Articles from January 2012

Chasing Squirrels and Bench Pressing

by Larry Traub

Larry Traub training the squat in his wet suit, getting ready to take the weights for a deep dive! (photo caption courtesy of the webmaster)

I ran into a childhood friend of mine a while back. We were standing outside a business, waiting for some things to be done and catching up on each other’s lives.  He had a small dog with him who kept wandering off, but returned when called.  He proceeded to tell me that the dog was old and in pretty bad shape. He told me the dog had some kind of degenerative condition with his hips, but then added, “He couldn’t be hurting too much because he chases squirrels around the yard like he was a young pup.” Now I don’t claim to be a ‘dog whisperer’ but I would bet the farm that his hips hurt like the devil when he was chasing those squirrels.  I just think that his addiction to chasing squirrels outweighed the pain that it caused him.

Lifting weights for a lot of us old timers can be a lot like that. Forty years of lifting and I have never had any serious injury of any type which I would like to attribute to good form and training hard without overtraining.  The glitch for me has been joint pain. The big one for me has been arthritis in my shoulders, but at different times my elbows, wrists and knees can get fired up also.

A few years ago I was adding on to the back of my garage to house my new weightroom and create more room for my toys. The process of building, which involved constantly climbing ladders and going through about 50 lbs. of 6”pole barn nails, proceeded to create pain in my elbows, knees, and wrists. During this process I discovered the power of neoprene. Neoprene sleeves seemed to keep the area warm as well as provide support, and that gave me some relief from the pain. I started considering how I could provide that relief for my shoulder and the only thing I could come up with was a wet suit.  I found out you could buy a “shorty” wet suit which was short sleeved and went to mid thigh. I figured I could get the desired effect for my shoulder, hips, and lower back and wear it under workout clothes without looking totally ridiculous.

So I walked into a local dive shop. (I have been to a couple of dives over the years, but this was my first trip to a dive shop.) I explained what I wanted and then I made the mistake of telling him why I wanted it.  When I explained how I wanted to minimize all the pain that I was having his response was, “Shouldn’t you just quit.”

Hell of a salesman!  I bought one off the internet.  As a matter of fact, I wore that one out and I’m on my second one.

Should I “just quit”?  It’s not going to happen. I’ve made some adjustments over the years but right now quitting is not an option. Since my strengths as a powerlifter have always been in my squat and deadlift, I have been able to minimize the actual bench pressing I do in my workout without a disastrous affect on my total, so it seems reasonable, to me, to keep competing.

I was bench pressing at my first annual Monster Garage meet last spring and there was a loud pop from my shoulder which has become quite normal when I bench press. One of the other lifters heard it from the back of the garage. He was a former high school lifter for me and after I completed the lift he asked, “Coach, does that hurt?”  Yeah, it hurt like the devil but right now my addiction to powerlifting outweighs the pain.

Zercher Meet

by Joe Garcia

Group picture from the 2012 Zercher Meet. (left to right): Eric Todd, Dean Ross, Mike Murdock, Chris Anderson, Lance Foster, and Joe Garcia.

Saturday was a great day at Clarks Gym.  The Zercher meet, the longest running event through USAWA’s history, was contested once again.  This year we had a total of six lifters, Bill Clark as the head official, Tom Powell and James Foster for loading and even two spectators.  Eric Todd showed up with Lance Foster and Chris Anderson.  Dean Ross and Mike Murdock were there and I rounded out the crew.  Richard Coder and his wife, members of the gym, were the spectators.  I mention Richard because he at one time worked out with some of the old time greats like John Grimek, etc out at York.  They both stayed for the entire contest and even joined us at Golden Corral. 

Once everyone was weighed in, we got started.  As usual, the leg press was first.  This particular model is the version where the weights go straight up and down, none of the angled stuff.  Chris had the top lift as Eric tried a little too big of a jump for his last attempt.  Mike Murdock started putting the pressure on Dean with a 500 to 450 lift.  In the Military Press, Eric came out on top even though he was nursing a bad right elbow.  Same thing happened in the Clean and Jerk, with Eric topping Chris by twenty pounds.  We had a three way tie in the one hand deadlift with Eric, Chris and me all getting 275 though I have to admit that my lift was a lot slower than theirs.  In the Heels Together Deadlift it was no contest with Eric out lifting everyone by 100 lbs.  We got a little rest for our backs and went to the other side of the gym to do the Bench – Feet in the Air.  Again Eric had the top lift with 350 lbs. 

After the bench, it was time to troop to the back of the gym for the rest of the meet, starting with the Hack lift.  Eric topped Chris 365 to 355 to earn top lift in this event also.  Next up was the lift the meet is named after, the Zercher lift.  Eric had the top lift with 385, but probably would have done more if he hadn’t missed 385 on his second attempt.  The problem wasn’t that the weight was too heavy, it was that he pulled it up too fast.  It looked about like he was cleaning the weight and when it hit his thighs he lost his balance and fell backwards on the floor.  So for the third attempt he just stayed at the same weight.   In everyone’s favorite, the Steinborn, Eric again came out first with 375. 

Bill Clark directing another Zercher Meet - the longest running meet in the USAWA.

After finishing with the regular bar lifts, it was time for the big bar to make an appearance.  To make things easy on our loaders, we decide to contest the lifts together, simply increasing the weight and the lifters would perform their lifts.  So what you would have seen is the Hand and Thigh, Hip and Harness being attempted one after another, just by different lifters.  In the Neck lift, Eric again had the top lift of 525 with both Chris and I getting 425.  Even though I did better this year in the Hand and Thigh than last year, I couldn’t duplicate my efforts at the Heavy Lift Nationals and Eric had the top lift with a 1305.  Chris did very well with a 1055 and in fact was great in all the big bar lifts despite never having done them before.  I’m not sure that he had even seen some of them.  In the Hip lift, we finally got someone else with the top lift where I was able get 1875 to Eric’s 1675.  Each year I also try to beat my old record of 2049 but once again was unsuccessful.  The final lift of the day was the Harness and I was again able to top Eric with 2445 to his 2225.  The end result of the day was Eric having the most poundage lifted, but with the magic of age, weight and a calculator, I won the event with Eric second and Chris third.  Full results are shown below.

During the morning, Dave Beversdorf also came in and set a couple bench records in the One Hand Bench.  Dave loves the bench and all variations of it and holds a number of USAWA records.

It was wonderful day at the gym, and tremendous to see everyone that showed up.  Eric and company needed to get on the road, but the rest of us ended up at Golden Corral for our normal post competition fest.  The only thing that was forgotten by both Bill and me were the Vanilla Wafers, a Zercher meet fixture for many years.


Zercher Strength Classic
Clarks Gym, Columbia, MO
January 28th, 2012

Meet Director: Bill Clark

Official: Bill Clark

Lifts: Leg Press, Deadlift – one arm, Hack Lift, Continental to Chest and Jerk, Clean and Press – Heels Together, Zercher Lift, Steinborn Lift, Neck Lift, Hip Lift, Harness Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Bench Press – Feet in Air

LIFT Joe Garcia Eric Todd Chris Anderson Mike Murdock Dean Ross Lance Foster
AGE 58 37  23  71  69  46
BWT 95.2 115.2  136.1  107.1  125.2  142.9
Leg P 400 750  800  500  450  400
DL-1 275R 275R  275R  185R  185L  185R
DL-HT 315 550  450  245  275  375
Hack 265 365  355  165  165  185
C&J 175 285  265  95  0  135
C&P 155 245  225  120  120  145
Zerch 225 385  365  205  205  135
Stein 195 375  325  145  145  0
Neck 425 525  425  125  125  305
Hip 1875 1675  1205  655  755  805
Harn 2445 2225  1505  955  1005  1005
H&T     1205 1305  1055  505  550  655
BP-FIA 225 350  315  175  175  175
Total 8180 9310  7565  4075  4155  4505
Points 8463.9 7326.0  5491.4  4395.2  4080.8  3426.8
Place 1st 2nd  3rd  4th  5th  6th

NOTES: BWT is bodyweight in kilograms.  All lifts recorded in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted. Points are adjusted points for the lynch correction and age adjustment.


Dave Beversdorf (46 years old, 299# BWT)
Bench Press – Right Arm: 170 pounds
Bench Press – Left Arm: 165 pounds

The Power Row

by Al Myers

John McKean, of the Ambridge BBC, performing the lift he introduced to the USAWA, the Bent Over Row.

At the 2011 IAWA World Meeting in Australia, the Power Row got approved as a new IAWA Official Lift.  This was the only lift presented by the IAWA Technical Committee to the membership for approval, and it was accepted.  This lift was accepted as an Official USAWA lift in 2010, but under a different name!  John McKean, of Ambridge BBC, was the one to present it to the USAWA for lift acceptance under the name BENT OVER ROW.  So now like the many, many other lifts that have different names in IAWA than the USAWA, this lift will join that long list as well.   The interesting thing with this lift was that it was presented first to the IAWA membership at the 2010 meeting in Glasgow, but was rejected by the vote.  I felt at the time (at the Glasgow meeting) that the lift wasn’t fully understood by the members in attendance.  This time copies of the presented rules were distributed to those present at the meeting which I think helped describe what this new lift is about, and helped “gather support” in getting it passed and accepted as a new IAWA lift.  The Bent Over Row has been done in several USAWA events to date (including last year’s Club Challenge) and it has been well received.  Let’s review BOTH the USAWA Rules and the IAWA Rules:


The lift will start at the lifter’s discretion with the bar placed on the platform in front of the lifter. The lifter will grip the bar with an overhand grip with the palms of the hands facing the lifter. The width of grip spacing and feet placement is of the lifter’s choosing, but the feet must be in line with the bar.  The body must be in a bent over position at the waist.  The upper body must not straighten past 45 degrees parallel to the platform at any time during the lift or it is a disqualification.  The legs may be bent during the lift and upon the completion of the lift.  The bar is lifted to touch the abdomen or torso by bending the arms.  The bar must touch the abdomen higher than the belt, or the navel if a belt is not worn.  It is a disqualification if the belt supports the bar at the abdomen upon the finish of the lift. The lift ends by an official’s command when the bar is held motionless at the abdomen or chest.


