting in and out of the contraption.  The least favorite of the five lifts for me, I kept working on setting the depth and the boards and was finally able to get 1625 which seemed fairly easy, but someone nailed the 1825 to the ground.  Steve worked up to 2425 and once again decided he didn’t want to work too hard so stopped at that point.

End results were Steve as the overall winner, with a fun day, and I’m sure that some records were set. Good to see Mike show up in the Show Me State, actually two times in two weekends.  We all went to Golden Corral afterwards to partake of their delights.


Lifter Age Bwt Harn Hip HT Neck Back Total Points
Mike Murdock 70 241 1000 865 445 200 635 3145 3,331.39
Joe Garcia 57 208 2415 1485 1200 335 1625 7060 9,746.00
Steve Schmidt 55 229 2705 1915 1105 335 2425 8485 10,989.90


All weights in pounds. Points are adjusted for bodyweight and age.

Officials: (3 Certified Officials used on all lifts – Bill Clark, Joe Garcia, Mike Murdock, and Steve Schmidt)

Lifts:  Harness Lift, Hip Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Neck Lift, and Back Lift

JWC Record Breaker



by Thom Van Vleck

On October 29, 2010 the 2nd Annual JWC Record Breaker meet was held in conjunction with Faith Lutheran School’s annual fundraiser.  The format was that for every USAWA record broken, there would be a donation pledged.  As a result, over $2000 was raised by the lifters alone and the overall event raised over $12,000!  This was over $4000 more than the previous year and the event was deemed a huge success. Over 500 attended and were able to watch the lifting!

All of the lifts attempted were record attempts.  A total of 125 Open, Youth, and Master USAWA records were set or broken.  Thom Van Vleck, Mike Murdock, Joe Garcia, and Chad Ullom were the Certified Judges for the meet and also lifted.  The other lifters were Morgan and Dalton Van Vleck, Mitch Ridout, John O’Brien, and Josh Hettinger.

The event started at 5:00pm with the “Youth Division”.  Morgan and Dalton Van Vleck took the lifting platform to attempt some records.  By the time they were done they had broken or set 20 age group and open records.


Morgan Van Vleck – Age 13 (12 – 13 Age group) Weight 46.4kg (50kg Class)

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 1″, Left Hand – 80 lbs. (Age and Open Record)
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 1″, Right Hand – 80 lbs. (Age and Open Record)
Deadlift – 12” base - 165 lbs. (Age and Open Record)
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip – 165 lbs. (Age and Open Record – broke record of 155 lbs.)
Deadlift – Trap Bar – 175 lbs. (Age and Open Record – broke record of 100 lbs.)


Dalton Van Vleck – Age 11 (10 – 11 Age Group) Weight 44.8kg (45kg Class)

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 1”,  Left Hand – 55 lbs. (Age and Open Record)
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 1″, Right Hand – 55 lbs. (Age and Open Record)
Deadlift – 12” Base -  145 lbs. (Age and Open Record – broke record of 130 lbs.)
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip145 lbs. (Age and Open Record)
Deadlift – Trap Bar – 150 lbs. (Age and Open Record)

Then at 5:30pm the Open Class began. We ran until 7:30pm at which time it was estimated we were at 77 records.  After the Jackson Weightlifting Club did a strongman show to end the night for the fundraiser, the lifters returned to the platform to finish the night.  At the end we weren’t sure how many records had been broken (since some were open and age group) but we were certain we had achieve our goal of 100!  A special thanks to those that traveled up and took part!  Your participation was greatly appreciated and when I presented the money to our principal she got a tear in her eye….and so did I.  Thanks!!!!!!


John O’Brien – Age 42 (40-44 Age Group), Weight 126.5 kg (125kg+Class)

Crucifix – 70 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean & Jerk – 2 Dumbbells – 150 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Side Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm – 75 lbs. (Master Record)
Side Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm – 75 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean & Jerk – Behind Neck – 245 lbs.  (Open and Master Records)
Clean & Push Press -  245 lbs. (Master Record)
Squat – Overhead – 140 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Press- from Rack – 210 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean & Jerk – Fulton Bar – 170 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Zeigler Clean – 75 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Clean & Seated Press – 180 lbs. (Open and Master Records)


Mitch Ridout – Age 42 (40-44 Age Group), Weight 116.1 kg (120kg Class)

Swing – 2 Dumbbells – 110 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat -110 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm -55 lbs. (Master Record)
Swing – Dumbbell, Left  Arm – 75 lbs. (Master Record)
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm – 75 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Curl  – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right  Arm – 85 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Clean and Jerk – Behind Neck – 135 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar – 190 lbs. (Master Record)
Press – from Rack – 135 lbs.  (Master Record)
Side Press – Dumbbell,  Right Arm – 90 lbs. (Open & Master Records)
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar,  2”, Left  Hand – 128 lbs.  (Open & Master Records)
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar,  2”,  Right Hand – 128 lbs. (Open & Master Records)


Joe Garcia -  Age 57  (55-59 Age Group), Weight 93.8 kg (95kg Class)

Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm -75 lbs.  (Master Record)
Swing – 2 Dumbbells – 110 lbs. (Master Record)
Deadlift – Fingers, Middle -250 lbs. (Open and Master Records)
Continental Snatch – 140 lbs. (Master Record)
Push Press – from Rack – 135 lbs. (Master Record)
Continental to Chest – 210 lbs.  (Master Record)