The bar is placed on the platform in front of the lifter, who will grip the bar overhand with the palms facing the lifter, the width of the grip and feet placing is of the lifters choosing, but the feet must be in line with the bar. The lifters body should be bent forward at the waist, and the upper body must not straighten past 45 degrees parallel to the platform at any time during the lift. The legs may be bent during and upon completion of the lift. The bar will be lifted up to touch the abdomen or torso by bending the arms, the bar must touch the abdomen higher than the belt, or the navel, if a belt is not worn. The belt must never support the bar. When the bar is held motionless and in contact with the abdomen or chest, the official will give the command to replace the bar.

Causes for Failure:

1 . The lifters upper body straightening past 45 degrees parallel to the platform.                                                                     
2.  The Bar touching the belt, or anywhere on the body lower than the navel  
3.  Failing to hold the bar motionless, and in the finished position, to await the official’s command

One thing you will notice about the USAWA and IAWA rules are that even though they are written slightly different,  they are THE SAME (which is a GOOD THING!) in technical content. The only difference is the name of the lift.  Let me explain why this occurred.  The lift was presented with the name Bent Over Row, but after the group discussion, it was felt that the name POWER ROW better described the lift.  Peter Phillips made a good point that an old style Bentover Row is a STRICT style lift, in which the legs stay straight and the bar is brought to the upper chest instead of the abdomen.  The membership agreed with this point, thus the name was changed before it was presented and accepted.  Also, the point was made that by doing this it would “save the name”  Bent Over Row for the strict version of this lift, if it was ever presented as an IAWA  lift in the future. I definitely agree with this decision. The importance of this is that NOW the Power Row (or Bent Over Row) can be done in USAWA competitions for IAWA World Records.

Proper Process for Membership Application

by Al Myers

After my story the other day where I made it clear about the proper USAWA sanctioning process, I think the “time is right” to have a followup story about the proper process of applying for membership in the USAWA.  I try to keep things positive, so stories like this one are not my favorite to write because I feel like I’m “whining and complaining” about things, but then again, if I don’t make these points known the problems just continue.  Lately, I have received membership applications that have been improperly filled out (lack of information, no signatures, etc) or lifters just sending me the membership fees without evening filling out a form!!  This is unacceptable.  Also, I am getting tired of lifters sending in “old membership” applications from the Strength Journal.  I have been accepting them, but from this time forward I WILL NOT!  The new and updated membership applications are readily accessible on the website (under Forms and Applications on the left hand side of the Home Page). 

Since I’m on a “belly-aching” soapbox right now, I’m going to complain about another gripe of mine.  Please DO NOT send me checks for memberships (or anything else for that matter) that are going to bounce when I deposit them!  I’m “sick and tired” of this.  If you do NOT have the money to join – then don’t!  Every time I get a bounced check, it causes me problems and more work.  The USAWA only charges $25 for yearly membership in the USAWA (for the calendar year), and I consider this a token fee for all the benefits the organization has to offer you in return.  I have to deal with “bounced checks” in my business enough and I don’t want to deal with it in the USAWA.  I keep a list of people who bounce checks on me in my business – and at the top of the list is the name DEADBEATS.  Don’t join if you don’t have the money to.  Also, if  only $25 is causing you a financial burden, you shouldn’t be  even spending money going to meets. You should be getting a job (or second job) to pay your bills and feed your family.  My opinion is that our yearly membership fees should be at least $50.  The $25 fee is so “out of date” in terms of charging for membership fees it’s ridiculous. I leave bigger tips than that at restaurants!

Thom has told me that “with time” I will get as cranky as Bill (by having to deal with these USAWA problems).  I sure understand now why Bill also wrote stories like this one in the Strength Journal from time to time.   I’m not at the point of calling the entire USAWA membership “DEAD AND/OR COMATOSE” yet (give me a few more years on that one!).   I do want to thank the over 90% of USAWA members who “do  things right” – this story is not directed towards you at all!  It’s the others that should be taking notes.

Sanction Requests

by Al Myers

I have been getting some sanction requests as of recent where the proper protocol of sanctioning meets has not been followed.  Nothing that has been a major problem – but I want to take time today to OUTLINE the proper procedures in applying for a meet sanction.  I am bound by the USAWA Rules and Bylaws to grant USAWA meet sanctions according to certain guidelines, which must be followed. The following are the most important stipulations from the USAWA Rulebook and the USAWA Bylaws:

VIII. The Competition

3.  To be an official sanctioned USAWA event, an application for meet sanction must be completed and returned with the sanction fee to the USAWA Secretary for approval by the executive board.
4.  All sanction requests must be sent in for approval at least 6 weeks prior to the scheduled event. 
5. All sanctioned competitions must have a Meet Director.   A single person or multiple people may be assigned the Meet Director. This position is stated on the sanction application. The Meet Director will be the contact for the USAWA Secretary. 
8.  The Meet Director is responsible for verifying that all competitors are current USAWA members, and must submit new member applications along with the membership dues to the USAWA secretary.
11.  The Meet Director will select the lifts for the meet as outlined in the sanction application.  The lifts may be official lifts of the USAWA or exhibition lifts.  Exhibition lifts are not eligible for records, but may be used in scoring for the competition.


A.   All USAWA Competitions and/or events must be sanctioned.
B.  The sanction fee is $30 and must be sent to the Secretary/Treasurer for approval. 
C.  The sanction request form must be completely filled out and signed by the contact individual for the competition/event.
D.  Sanctioned USAWA competitions and/or events must not be sanctioned with any other organization (with the exception of the IAWA).  Violation of this will result in loss of USAWA sanction.

It is very important that when a sanction form is sent to me for approval, that ALL the necessary information be present.  This is the checklist:

  • Sanction Form filled out, signed, and dated 
  • Entry Form or list of events, date of competition, time schedule, and location
  • Announcement for the website
  • Include the Sanction Fee of $30

It is also not a wise thing to announce a meet in other avenues before your sanction request has been approved. That is getting the “cart in front of the horse”.   There are several reasons why a sanction request might be denied – and all for good reasons.  An example would be if you picked a meet date that fell on the same day as one of our USAWA Championships, or our National Championships.  It has been the policy of the USAWA not to have local meets interfere with these big meets.  Another reason a sanction request might be denied is that you want to have the meet before “the 6 week window” of time (See rule VIII.4 above).  This time period was put in the Rulebook for this reason – to give adequate time for ANYONE to make arrangements to attend the meet.   We are trying to run an upstanding organization, and having meets “pop up” on short notice looks bad, and doesn’t give our meet schedule any credibility.  I will stick to this rule, and will deny sanctions for meets under 6 weeks notice.  Like the old saying goes, “your lack of planning DOES NOT constitute an emergency on my part!” (OK – maybe that’s MY ole saying).

A sanction is official once the meet/event has been put on the USAWA website’s schedule of events.  If you want to put on a meet, don’t hesitate to contact me prior to sending in the sanction request.  I will do my best to help you with this process.  If these Sanction Rules are followed, I won’t have to be the “bad guy” by turning down sanction requests;  but it’s my job to follow and enforce the rules and bylaws set forth by the USAWA.

Tourism Ambassador Award

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck accepting his Ambassador of the Year Award from the Kirksville Chamber of Commerce. (photo courtesy of KTVO)

Thanks to the USAWA, I was greatly honored by the Kirksville Chamber of Commerce the other night.   For the past 15 years I have held dozens of Highland Games, strongman contests, and helped the Irondogs with powerlifting and olympic lifting meets that have brought a lot of people to Kirksville.  I never really thought about it until this award came up, but many would have never come to Kirksville had these events not been held.  To be honest, I just wanted to host meets and have some fun!   My goal financially has always been to break even….and even that goal isn’t always met!  Those of you who have run meets know what I’m talking about!  I never thought about the fact I was bringing tourism to my hometown. 

So why do I want to thank the USAWA?  Because promoting the Nationals in Kirksville last year seems to be the event that got me recognized by the C of C!  Some of you that attended were kind enough to write a thank you letter to the C of C as they helped me out with the meet.   Those letters were so good, they put me up for the award and I won!  There were about 200 of Kirksville’s best at the annual banquet where I got my award.  Debi Boughton, head of tourism for the C of C introduced me, talked of the games and the meets I have promoted, and then read a couple of the letters send by USAWA letters.  The first letter was from Chad Ullom and the second one was from Denny Habecker and his wife.   These letters mentioned business that had several representatives in the crowd.   I gave a little speech, plugged my events for the coming year, and thanked the C of C for helping me as well as the local sponsors who’ve been so good to me over the years. 

Afterwards, I was interviewed by the local paper and the local television station.   I also was asked to speak at the local Rotary clubs (there are two in town) and do an hour long interview at a local radio station!  I have to say, I felt like a real BIG SHOT!  I was just a great opportunity to promote my Highland Games (that’s my real passion), but also to solicit new volunteers, sponsors, and competitors.  One of the people that approached me after the award ceremony wants to try his hand at the Highland Games!  New blood is always a good thing. 

Afterwards some friends took me to the Dukum Inn for a celebratory round of drinks and soon I was home in time to catch the evening news with a story on my.  Leave it to one of my kids to bring “Ol’ Dad” back down to earth.  After the news showed me giving my speech and talking about the award my youngest son said, “Yeah, Dad….now can we turn it back to my show”!  

So, thanks USAWA for “putting me over the top”.  I think a lot of good things will come out of this award, some new sponsorship, some new help, some new spectators, and maybe even a new competitor or two!  I am hosting the Old Time Strongman Championships again this year and the Chamber wants to help me on that one, too.   So come back to Kirksville, or come for the first time!  More USAWA events are to come!

A More Explosive Snatch

by Roger LaPointe

Atomic Athletic is a dealer for Leoko Olympic Bars. This is a premium Oly bar that complies with IWF specifications.

It’s easy to say that you will snatch more if you just get stronger. Sure, part of getting stronger is lifting heavier weights. Yet, becoming more explosive in a lift often means that you have to go backward with the weight.

Yes, if you want to become more explosive, you probably need to lift lighter weights, as in the ones you can be explosive with, while maintaining perfect technique.

Tommy Kono once told me that he never ended a lifting session without doing three perfect lifts, regardless of the weight on the bar. It cements the technique into your neuromusclar synapses. Here is what I have learned. That is harder to do than it sounds.

When you are training the Olympic lifts and steadily going up in weight, once you have missed a lift, it’s because you are now too weak to do it correctly. It’s maddening. You will probably try to dig deep try that weight again. You may or may not make it. Let’s say you do. There is almost no way you are going to make that weight two more times. You are simply too tired. Therefore, you must lower the weight. How much? Good question. I have found that after I’ve started missing lifts, knocking off 5 kg means nothing. I can’t feel the difference. I recommend dropping down to what you do as a power snatch or power clean, but do the full lift.

After doing your three good lifts, move onto partials with heavy weight. I like pulls from the blocks, starting from your sticking point…

That’s some real world advice. Take it or leave it.

Live strong,
Roger LaPointe

Today is a good day to lift.”

(WEBMASTERS COMMENT: A good weight lifting bar is essential for optimal lifting.  Atomic Athletic has a great selection of bars that will accomodate any style of weightlifting you do. Here’s a link - )

The JWC Monster Wrist Roller

by Thom Van Vleck

LaVerne Myers, of the Dino Gym, training on the JWC Monster Wrist Roller in preparation for next month's USAWA Grip Championships.

Recently, I made a monster wrist roller out of spacers from an old disc (farm implement that would bust up clods after plowing or aerate the ground).  These spacers look like giant spindles and are about 2″ in diameter in the grip.  I put three on a 1 1/4″ bar.  The two outside ones were for grip and the inside one was to roll up the rope which was attached to a vertical bar loaded with weight.   I was so pleased with it, I made one for Al Myers who then took it and improved up on the design.  I have to admit, Al’s is now better than mine, although I made some changes to mine based on Al’s ideas.

At any rate, I have been using it lately for my grip.  I use it just like a regular wrist roller but I set in in my squat racks  so that it take the pressure off my delts and puts all the emphasis on my forearms.  I try and get really aggressive rolling the weight up and use enough weight to really challenge me.  I pretend I’m trying to squeeze water out of a rock!!!!!

Wrist rollers are a great training tool, even if you don’t have a “Monster” one like me and Al.  If you come to either the Dino Gym or the JWC Training Hall, you will have to give them a try!  Grip has always been stubborn for me to make progress so any new toy adds new excitement to my training and for now, the Monster Wrist Roller is what’s new in my grip training!

Jefferson Lift Technique

by Al Myers

Bob Hirsh has the ALL TIME best Jefferson Lift in the USAWA, with a lift of 702 pounds in the 80KG class set at the 1996 Buckeye Record Breakers.

I received an email the other day asking a few questions regarding technique for the Jefferson Lift.  I thought this was a very appropriate question since the Jefferson Lift will be a big part of our USAWA competitions this year.  This lift will be contested in both Nationals and Worlds.   The IAWA official name for the Jefferson Lift is the Straddle Deadlift – so these two names are interchangeable. I have heard in the past this lift also called the Kennedy Lift, but that is not entirely correct.  The Kennedy Lift is a straddle lift where the bar starts at a higher position than floor level.  First, lets go over the USAWA rules for the Jefferson Lift:

18.  Jefferson Lift
This lift is also known as the Straddle Deadlift. The rules of the Deadlift apply except that the bar will be lifted between the legs, with a leg on each side of the bar. The lifter may face any direction and feet placement is optional. One hand will grip the bar in front of the lifter while the other hand will grip the bar behind the lifter. The bar may touch the insides of either leg during the lift. The heels are allowed to rise as the bar is lifted, but the feet must not change position. The bar is allowed to change directions or rotate during the lift.

I have seen two techniques for the Jefferson Lift used in competition.  I will go over both of these techniques.

1.  Shoulders Perpendicular to the Bar

In this technique, the lifter straddles the bar with a foot on each side of the bar with feet in line with the bar. As the bar is lifted, the bar will rotate to some degree at the finish position.

2. Shoulders Parallel to the Bar

In this technique, the lifter sets up for the pull with the shoulders in line with the bar. The feet are slightly off-set as they straddle the bar.  The bar comes straight up with very little rotation.

There are advantages to both styles, but I prefer technique number two for several reasons.  I feel because it takes the rotation out of the bar it allows a more direct line of pull, and an easier lockout.  Technique number one will help with the initial pull from the floor because both legs can be more involved at the start.  A problem with tech #2 is that the lead leg will be overloaded at the start, and more strain will be felt in the hamstring of the lead leg. I have pulled a hamstring in this leg before doing the Jefferson.  Another important thing is the proper feet placement with tech #2. The toe of the lead leg should be turned slightly in.  The back foot should be almost parallel to the bar.  Doing this “blocks” any bar rotation as the weight comes up. The width of stance should be of comfortable width – not too wide or too narrow.  This is important in order not to hit the inner thighs with the bar as the lift is completed.  The back hand (the one behind the lead leg) should have the knuckles facing forward, while the front hand should have knuckles facing away, using an alternate grip.  Try to keep the grip as close as comfortable as this will shorten the height the bar has to be lifted.  If done correctly with technique #2, there should be very little twisting of the body as the lift is completed.  At the end of the pull drive the shoulders up like with a deadlift.

Body mechanics play a big part in the Jefferson Lift.  Obviously, having long arms help. I have seen lifters with short arms have serious problems at lockout (OUCH!).   You are a natural at the Jefferson Lift if you can match or exceed your best deadlift.  I have seen lifters where this is the case.  The line of pull is more centered under the body with the Jefferson than a conventional deadlift.  Also, the Jefferson is a great training lift. I add it into my “pulling rotation” at least once every 6 weeks.

Postal Championships

by Al Myers

I just received the results of the 2011  USAWA Postal Championships from the meet director John Wilmot.  It looks like it was a very well supported postal meet to “cap” our year of the USAWA Postal Series.  I want to mention that it is VERY IMPORTANT to send your entries in on time.  A few entries came in late to John (after the generous deadline John CLEARLY states on the entry form) and were rejected.   It is also VERY IMPORTANT that the entry forms are filled out correctly when sent to him – don’t just “scribble” your results on a sheet of paper and send them in. Also, the PROPER FORMS need to be filled out and SIGNED to make your entry official.  All of this is readily available on the website (old entry forms stay on the website FOREVER in the announcement blogs).  I don’t want to hear anyone “whining” to me why their entry was rejected – YOU SHOULD KNOW!

Now on to more pleasant things. I can’t thank John enough for promoting these postal meets.  It takes work to calculate the results and send out the certificates.  I should mention that he does this all because he wants to support the USAWA.  He doesn’t receive any monetary help from the USAWA for these postal meets.  In fact, he has to pay the sanction fees for all of these postals!  If you get the time, drop John a note in the mail thanking him for all he does.


2011 USAWA Postal Championships
December 1st-31st, 2011

Meet Director: John Wilmot

Lifts: Clean and Jerk – 2 Dumbbells, Curl – Reverse Grip, Jefferson Lift

Lifters using certified USAWA officials:

Karena Fobes – Official Jarrod Fobes
Jarrod Fobes – Official Karena Fobes
Denny Habecker – Official Judy Habecker
Joe Ciavattone Jr. – Officials Frank Ciavattone, Joe Ciavattone Sr., Mike O’Brien
Al Myers – Official LaVerne Myers
Eric Todd – Official Lance Foster
Joe Ciavattone Sr.- Official Frank Ciavattone, Mike O’Brien
LaVerne Myers – Official Al Myers
Chris Anderson – Official Eric Todd
Lance Foster – Official Eric Todd

Lifters using a non-certified Judge:

John Wilmot – Judge Kay Wilmot
Orie Barnett – Judge Sam Rogers


Lifter AGE BWT C&J Curl Jeff Total Points
Karena Fobes 36 170 76 85 225 386 379.4


Lifter AGE BWT C&J Curl Jeff Total Points
Al Myers 45 250 180 200 584 964 810.8
Joe Ciavattone Jr. 18 212.5 170 181 550 901 801.9
Eric Todd 36 251.2 230 200 515 945 747.9
Orie Barnett 50 230.6 160 130 430 720 661.1
Joe Ciavattone Sr. 43 245 170 201 405 776 646.8
Chris Anderson 23 282 220 190 450 860 643.0
Jarrod Fobes 34 185 126 145 325 596 556.9
John Wilmot 64 216 100 105 305 510 545.9
Denny Habecker 69 185 80 66 264 410 498.7
Lance Foster 46 320 120 155 295 570 433.6
LaVerne Myers 67 253 80 140 180 400 403.8

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All weights are recorded in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted. Points are overall adjusted points for bodyweight and age corrections.

Good versus Evil

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Chuck Cookson lifts the Dino/JWC Challenge Wheels overhead.

Last weekend after the Dino Gym Challenge, we pulled out the “Dino/JWC Challenge Wheels” for a little impromptu competition between a few of us.  That seems to always happens after any meet at the Dino Gym.  Often the real competition (for bragging rights) happens after the official competition took place!  I’ve been saving this little challenge for a special moment like this. Last fall Thom Van Vleck gave me a set of train cart wheels with a rotating 2″ axle between them.  It was off of an old-style push cart so the train wheels are much smaller than regular train wheels.  This was the “matching set” to the cart wheels I gave Thom last summer at Nationals (I’ll let him tell that story).  Thom really fixed up this Challenge Wheels for me – one side is painted Dino Blue with the  Dino Gym name painted on them, and the other side is painted JWC Black with the JWC name painted on them.  Half of the axle is painted blue, while the other half of the axle in painted black.  It looks quite spectacular in appearance!