Mike Murdock – Age 70  (70-74 Age Group), Weight 106,4 kg (110kg Class)

Crucifix – 70 lbs. (Master Record)
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm – 130 lbs. (Master Record)
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm – 150 lbs. (Master Record)
Rectangular Fix – 75 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean & Seated Press – 90 lbs. (Master Record)
Curl – Reverse Grip – 125 lbs. (Master Record)
Zeigler Clean – 95 lbs. (Master Record)
Push Press from Rack – 135 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean and Press – Reverse Grip – 95 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip – 95 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean and Press -Heels Together, Fulton Bar – 105 lbs. (Master Record)
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2”, Left Hand -  88 lbs. (Master Record)
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2”, Right Hand – 88 lbs. (Master Record)


Thom Van Vleck – Age 46 (45-49 Age Group), Weight 135kg (125+kg Class)

Crucifix – 90 lbs.  (Master Record)
Clean and Jerk – 2 Dumbbells – 120 lbs. (Master Record)
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat – 120 lbs.  (Master and Open Records)
Swing – 2 Dumbbells – 120 lbs. (Master and Open Records)
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm – 85 lbs. (Master and Open Records)
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm – 85 lbs. (Master and Open Records)
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm – 85 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Right Arm -85 lbs. (Master Record)
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm – 85 lbs. (Master Record)
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm – 85 lbs. (Master Record)
Side Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm – 85 lbs.  (Master Record)
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm – 105 lbs.  (Master Record)
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm – 85 lbs. (Master and Open Records)
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm – 85 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean & Press – 140 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean & Press – 12” Base – 140 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean & Press – Alternate Grip -  140 lbs. (Master Record)
Clean & Press – on knees – 145 lbs. (Master Record)
Deadlift – Fingers, Index – 145 lbs.  (Master Record)
Jefferson Lift – 315 lbs. (Master Record)


Josh Hettinger – Age 29 (Open Age Group), Weight 141.5 kg (125+kg Class)

Swing – 2 Dumbbells -120 lbs. (Open Record)
Press – from Rack – 135 lbs. (Open Record)
Deadlift -  No Thumb, Left Arm – 180 lbs. (Open Record)
Deadlift – No Thumb,  Right Arm – 205 lbs. (Open Record)
Clean & Jerk – Behind Neck – 135 lbs. (Open Record)


Chad Ullom – Age 38 (Open Age Group), Weight 108.0 kg (110kg Class)

Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm -120 lbs. (Open Record)
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Right Arm -120 lbs. (Open Record)
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm – 110 lbs. (Open Record)
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm – 110 lbs. (Open Record)
Bench Press – Hands Together – 225 lbs. (Open Record)
Clean & Press -  12” Base – 190 lbs. (Open Record)
Side Press – Right Arm – 95 lbs. (Open Record)
Clean & Press – Fulton Bar – 190 lbs. (Open Record)
Swing – 2 Dumbbells – 150 lbs. (Open Record)
Side Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm – 90 lbs. (Open Record)
Side Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm – 90 lbs. (Open Record)
Snatch – On Knees – 115 lbs. (Open Record)
Miller Clean and Jerk – 125 lbs. (Open Record)
Zeigler Clean – 135 lbs. (Open Record)
Press – From Rack – 135 lbs. (Open Record)
Press – From Rack, Behind Neck – 135 lbs. (Open Record)
Reflex Clean & Jerk – 250 lbs. (Open Record)
Continental to Chest – Fulton Bar – 225 lbs. (Open Record)

* Three Certified Officials used on ALL LIFTS – Thom Van Vleck, Joe Garcia, Mike Murdock, and Chad Ullom

Site Downtime – Server Administration

During the next several days you may experience times that the site may be temporarily unavailable. We are upgrading the server. My hopes are that the new upgrades will lead to improved site performance. Sorry for the inconvenience.


Calling All Officials!

by Joe Garcia

I now have officials cards available for distribution.  What I don’t have are addresses.  If you wish to have a card sent to you, please email me your address information to:

Backbreaker Pentathlon

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT – USAWA Heavy Lift National Championships and Schmidt’s Backbreaker Pentathlon

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Date:  Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Venue:  Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins:  8-9 AM

Entry Fee: None

Entry Form: None

Awards:  None

Membership:  Must be a current USAWA Member

Lifts: Neck Lift, Hip Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Harness Lift, and Back Lift

To enter, a confirmation must be sent to Bill Clark by the Tuesday preceding the meet.  Bill can be reached by phone: 573-474-4510, Fax: 573-474-1449, or mail:  Bill Clark, 3906 Grace Ellen Drive, Columbia, Missouri, 65202.

IAWA Gold Cup

Gold Cup Date is Announced

by Al Myers

2010 Gold Cup Meet Director Frank Ciavattone

The date for the 2010 Gold Cup has been announced.  It will be held on November 6th, 2010 in Walpole, Massachusetts. Longtime USAWA promoter and top All-Time All-Round Heavyweight Frank Ciavattone will be the meet director.  It is great to have Frank promote another prestigious meet.  Frank has promoted two National Championships (1996 and 1998) and knows how to put on a great meet. The USAWA membership needs to really support the Gold Cup when it is in the United States – so put this date on your calendar now!  Frank has given us more than enough notice on this so lets not let him down.