These Challenge Wheels will become a centerpiece of the Dino Gym, as they hang from the ceiling.

One day when I was looking at it in the gym I thought how symbolic these Challenge Wheels are.  The black representing the “dark side” of lifting while the blue representing  all the things good in lifting (I should mention that blue is a very patriotic color). Weightlifting is the constant battle of “Good vs. Evil”.   At times when I’m lifting I really feel like the weights are my enemy, and in order to win the battle I must lift them.  It often requires me to give peak performance to accomplish this goal in front of me, and takes me to my limits of physical ability. So in other words, the weights (the evil) brings out the best in me (the good).   Now before you start thinking that the Dino Man has finally “lost his marbles”, think about this for awhile. Why do YOU LIFT WEIGHTS?  It’s not about the trophies or awards, it’s much more than that. It’s about the sense of  “conquering the iron” that makes you keep coming back for more.   I sure don’t lift weights for my health either.  If that was the case, I wouldn’t want ANY  PART of some of these dangerous all round lifts and would buy myself a bow flex instead.   

It gave me great satisfaction to lift the Challenge Wheels.  Several of the other gym members lifted them as well.  BIG POPPA Mark Mitchell strict pressed them at least a dozen times to top all of us. I have no idea what this challenge weighs, or really care to know. That’s not the point of it. Afterwards, these Challenge Wheels got hung from the ceiling and will reside there until the next lifter wants to “take a shot at it”.  It will become a centerpiece in the Dino Gym for all to see, and hopefully, will inspire others.  

(AUTHOR’S  NOTE:  In no way do I intend to imply that the JWC is evil because the JWC worships the color black and trains under ground level in a dark  basement dungeon.  The Dino Gym considers the JWC as a friendly rival, and much appreciates this wonderful gift from them.)

Dino Challenge Award Winners

by Al Myers

In the picture on the left, Al Myers (right) is presenting Chad Ullom (left) the Ambidextrous Award. In the picture on the right, Mike Murdock (left) is presenting Al Myers (right) the KLUTZ AWARD.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s meet report on the Dino Gym Challenge, a couple of BEST LIFTER AWARDS were presented.  The unusual thing about these two awards were that they had no bearing on overall performance as most best lifters awards do, but rather to honor (or make fun of!) the two lifters that were the most balanced, and most unbalanced,  between both arms in their lifts.  As I said, I was very intrigued just to see how the lifters would do in pounds lifted between each arm in the same lift.  Most of the time in All-Round meets when an one arm lift is contested, the lifter gets to chose which arm to use in competition, and often the other arm never gets any “meet action”. 

The Best Lifter Award for the most balanced lifter was titled the Ambidextrous Award.  It was based on a percentage of the weaker arm to the stronger arm in pounds lifted with both.  Surprisingly, four of the five lifters in this meet went over 90%.  The WINNER was also the winner of the Dino Gym Challenge, Chad Ullom. Chad had a rating of 96.2%.  Only competition lifts were used in this calculation (not extra attempts for record).  Even with this high percentage, Chad still had better lifts with his right arm in all five lifts, but his left was very close behind in each one.

Lifter  Left Arm Right Arm Percent
Chad Ullom 880 914 96.2%
Dave Glasgow 650 615 94.6%
Rudy Bletscher 315 335 94.0%
Dean Ross 345 380 90.8%
Al Myers 740 920 80.4%

Now for the WINNER of the most unbalanced lifter, the Ambisinistrous Award……. it went to ME!  And from the table above, no one else was even close to challenging me for this degrading award.  I have to say I was slightly embarrassed when Mike finished his calculations and I seen that it was me who had won it!  Before the meet I made this award up with someone else in mind - NOT ME!  Most don’t know that recently ”Super Dave” Glasgow has had surgery on his right elbow to repair a nerve issue.  Dave’s not one to complain about ANYTHING, and most of the time doesn’t even mention to his family and  friends when he is having major surgery.  I was  a little surprised he even entered this meet because his surgery hasn’t been that long ago and his right arm is far from recovered.  So to say I thought he had the Ambisinistrous Award locked up beforehand was an “understatement”!  Well, that like joke sure backfired on me!  I even nicknamed the award beforehand “THE KLUTZ AWARD”, and had that stated on the certificate as well.  I’m sure to never live this one down!

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

Group picture from the 2012 Dino Gym Challenge. (front row left to right): Chad Ullom, Al Myers (back row left to right): Dave Glasgow, Dean Ross, Rudy Bletscher


I didn’t think the “single arm challenge” would be this demanding, but as I sit writing this meet report today I’m feeling sore all over!  First of all, I want to thank everyone who showed up to compete or help yesterday.  Five brave lifters showed up to take on this decathlon of single arm lifts: Chad Ullom, Dave Glasgow, Rudy Bletscher, Dean Ross and myself.  The unique feature of this meet was that BOTH arms had to be contested in each single arm lift.  There was no way to hide any weaknesses!  I picked lifts that would test every body part – overhead stuff both quick lifts and pressing, benching, and deadlifting.  I was very curious to see the strength differences each lifter would have between arms.  I even played this up before the meet by having two certificates made up for BEST LIFTERS AWARDS.  One was the Ambidextrous Award, for the lifter that had the highest percentage of weight lifted between his weak arm and his strong arm.  The other award was for the opposite of this, or the Ambisinistrous Award, which was for the lifter that had the lowest percentage of weight lifted between his weak arm and his strong arm.  I nicknamed this award the “KLUTZ AWARD” just to add more insult to this prize which recognizes poor lifting ability. 

Dave Glasgow and his 315# USAWA record in the right arm Deadlift. Dave broke the record held by USAWA Hall of Famer Scott Schmidt in this lift.

It was a hard fought fight to the finish, but my training partner and good friend Chad edged me out in the last event, the one arm deadlift. I had the lead on him up till this last event.  It was interesting that we both weighed in the same at 251 pounds, but now something was different as Chad has just turned 40 and is now a masters lifter.  Not only did he beat me in the competition in the one arm deadlift, but he took both of my one arm deadlift records in the 40/115K class!   Chad finished the meet off with a personal record one arm deadlift of 451 pounds! It was a stellar lift and broke the overall record in the 115K class, previously held by Frank Ciavattone and his 426# effort.  There were many USAWA records broke at this meet, but this had to be one of the “highlight records” of the day.  Another record I would like to mention was Dave Glasgow’s right arm deadlift of 315 pounds.  That is the most I have seen Super Dave lift in the one arm deadlift, and it was quite impressive.  My best performance of the day was in the one arm snatch, where I lifted a personal best and ALL-TIME USAWA BEST  with a lift of 172 pounds. I have done over 170 pounds a few times in training, but this was the first time I have done it in competition.   I can’t say enough about Rudy and Dean and their lifting.  They both battled it out all day long, with Rudy edging Dean out in the end.  Dean is a real powerhouse, but this meet was more about finesse with all these one arm lifts, and it favored Rudy.  Mike Murdock sat this one out in order to help with judging and scorekeeping, but when the three of them compete with each other it makes for a very exciting competition.  I’m sure there will be many more square-offs between these seasoned (see – I didn’t say old!) guys in the future.

This is my 172# one arm Snatch. This is the top one arm Snatch that has been done in the history of the USAWA, beating the mark of 171# held by my brother-in-law Bob Burtzloff!

After the results were tallied and the awards handed out, we were treated to heaping bowls of homemade chili that was prepared by my wife Leslie.  Often when a meet is over, the lifters are ready to “hit the road” to make the long journey back home. But as Dean reminded  me when we were filling our gullets with tasty chili, it was when I mentioned it was HOMEMADE CHILI that EVERYONE decided to stay and eat before heading home.  We watched football, drank a few beers,  and told several stories about our friends who weren’t it attendance.  What a good way to end a great day!

Check back tomorrow to see who won the Best Lifter Awards.  That’s a news story in itself!


Dino Gym Challenge
The Single Arm Challenge
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas
January 14th, 2012

Meet Director: Al Myers and the Dino Gym

Officials (1 official system used): Mike Murdock, Scott Tully, Mark Mitchell, Darren Barnhart

Scorekeeper: Mike Murdock

Loaders: Alan English, Chuck Cookson, Matt Cookson

Lifts: Snatch – Left Arm, Snatch – Right Arm, Clean and Jerk – Left Arm, Clean and Jerk – Right Arm, Side Press – Left Arm, Side Press – Right Arm, Bench Press – Left Arm, Bench Press – Right Arm, Deadlift – Left Arm, Deadlift – Right Arm

Lift             Chad Ullom Al Myers Dave Glasgow Rudy Bletscher Dean Ross
BWT  113.9  113.9  114.6  96.2  125.0
AGE  40  45  58  76  69
Snat-LF  150  120  105  45  55
Snat-RT  155  150  100  50  70
C&J-LF  120  120  90  40  35
C&J-RT  130  150  80  40  40
Side-LF  95  80  75  30  35
Side-RT  100  110  55  40  40
BP-LF  115  100  80  35  40
BP-RT  120  130  65  40  60
DL-LF  400  320  300  165  180
DL-RT  410  380  315  165  170
TOTAL  1795  1660  1265  650  725
POINTS  1435.5  1393.3  1188.2  770.4  712.6

NOTES: BWT is bodyweight in kilograms. All lifts recorded in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted. Points are adjusted points for bodyweight and age.


Al Myers: Snatch – Right Arm 172#
Al Myers: Deadlift – Right Arm 410#
Chad Ullom: Deadlift – Right Arm 451#

One or Three Officials?

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom officiating the 2011 IAWA World Championships sitting in the Head Judges chair. Would you trust this guy to make the only call in the 1-Official System?? He looks half asleep to me.

A very good question was brought up recently on our USAWA Facebook Page regarding the use of officials (BTW – if you have not joined our USAWA Facebook Page by now, make sure to join as it is a constant source of current information, along with numerous meet pictures).  The question involved how many officials are required to be used in competition.  The confusion on this matter arises because the USAWA allows the 1-Official System to be used, whereas the IAWA sanctioned competitions requires that all meets be officiated using three officials.  The upcoming World Postal Meet is an IAWA sanctioned event, so THREE OFFICIALS (or two as I’ll explain later) MUST be used to enter lifts in this postal meet.  This meet is different than our USAWA Postal Meets where they may be officiated using  just one official. 

First, let me review the USAWA Rules regarding the Official’s Systems that are in place:


4.  Two systems are approved for officiating USAWA competitions or events.

  • One Official System – The competition or event will be officiated by only one certified official.  This system is recommended for small competitions or events, such as record days or postal competitions.
  • Three Official System – The competition or event will be officiated by three certified officials.  Approval of the lift requires a minimum of 2 officials deeming the lift good.  This system is recommended for large competitions or events, such as the National Championship.

Second, these are the IAWA Rules regarding the use of three officials:


  • All officials must be approved by their National Governing Body, or IAWA where there is no NGB
  • Three officials should be used for all competitions, and for exhibitions also where possible (though World Records can be established with only two officials present, so long as both pass the lift).

The USAWA membership voted and passed, allowing the 1-Official System to be in place, at the 2006 Annual Meeting.  This issue was brought forth to the membership by Bill Clark.  If I remember right, it seemed at the meeting that pretty much everyone in attendance was in agreement with the vote.  I do know now that not all of the members of the USAWA believe in the 1-Official System and don’t use it at all in their gym meets.   Art Montini has told me that himself and the Ambridge “Gang” will not use the 1-Official System in their meets EVER!  This issue was presented at the IAWA meeting as well that year in Scotland.  After the discussion in which it appeared to me that most everyone was against the 1-Official System, a motion was never made to introduce the 1-Official System.  Thus the IAWA still requires 3 officials, while in the USAWA the 1-Official System and the 3-Official System is allowed.   But even if the 3-Official System is used, a meet could be done with ONLY 2 officials and fall within the realms of the IAWA rules.  However, both officials must agree that it is a good lift (read IAWA above – the second line).   If just one official feels that it is a bad lift, then it is a no lift.  So in a sense, since you only need two “white lights” for a good lift in the 3-Official System, you are assuming the nonexistent third official has given you a red  in the imaginary chair!    How does this impact records?  First of all, any USAWA record can be established using either system.  For IAWA World Records, the 3-Official System must be used, including any USAWA meet.

Now for my opinion on this subject, which hasn’t changed from the day it was proposed and passed in the USAWA.  No one can argue that 3 officials are always better than 1 official.  Using 3 officials, and one official makes a bad call it doesn’t fail the lift if it should be good (or pass the lift when it should be failed).   Three officials spreads the decision over more individuals, and hopefully with that, a better result could be obtained.  That is why I will always support using the 3 official System in big competitions where there are qualified officials present to allow for it.  The problem arises in small gym meets (like postals and record days) where the entry numbers are so small that lifters outnumber officials!  For these meets to even happen, the 1-Official System HAS TO BE IN PLACE to allow for officiating.  Otherwise, it becomes impossible to even conduct small meets, or enter postal meets.  I am also familiar with events having one official (like strongman competitions and the Highland Games) so I know that one good official can do a good job and make the right call.  Why is there not three officials in those events?  The answer – they are not needed!  I feel the problem why the IAWA membership never accepted the 1-Official was tradition – weightlifters are very use to having three officials in the chairs and the thought of having  just one make the BIG DECISION was not something they wanted to accept.  I can’t imagine that the IAWA(UK) meets don’t have the same problem as us with properly trying to find 3 judges to judge small meets, like this World Postal Meet.  Maybe with time, IAWA will come “on board” with the 1-Official System and be the same as the USAWA on this.  Without a doubt,  requiring 3 officials in this World Postal Meet will hurt participation.

History of the Dino Challenge

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom performing the Judd Clean and Jerk (a one leg C & J) in the 2009 Dino Gym Challenge. Chad has won the Dino Gym Challenge three times (2008, 2009, 2010), which is the most times it has been won by the same lifter.

The Dino Gym Challenge is approaching FAST!  It is this coming Saturday, with the event being hosted in the Dino Gym.  I’m still taking entries, so last minute entries will be accepted.  I do appreciate those letting me know ahead of time of their intent to enter, but if you want to just show up on meet day to compete that will be ok for this one.  The Dino Gym Challenge has been going on for 8 years now, with this being the ninth.   Only three CURRENT USAWA events have a longer running history in the same location  - the Zercher and the Deanna Meets hosted by Bill Clark, and Art’s Birthday Bash hosted by Art Montini.  Two other long standing meets have had “breaks” in their run:   Bad weather interrupted the Goerner one year and it was cancelled, and the Backbreaker was cancelled a couple of times due to lack of entries. 

Early on I named this meet the Dino Gym Challenge for this reason – every year there would be a different meet challenge to take on.  No two meets would be the same.  Each year a different “theme” is contested.  This makes this meet very interesting, and allows different lifters to have advantages because of the different lifts that are contested each year.  This year it is the battle of the one arm lifts: 5 lifts with each one contested with both arms.  I am going to give a “run-down” of the preceding Dino Gym Challenges and how they turned out.

2011 – Dino Gym Old Time Strongman Challenge

The Dino Gym presented the VERY FIRST Old Time Strongman competition that year.  Five new and exciting OTSM events were contested: Saxon Snatch, Cyr Press, Dinnie Lift, Apollons Lift, and the Goerner Stroll. This meet will forever be known as the first promotion of OTSM within the USAWA, and what a great inauguration this meet was!   A great turnout of 18 lifters took part.  The class winners were: Women – Felecia Simms, Mens Junior – Cody Lokken, Mens 40+ – Al Myers, Mens 60+ – Dean Ross, and Open – Sam Cox.  The top three placings of the day went to: 1. Sam Cox, 2. Eric Todd, and 3. Chad Ullom.

2010 – The Arthur Saxon Pentathlon

This meet was done  to honor the great German Strongman Arthur Saxon.  Five lifts were chosen which were some of Saxon’s favorites: the Dumbbell Swing, the Bent Press, the 2-Hands Anyhow, the Arthur Lift, and the Foot Press.  The Foot Press was done as an exhibition lift (not an official USAWA lift at that time, but it is now) and was a big hit of the meet.  It mimicked the stage act where Arthur would support a big plank loaded with people as natural weight.  5 lifters took part, with Chad Ullom being the overall meet winner.  A celebrity was in attendance – Wilbur Miller.  Wilbur is a legend in All Round Weightlifting and his presence at this meet enhanced the meet atmosphere.  Afterwards, several of us toasted Arthur Saxon with Arthur’s favorite workout beverage, the Saxon Health Drink.

2009 – The meet named after others

The 2009 Dino Gym Challenge was very unusual in that all 5 of the lifts contested were “named” after other lifters.  These lifts were contested: the Kelly Snatch, the Ziegler Clean, the Judd Clean and Jerk, the James Lift, and the Allen Lift.  All of these lifts required LOTS of flexibility that made them very hard to do.  Chad Ullom prevailed as the overall winner of the four lifters in attendance: Chad, Al Myers, Scott Campbell, and Rudy Bletscher.   However, despite all of these lifts being done with “light” weights, one of the biggest lifts in USAWA history was done on this day.  Steve Schmidt showed up to be officially judged in the Back Lift.  He finished with 3050 pounds (after doing 3000 pounds as well) to set an ALL-TIME USAWA record in the Back Lift.

2008 – The Roger Davis Selection

The 2008 Dino Gym Challenge saw lifts selected by Roger Davis.  Roger had just finished a compilation of the top All Round lifters of ALL-TIME in history using these lifts as the criteria: the one arm snatch, the one arm clean and jerk, the continental to chest and jerk, two dumbbells clean and push press, and the 12″ base deadlift.  His report was published in MILO and gave me the notion to have a meet using these lifts.   This meet must have scared off the competition because only two lifters showed up to compete: Chad Ullom and Scott Campbell.  I was going to compete as well, but I was the only one there to officiate so I judged instead.  Chad ended up the victor over Scott.  Wilbur Miller showed up as well and did some record-setting after the meet.  He first did a 350 pound Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, followed by a 400 pound heels together deadlift, and finishing with a 450 pound 12″ base deadlift.  Wilbur did these lifts at 75 years of age and 230 pounds!

2007 – The All Round Powerlifting Meet

The theme of 2007 was that of an All Round Powerlifting Meet.  These lifts were contested: Steinborn, Pullover and Push, and the heels together Deadlift. 11 lifters took part.  Al Myers was the overall best mens lifter and Kristen Barry was the top overall womens lifter.  A team award was given which was won by the Dino Gym.  A full record day was contested afterwards.  Some great lifts were done during the day: Chad Ullom 430# Steinborn, Kristen Barry 310# heels together deadlift, Bill Cookson 227# Index Fingers Deadlift, and myself teaming with Chad to hit a 407# Team Cheat Curl.  Afterwards, we all reconvened at a restaurant in town to celebrate the annual HASA banquet.  The big news of the banquet was the induction of Thom Van Vleck into the HASA Hall of Fame.

2006 – The Travis Lift Showdown

This meet had a record setting turnout of lifters – 23 LIFTERS!   Five lifts were contested: Fulton Bar Clean, Maxey Press, Front Squat, Jefferson Lift and the Travis Lift. The main event of this meet was the Travis Lift. This was the first time the Travis Lift had been held in competition.  Previously the only lifter in the USAWA who had ever done the Travis Lift was Howard Prechtel, and he did it only in record days.  At the time Howard held the ALL-TIME record with a lift of 1815 pounds.  Joe Garcia broke Howard’s record with a lift of 2000 pounds.  The class winners were:  Women Junior – Kirsti Griffis, Women Masters – Mary McConnaughey, Mens Junior – Kent Longbine, Mens Lightweight – Tim Pinkerton, Mens Middleweight – Eric Todd, Mens Heavyweight – John O’Brien, Mens Master – Joe Garcia.  The Mens Overall Best Lifter went to Eric Todd.

2005 -  The Back Lift Rematch

A big group of lifters turned out this year for the Dino Gym Challenge – 19 lifters.  Several difficult lifts were contested: the Fulton Bar Snatch, the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift, the Alternate Grip Bench Press, the Steinborn, and the Back Lift.  Steve Schmidt reclaimed his ALL-TIME Back Lift record with a lift of 2920 pounds at this meet.  Class winners were as follows: Junior Women – Misty Fritz,  Open Women – Mary McConnaughey, Junior Men – Ian Reel, Mens Lightweight – Tim Pinkerton, Mens Middleweight – Eric Todd, Mens Heavyweight – Chad Ullom, Mens Superheavyweight – Matt Graham, and Mens Masters – Joe Garcia.  Eric Todd was the overall Best Lifter of the meet.  Matt Graham put on a grip-lifting show after the meet by picking up two INCH REPLICAS at the same time! 

2004 – The First Ever Dino Challenge

A full field of 17 lifters took part in the first ever Dino Gym Challenge.  These lifts were contested: Fulton Bar Clean and Press, Pullover and Push, One Arm Clean and Jerk, Steinborn, and the Back Lift. Several records fell during this meet.  Al Myers broke Steve Schmidts All-Time record in the back lift with a lift of 2915 pounds.  Class winners were as follows: Women – Jessica Todd, Men Lightweight – Tim Pinkerton, Men Middleweight – Al Myers, Mens Heavyweight – Eric Todd, Mens Masters – Joe Garcia. The overall Best Lifter of the meet was Al Myers.


Blindt Formula

by Al Myers

The Overall Best Lifter at the 2011 IAWA World Championships Steve Sherwood also had the TOP LIFT of the meet with his 2-Bar Vertical Bar Deadlift according to the Blindt Formula.

One of the interesting things done by the Australians at the 2011 IAWA World Championships was that they gave an award to the lifter who had the TOP LIFT according to the Blindt Formula. The Blindt Formula is something that we have never really used in the USAWA.  It was developed 20 years ago by the English lifter Adrian Blindt.  The purpose of the Blindt Formula is to “equalize” all lifts in a meet.  Each lift is given a coefficient that is supposed to make the points generated for each lift the same.  This Blindt Coefficient is multiplied by the total Lynch Points in a lift to give this new point value. The way we do things is just add the total weight up from the lifts of the day and then apply the Lynch Formula and age correction formula - but by this you can see how it is not really fair to compare a couple of lifts, ie the Hip Lift and the Weaver Stick, if they were in the same meet.  A 5 pound increase in the Hip Lift is nothing, but a 5 pound increase in the Weaver Stick is an improbability.  However, this concept never really “took hold” in the USAWA or the IAWA(UK).  I do believe the English do have a couple of meets that use the Blindt Formula, but it has never been part of the IAWA World Championships. 

Of course, “putting a number” on the Blindt Coefficient can still be a debatable point.  Also, I could see how the original Blindt Coefficient might not “hold up” after the lift is practiced more and lifters became more proficient at it.  In the Highland Games in the RMSA (Rocky Mountain Scottish Athletes), a decathlon scoring system is used in most games. Each event generates points based on a factor which is supposed to “level the playing field” and make each event worth similar points.  However, during the late 90s and early 2000s throwers made a major change in throwing technique with the sheaf (went from the push to the swing, to eventually the spin).  With these changes in sheaf techiques, much higher heights were reached, thus making this event weighted much more than the other events when  points were added up.  I felt it made the sheaf points worth at least an event and a half, thus making the sheaf a “more important” event than the others when this scoring system was used.  These same problems could happen with the Blindt Formula. 

Years ago the Blindt Formula was used in the IAWA World Postal Meet.  This World Postal Meet was directed under the promotion of the Australians as well.  It is the only time I have been involved in a meet where the Blindt Formula was used until at this World Meet, when it was being used for this “special award”.   I really liked the idea of this award, and commend the Australians for presenting this award as it gave “unique flavor” to the awards presentation. I was very curious – just WHAT would be the best lift of the meet?  Especially considering all the great lifts that were done by the outstanding lifters in attendance. I took some time and “looked over” the result sheet because it also listed the Blindt scores (but they were NOT used in the overall standings).  It was very interesting to say the least. These are the Blindt Coefficients that were assigned to the lifts contested at the World Meet:  Vertical Bar Deadlift – .7500, One Hand Swing – 1.5385, Continental Clean and Jerk – .7143, Fulton Bar Deadlift – .6620, Push Press from Rack – .8357, Cheat Curl – 1.0068, and Zercher – .5419.  Just how do you think the final standings of the BEST LIFTS of the day would look like?  The score of 100 is a PERFECT SCORE, which probably was the basis of the original point formulation. I would consider anything over 90 to be EXCELLENT in a lift when it comes to the Blindt Score, so that is the only lifts I selected for the list below. 


Rank Blindt Score Lifter Event
1 128.3 Steve Sherwood VB Deadlift
2 117.2 Steve Sherwood Fulton DL
3 106.9 Al Myers VB Deadlift
4 106.7 Mark Haydock VB Deadlift
5 100.7 Tom Edwards VB Deadlift
6 99.9 Peter Phillips VB Deadlift
7 95.7 Steve Sherwood Zercher
8 95.6 Kris McIntyre VB Deadlift
9 95.3 Steve Sherwood Swing
10 95.2 Denny Habecker VB Deadlift
11 94.8 Steve Sherwood Cheat Curl
12 93.7 Peter Phillips Swing
13 92.9 Mark Haydock Zercher
14 92.8 Al Myers Zercher
15 92.7 Frank Allen Fulton DL
16 92.3 Robin Lukosius VB Deadlift

It doesn’t take much of an analysis to realize that the Vertical Bar Deadlift is recognized MUCH MORE than the other lifts in this list. A couple of the lifts (Continental Clean & Jerk and the Push Press from the Rack) were not represented AT ALL in the list of top Blindt lifts. There were some outstanding lifts in these two lifts as well and at least the TOP LIFT in them should have made the list. It makes one wonder that the Blindt Coefficients don’t accurately correlate between different lifts.   This list doesn’t reflect record lifts, but only the lifts that counted in competition.  I would argue against the use of using the Blindt Formula based on these results, or at least until the coefficients are re-figured to provide a CURRENT and ACCURATE reflection of the proficiency of the lifts in question.  But one thing is for certain, even if the Blindt Formula was used in the overall scoring Steve Sherwood would have remained as the TOP LIFTER in the World Championships.  He made the list in 5 different lifts!!!!

2011 Wrap Up

by Al Myers

As promised, I will do a “wrap-up” story today on the highlights of the 2011 USAWA year.  This is one story I always look forward to writing, as it summarizes the past year of USAWA events and competitions, along with other top stories.  2011 was a great year for the USAWA – arguably one of the best years ever!  I’m going to “go out on a limb” here, and RANK the top 10 stories of 2011 as I see them.  I’m sure there will be those who don’t agree – but TOUGH LUCK cause I’m the one writing the story!!!  Here it goes, with the count-down beginning at number 10.


This website continues to grow at  a steady pace and accumulating information all the time.  Last year there were 305 blogs produced in the USAWA DAILY NEWS.  I have just finished the 2011 Year In Review, which contains all the information placed on the website within the past year. This book (or should I say novel?) is over 500 pages in length and contains over 20,000 words.  Numerous authors have written stories for the Daily News. These were the top 5 writers in number of stories contributed - Thom Van Vleck, John McKean, Dennis Mitchell, Dave Glasgow,  and myself. Next to myself, Thom had the most with 76 stories!  I want to thank EVERYONE who has contributed stories to the website, because that is what makes it an organization’s publication.


I have already reported on 2011 being a record year in number of USAWA records set.  A total of 758 records by 72 lifters were established in the USAWA record list, which is ahead of the second place year (2005) by 83 records.  A truly record record-breaking year! Also, 2011 saw the entry of two more lifters into the CENTURY CLUB (for lifters who have over 100 USAWA records) – Rudy Bletscher and Chad Ullom. This list now stands at 21 USAWA lifters of all time.


The development of the USAWA Online Store has been discussed for a couple of years now, but at the 2011 USAWA National Meeting the membership voted to allocate funds for its development.  Several items are offered for sale to promote the USAWA -tshirts, sweatshirts, patches, water bottles and judging shirts, and all of these items are available to be purchased online.  All profits go into the bank account of the USAWA. So far, several orders have been filled.


Most of you know Dale “the Miracle Man” Friesz has faced probably the most difficult physical difficulty any lifter could be dealt – the amputation of a leg.  Dale did the “impossible” and returned to the lifting platform at Art’s Birthday Bash in October, and proceeded to break several USAWA records. His ring fingers deadlift of 122 pounds is exceptional, especially considering he did it on a prosthetic leg that has not been fitted properly yet!  Dale is has been the USAWA Award Winner for the Courage Award these past two years, and after this feat he has my vote again for 2012!!!!  If Dale is able to make it to Vegas for Nationals, he’ll make next years TOP TEN stories as well.


Grip competitions have been tested in USAWA competitions for many years, but till this meet there has never been a Grip Championships within the USAWA.  Kevin Fulton was the early promoter of many of the organizations grip competitions, with his famous grip challenges at his gym under the sanction of the USAWA.  In 2010, the Dino Gym hosted a grip challenge that was the precursor of this past year’s Grip Championships (notice I say “Championships” and not “Nationals”, because as Dale has said there can be only ONE NATIONALS, the GRANDDADDY of them all the National Championships, which I agree with him on).  Eight lifters took part this past year – Al Myers, Ben Edwards, Dave Glasgow, Denny Habecker, Mark Mitchell, Rudy Bletscher and Felecia Simms.   These lifters took part in the FIRST YEAR of something “big to come” in future years in the USAWA.  


Thom Van Vleck, of the JWC, promoted one of the BEST National Championships of ALL-TIME in the USAWA this past year in Kirksville, Missouri.  This, without a doubt, was a highlight meet of the year in the USAWA.  18 lifters took part from all parts of the country.  Team Ledaig Heavy Athletics walked away with the team title and most of the other main awards.  Team members Amber Glasgow won the Overall Womens Best Lifter Award and Larry Traub won the Overall Mens Best Lifter Award.  It was the first big win for both of these two lifters in the USAWA’s premier yearly competition (and from now on will be known as THE ONE AND ONLY NATIONALS).


As has been covered in detail by Joe Garcia this week in the USAWA Daily News, Bill Clark receiving the very first Lifetime Achievement Award ranks “right at the top” of highlights during this past year.  This is an award Bill TRULY DESERVED, as without him we would not even have an organization.  No one knows the amount of time Bill has invested in the USAWA during his lifetime to make it the lifting organization it is now.  It is only right that Bill be the FIRST ONE to receive this prestigious award, and the honorary lifetime membership  in the USAWA that comes with it.


I really felt like we hit “the BIG TIME” when we were able to be part of York Barbell’s Strength Festival last May.  We hosted our USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in conjunction with all the other activities that were going on at York Barbell that day.  It was a meet I will never forget – lifting on the “big stage” in front of strength athletes from all over the country. It was an honor for our organization to be part of something like that, and gave us National exposure like we have never seen before.  Of course Chad Ullom hitting that WORLD RECORD Neck Lift of 900 pounds was the highlight of the show!


The year 2011 saw the introduction of Old Time Strongman within the USAWA.  It started with the first OTSM competition hosted by the Dino Gym in January, and ended with the OTSM Championships in Kirksville, hosted by Thom Van Vleck.  OTSM brought several new members to the USAWA this past year and I can see it continuing to grow. 


This was a “no brainer” for the NUMBER ONE highlight of the year.  The USAWA would not be the USAWA without the participation of membership.  This past year we accomplished something we have not done for over 20 years, and that is to exceed 100 members.  The final count was 103 members in 2011.  On top of this, we hosted a RECORD NUMBER of events/competitions with 25, and now have more registered clubs at 14 than anytime in the history of the USAWA.  This is ALL BECAUSE OF YOU, and the the support you have given to the USAWA.   I personally want to thank everyone who has contributed to these numbers.  The USAWA is “alive and growing” , and I predict 2012 will even be a better year yet!!!

Bill Clark – Part 2

by Joe Garcia

Bill Clark performing his favorite lift, the Zercher Lift, at a meet in Leavenworth Prison in the early 1960's. There is 405 pounds on the bar.

Having looked at his role in the USAWA, and it is pretty easy to say there would not be a USAWA without his involvement; it’s time to delve into Bill’s life in general.  As we will see, Bill has been immersed in all sorts of sports, but the one in particular which has occupied the majority of his life is baseball. 

 His professional career as a scout began in 1956 when he became a ‘bird dog’, a person who finds talent for the scouts, for the Milwaukee Braves for $50 per year.  He performed at this level until 1962, meanwhile holding other jobs to support his family.  The Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966 where they are still today.  For a very short period of time he dabbled as an umpire in the Pioneer league, but stated that six weeks in the league cost him 3 years to recover.  In 1963 he became the Recreational Director for the city of Columbia and was also called by the Pirates who wanted him to run tryouts.  While doing tryouts, he first became a bird dog in their system, later becoming a part time scout and in 1967 was offered and accepted a full time position as scout.

The Seattle Pilots started up as a franchise in 1969 and took Bill on as one of their scouts.  The following year they went bankrupt, were purchased and moved to became the Milwaukee Brewers with Bill still on the team.  He stayed with them through the 1970 season and in 1971 got on with the Cincinnati Reds, again as a full time scout.  In 1984 Marge Schott took over as owner of the Reds.  Well known for both her cheapness and her dogs, she had the scouts in for a meeting, charged them 25 cents for leftover donuts from an event the previous day and had them all troupe down to meet her dogs.  Needless to say, Bill neither paid for the donuts nor met the dogs.

Probably due to his distain for her dogs, in 1989 Marge fired Bill who then went to work for the Atlanta and stayed with them for ten years.  After two years, in 1991, he was promoted to International Director of Scouting, a position he held till 1999 when he was relieved by new management.  In 2000, he joined with the San Diego Padres at the same position, where he finished out his scouting career in 2003, again being let go when new management took over the franchise.

During the course of his 36 year tenure in scouting, Bill signed 18 players into the league including Rafael Furcal (Atlanta – $8000) now with the Cardinals (6M), Andruw Jones (Atlanta) now with the Yankees and Bruce Chen (Atlanta) now with the Royals and past Pitcher of the Year.  As a member of the teams, he also received World Series rings, and has a total of eight rings, three for the champions; Cincinnati twice and Atlanta once.  These are kept in a bank vault, but hopefully he can be persuaded to bring them out sometime to gaze upon.

Way before his scouting and before the Pioneer league, Bill was a Semi-Pro official.  In 1949, at the age of 16, he officiated his first ball game for the Kansas City Monarchs, with the immortal Buck O’Neil playing First Base.  They kept a friendship going over the years until Buck’s death in 2006.  In 1950 he went to officiating school while still a teenager.  The last game Bill officiated was in 2009, between the Columbia Firemen and the media All-Stars for an Honor Flight fund raiser.  That last game put him behind the plate for a total of 7 decades.

He has worked in twenty two different sports from the local level through international, including an exhibition season in the NBA, National Junior College Wrestling, and State High School basketball.  As an athlete, he has competed in 6 decades, with the seventh just around the corner as he turns 80.  He was also co-owner of a trotting horse stables for a few years.

Bill received a Writing degree in Journalism in 1958 from the University of Missouri and has been at it ever since.  That same year he became the president of the MO State Sportswriters Association, and also accepted a position with the Lexington Kentucky Leader, whom he worked for briefly.  For over twenty years, he was on the staff as part time writer for both the Columbia Tribune and the Missourian, writing bowling columns, sports columns and general high school coverage.  Currently, he started writing in 2004 for the Columbia Tribune as their lead columnist, and to date has written approximately 1400 articles.  During his traveling years, he visited over 50 countries, logged more than 2000 international birds and has written numerous birding articles.

Over the years, Bill has started, created or revamped numerous organizations and events.  Here is a list he was able to think of during our interview:

  • In 1960 he wrote his first lifting news letter for the Missouri Valley AAU, expanded to write for the Region 8, and finally the USAWA finishing up in 2009.
  • Reorganized and revitalized the dormant Missouri Valley AAU.
  • Organized prison weightlifting.
  • Ran the prison postal championships for 20 years in Weightlifting, Powerlifting and track.
  • Created and wrote the constitution for the National Corrections Recreation Association.
  • Held the first sanctioned prison meet at Fort Leavenworth Prison city.
  • Along with Jim Witt, Homer Brannum and a couple of other ‘goons’; organized Powerlifting into a separate sport from weightlifting.  The ‘goons’ is a reference to comments made at the AAU meetings during the discussions.
  • Got prisoners full AAU Membership with 100% approval in 1966.
  • Responsible for the creation of the National Masters Weightlifting program.
  • In 1976 held the first all women’s sanctioned lifting competition.  Judy Glenney, a pioneer in women’s weightlifting and many time National champion, got her start at this meet.
  • Started up the USAWA and the IAWA.
  • Founder of the Heart of America Marathon – at 52 years the fourth oldest continuous Marathon in the country.
  • Originator of the Columbia Diamond Council, the largest youth baseball org in the county.
  • Creator of the Columbia Track Club, originally for kids now an adult league.
  • Organized the Hawthorne Native Plant Society.
  • Organized the Columbia Bowling Hall of Fame.
  • Help organize Society for American Baseball Research Scouts committee.
  • Organized the Columbia Basketball Officials Association.
  • Organized the Columbia Baseball Officials Association.
  • Tried and failed to organize the professional baseball scouts into a union.

 When someone puts as much into sports as Bill has done, over time they have a tendency to be recognized for their efforts.  Below is a list of some of the honors bestowed onto Bill.

  • Inducted into the Midwest Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.
  • Received the Roland Hemond Award – from SABR for contributions to scouting and research.
  • Inducted into the Columbia Bowling Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the National Powerlifting Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the National Weightlifting Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the National Masters Weightlifting Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the Pan American Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame.
  • Received the USAWA Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Inducted into the Missouri Valley AAU Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen (AOBS) Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the Narcy Trass Volunteer Hall of Fame from the Show-Me State Games.
  • Won Joe Paul award.
  • Name Top Zebra by the Central Missouri Basketball Association.
  • In January will be awarded with the Legends in Scouting award out in Los Angeles.
  • Won numerous other awards.

There is no question that the world of sports has benefited from Bill Clark and his participation in it.  The two columns I have written about him have only touched upon the knowledge, trivia and stories from his years of involvement.  He has, in old terminology, ‘seen the elephant’.  I like to kid him that when he was born, they broke the mold, then beat the hell out of the mold maker, but all joking aside, there is no doubt that Bill is one of a kind man, the likes of we will never see again.  Thanks Bill.

Bill Clark, USAWA, and the rest of the story.

by Joe Garcia

Part One:  Our beginning.

Bill Clark (left) receiving the USAWA Lifetime Achievement Award from Joe Garcia (right).

Most of you probably know that Bill is the founder and creator of the USAWA.  Recently the organization decided to honor Bill, and a letter of appreciation and a Lifetime Achievement Award were presented to him at the Goerner Deadlift Dozen Plus One a few weeks ago.  I also thought it would be both fun and instructive to go over the history of the USAWA and some of Bill’s story.  We sat down the other day for a lunch and I interviewed him about both subjects.  Keep in mind that this is bare bones as it would take a book or two or more to get the whole picture.  We’ll start this story with a chronological line from the beginning as he tells it.

The whole entity that was to become known as the USAWA basically started in 1959 with the local boxing team that Bill coached.  The boxers wanted to lift weights, so an Olympic weightlifting team was created.  In November their first state meet was held at the Armory in Columbia. A common theme for most of the meets is that odd lifts were almost always performed whenever meets were held.

The next year 1960, Bill was appointed as Chairman of the Missouri Valley AAU.  They had eleven lifters including Wilbur Miller, Art Tarwater, and Bill Fellows.  At the same time, the prison system became a hotbed of odd lifting.  Bill worked the ‘home’ games of baseball in the prisons from 1956 through 1967, and so was very familiar to the recreation directors in the system.  He was contacted by the Feds to start a federal program of lifting which he agreed to do.  Two stories from this era:  First, at one of the prisons, they cut metal decking for the weight plates.  These weighed between 10 and 25 pounds and the lifters used a short steel bar that limited how much weight could be loaded, so for the lifters like Joe Bradford, they would load the bar with about 400 lbs, then attach another 100 or so with wire, which wouldn’t come off the ground until the bar was just under the knees. This same concept was used in later years when performing lifts like the Hip lift. The second story concerns the Federal pen at Leavenworth.  Bill had been told they made almost all of their equipment, but when he went there, they had 22 platforms with commercial looking bars.  It turns out that they bought one bar, then had the shop fabricate 21 more for the lifters.

Coming into 1961, Powerlifting and Odd lift competitions were being held in Missouri Valley. These competitions were sanctioned under the Weightlifting umbrella as there was no official Powerlifting or Odd lifting at that time.  If anyone has access to old Ironman magazines, they would be able to find results listed there from some of the meets.  Rules for the odd lifts were first created about that time and records were kept as Missouri Valley Odd Lifts.

One of the key years was 1962. This was the year that the foundation was laid to make Powerlifting a separate event from Weightlifting. Lifters like Jim Witt, Homer Brannum, and Bill were some of the main forces to achieve this goal and they journeyed to the AAU Convention in Detroit, where they asked to make PL a subcommittee under Weightlifting.  At that time there still were no sanctions for either Powerlifting nor Odd lifting.  1962 was also the year of the first National Prison Postal Meet.  This first meet was an Olympic meet with subsequent years also having Powerlifting meets.  By 1968, they dropped the Olympic meets.  Typically the regular competition would be held, and afterwards the lifters would perform the Odd lifts. 

The first National Powerlifting Championships was held in 1963 by Bill at Jeff Junior High in Columbia even though it was an unofficial one as there was no sport of Powerlifting at the time.  One of the officials sitting in a chair was Bob Hoffman of York Barbell fame.  Another event that helped further our sport was Bill got the AAU to form a new committee – Correctional Sports and by 1966, convicts were granted full AAU memberships.  The following February one of the convicts won the National Flyweight Boxing Championship.  In 1968, Jenkins Hudson of the Maryland State prison defeated Bill March in Olympic lifting, Bill being a 5 time Senior National Champion.  That same year Otis Harrison won the North American title in body building.  By the time the correctional sports program ended, there were about 1000 participant lifters nationwide.

In 1964, at the National AAU convention at the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, Texas, a vote was held to allow Powerlifting to be a separate part of the Olympic Sport.  This motion was carried in a very close vote.  Later at the same meeting, Bill put in a bid to hold the National Championships which he won, beating Bob Hoffman by one vote.  Hoffman was able to get the AAU chairman to hold another vote on the bid, this time beating out Bill’s bid by one vote.  Due to this, Hoffman went into the history books as holding the first National Championships.

During the next decade, numerous Powerlifting and Odd lifting competitions were held in the Missouri Valley area and elsewhere.  Bill started having the Double Decathlon, a forerunner to the Zercher meet.  Twenty lifts were contested, with the Zercher lift and the Steinborn always being anchor lifts.  The Steinborn was originally known as the “Rocking Squat” but Bill renamed it to the Steinborn, in honor of ‘Milo’ and let him know that they had done so.  Years later, just before his passing, Henry sent $50 for a trophy.

In 1973 Bill brought forth another proposal to the AAU membership, that of having a Masters Program.  This was quite a contentious motion but did pass on a close vote.  The following year, Bill tried to host the first Masters Powerlifting and Olympic Championships. With only 4 entrants, Bill Fellows, Bill Clark, Jack Lano and Wilbur Miller, the meet was called off.  However, in 1975 the meet was held at Columbia College with a total of 15 lifters.  They also had a track meet afterwards where they ran the 880 and threw.  Today, the National championships have over 200 contestants and the Masters program exists in over 70 countries.

Around 1981, Tony Cook from England contacted Bill about holding a Postal Odd meet between English lifters and American lifters.  This meet was held in the US at Sailors Gym over in Kansas.  Twenty five lifts where performed in one day on three platforms and a single lifter might actually have been ‘up’ on multiple platforms at the same time.  Numerous meets have been held at Sailors Gym, and in the early years of the USAWA, the Missouri Valley records were held as the standard for the USAWA, with most of them having been set at Sailors.  Sailors was owned by Bobby Fulgroat who himself was a master powerlifter and bicyclist.  He would ride everywhere including to Columbia for meets.

Bill and Tony started making plans for an international organization in 1985, and Bill flew over to England in October, 1986 to meet with Tony and Frank Allen, where the IAWA was organized.  In 1987, the USAWA was formed and the first IAWA meet was held, albeit it was a postal meet.  In 1988 the first USAWA Nationals was held with John Vernacchio as the host and also the first IAWA Worlds were held at Leicester, England with Frank Allen hosting.  As a side story, at the same time Bill was over in England in 1986, Bill Buckner committed his infamous fielding error during Game 6 of the World Series, allowing the Mets to tie the series and go on to win over the Red Sox.

From the beginning of the USAWA until 2009, Bill served as Secretary/Treasurer and starting with his first Journal on Sept 10, 1989 until his last one on October 19, 2009 wrote just under 150 Strength Journals, keeping the membership informed about meets, events and any other odds and ends that he saw as interesting.  He was also President of the IAWA for the first couple of years.  While his travels today are limited, he still hosts a few USAWA meets at the gym, notably the Zercher, Deanna Springs Memorial and the Goerner Deadlift Dozen Plus One.

Part II will continue with background information about events Bill has held plus accomplishments and achievements over the years.

Happy New Year!

by Al Myers

This will be  a short story (got football to watch), but I want to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR today.  2011 was a great year for the USAWA, and I fully expect 2012 to be an even better one.  I will do a run-down blog on the top stories that have happened in the USAWA during this past year later this week. But now I gotta go – halftime of the Chiefs/Broncos game is about over!

Enjoy the day, take a much needed day off from training, and just enjoy the day spending time with friends and family.

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers


English lifter Steve Andrews set a WORLD RECORD in the Dumbbell Clean and Jerk with a fine lift of 52.5 KG at the 2011 IAWA Gold Cup. Steve is the reigning British Single Arm Champion.

This is a meet that the Dino Gym has promoted for several years now (since 2004).  Unlike a lot of other meets in the USAWA where the same meet (with the same lifts) is done year after year, our meet is different every year with a different theme and different lifts.  Last year we promoted the VERY FIRST Old Time Strongman meet in the USAWA with great success.  We had 18 lifters take part which is the largest attended meet in the USAWA this year to date (tied with the National Championships which also drew 18 lifters).  Hopefully, this year will be just as big.  I have picked a different “theme” for this year – the SINGLE ARM CHALLENGE.   Several of our all round lifts are performed using only one arm, but never have we had just a meet made up with single arm lifts.  This will be a first in the USAWA.  Single Arm lifting is very popular in the IAWA(UK), and every year they promote the British Single Arm Championships.  This past year this meet was promoted by Frank Allen in his home town of Leicester, England (which also happens to be the site of the very first IAWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS).  The lifts contested in this meet were the one arm snatch, the one arm clean & jerk, and the one arm deadlift.  Veteran English lifter Steve Andrews won this years competition.

I have always thought this was an interesting concept for  a meet.   I have decided to add a little more to the English version, and add a couple of other all round one arm lifts.  On top of this, I thought it would make for a REALLY interesting competition if the lifter would be required to do a lift with EACH ARM.  This way the most balanced one armed lifter would win, as a lifter couldn’t just rely on their strong arm for all the lifts.  So, all together 5 lifts, but 10 events.  It will be interesting to see the poundage differences lifted between each arm for each lifter.

THE DINO GYM PRESENTS – “the single arm challenge”

 Meet Director: Al Myers and the Dino Gym,  785-479-2264

Meet Date:  Saturday, January 14th, 2012,  10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Location:  Dino Gym, 1126 Eden Road, Abilene, KS 67410

Sanction:  U.S.A.W.A    Memberships may be purchased on meet day.

Weigh-ins:  9:00-10:00 AM the day of the meet

Divisions:  Juniors, Women, Masters, and Open

Awards:  None

Entry: None & no entry deadline


Side Press – One Arm
Bench Press – One Arm
Snatch – One Arm
Clean and Jerk – One Arm
Deadlift – One Arm


Registration:   Send entry to Al Myers, 1126 Eden Road, Abilene, Kansas 67410

For pdf entry form click here – DinoChallenge12

Zercher Strength Classic


Zercher Strength Classic

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Date:  Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Venue:  Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins:  8 AM

Start Time: 10 AM, January 29th will be a second day if entries 1st day exceeds 8 lifters

Entry Fee: None

Entry Form: None

Awards:  None

Membership:  Must be a current USAWA Member

Lifts:  Leg Press, Deadlift – One Arm, Deadlift – Heels Together, Hack Lift, Continental Clean and Jerk, Clean and Press – Heels Together, Zercher Lift, Steinborn Lift, Neck Lift, Hip Lift, Harness Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, and Bench Press – Feet in Air

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