Articles from September 2014



Tomatin Toss

by Thom Van Vleck

All lined up for the "Tomatin Toss" which was an attempt to break the Guinness Word Record for a mass caber toss! photo by Chad Ullom

USAWA members Chad Ullom and myself recently took a trip to Inverness, Scotland to take part in the Masters World Championship of Highland Games.  I will report on that later, but first I wanted to tell you about an exciting event Chad and I got to take part in.

There is a Guinness World Record for simultaneous Caber tossing and it stood at 53 Cabers.  Cabers are “logs” or “telephone poles” that are stood on end and the athlete has to pick it up, run with it, and flip it end over end for an “official turn”.  The previous record was held by a Highland Games in Fergus, Canada.  After the Games in Inverness we were invited with some 126 other throwers to try and break this record.  I have to be honest at this point and admit that Chad and I had some reservations regarding this as it could be quite dangerous with 126 logs flying through the air at once.  Previous attempts were very dicey!  But, in the end, we couldn’t pass up the chance to take part.

Tomatin Scotch Distillery was sponsoring the event so it was call the “Tomatin Toss”.

As we set up the sun was setting.  An official from Guinness had been flown in and he appeared to be a very proper Englishman!  He walked around with his head up and seemed to be scrutinizing everyone and everything!  We lined up on two sides and were throwing at one another….we had to question that!  There was a truck with a big screen TV at the end televising the event.  We had to wait for what seemed to be forever to get the “go”.

The instructions we received were a bit vague and this led to some confusion.  It’s tough enough to turn a caber but to do it on cue….well…that’s a real trick.  Chad is a master at the caber and I feel pretty confident with it myself.  I was only one of 6 that turned the caber in by age group of 20 athletes who were all proficient with the caber.  Still, it was a tall order!  The cabers were also not well made, as they were made for a “one time” turn.  This is NOT to say they preparation was poor…just that the cabers had been cut over the past 6 months and some had dried too much!  Chad and I knew we could have a caber snap on us and when that happens you never know what will happen.

Finally, we got a countdown.  As I began to “pick” (lift the caber into the tossing position) I had to simply focus on my caber and no one elses.  This put me at the total trust of the athletes around me that they wouldn’t lose control and dump it on my head.  As I heard the announcer hit “one” I ran up the caber and at zero gave it a pull….and much to my own pleasure it went flying over.  I glanced to my right and saw that Chad had successfully turned his and as it hit the ground it snapped in half!

While 126 had attempted and we only needed 54 for the record it was apparent as I looked around we might have a problem.  Many of the athletes were not as adept at the caber and had failed to get a turn.  Others had misjudged the timing and while they turned the caber it was not “simultaneous” with the rest.  The video was reviewed over and over and we were asked to stay in position as the judges reviewed the video and scored each turn individually.  The Guinness judge made his way up and down the field repeatedly…..about a half an hour went by and we were beginning to wonder if we had done it!

Finally, the Guinness judge took the microphone….and he did milk it a bit….but in the end he declared we had broken the record with 66 successful turns.  We all immediately headed to the beer tent to celebrate….not just the Guinness record…but the weekend as a whole.  I was really actually pretty glad to just survive the whole thing.  I remember as a kid reading the Guinness record book and wondering if I would ever be a part of it….and now I am!

World Postal

by Steve Gardner

This year was the first official IAWA World Postal championships, and what a terrific success it has been. When you look through the results you will be amazed to see that 78 lifters representing 8 different Nations took part in the competition. 32 teams in total. Well done to all the lifters who took part and the officials, supporters and helpers that made it happen. I am sure that Andy would be really impressed with everyone’s efforts and I think we did his memory proud! Look through the results to see 1 the team rankings, 2 the individual lifter rankings, and 3 the class titles awarded in bodyweight and age divisions!

World Postal Championships Results – WORLD POSTAL 2014. Results

TRAIN HARDER AND SMARTER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

Kenny Glasgow, of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics Club, lifting 345 pounds in the People's Deadlift at the 2013 USAWA Club Championships. Kenny, at 76 years of age, is proof that you can train "hard AND smart"!

MIKE ROWE IS MY HERO. YEAH, MIKE ROWE. YOU KNOW HIM, HE’S THE HOST OF THE TV SHOW, ‘DIRTY JOBS’. HE IS THE CHEERLEADER FOR WHAT MOST FOLKS WOULD CONSIDER ‘BLUE COLLAR’ WORKERS. HIS MAIN CONCERN IS THAT THE ‘INFRA-STRUCTURE’ OF OUR NATION IS DECAYING DUE TO A HUGE DECREASE IN FOLKS WHO, ONE, WANT TO WORK AND GET DIRTY AND, TWO, KNOW HOW TO DO THE TRADESMAN’S OCCUPATIONS. ###(SIDE BAR… THE ELECTRICAL COMPANY NEXT DOOR TO WHERE I WORK IS SHUTTING IT’S DOORS, AFTER DECADES IN BUSINESS. THE REASON?? THE OWNER CAN NOT FIND DEPENDABLE, SKILLED ELECTRICIANS TO DO THE WORK, ALTHOUGH HE IS PAYING STARTING WORKERS $28-31/HOUR!! (THIS IS A NON-UNION SHOP.)###

MR. ROWE FURTHER LAMENTS A POSTER HE SAW AT HIS HIGH SCHOOL WHEN HE WAS A STUDENT THERE. IT STATED; ‘WORK SMART, NOT HARD!’ HE SUGGESTS A DIFFERENT SCENARIO: ‘WORK HARD AND SMART’.

WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE THOUGHTS FOR THIS ARTICLE WERE TWO THINGS THAT OCCURRED TO ME JUST ABOUT AN HOUR APART, THIS MORNING.

THERE WERE SEVERAL OF US COMMUNICATING VIA EMAIL, WHICH WENT BACK AND FORTH FOR SOME TIME. THE CONVERSATION TURNED TO SEEKING HELP AND ADVICE IN WHATEVER YOUR ENDEAVOR MAY BE; LIFTING, RUNNING, WHAT HAVE YOU. WE AGREED THAT ONE SHOULD SEEK THIS INTERACTION WHENEVER THE OCCASION PRESENTS ITSELF. NEVER BE TOO PROUD TO GET INSTRUCTION FROM PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT.

THE SECOND EVENT IN THE MIX WAS A CHANCE OBSERVATION WHILE I WAS RUNNING SOME ERRANDS OVER MY LUNCH BREAK.

WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE STREET, I NOTICED A WOMAN ON A BIKE WITH A TWO-WHEELED CART BEHIND HER THAT SHE WAS PULLING. NOW, I WOULD ASSUME THIS WOMAN WAS DOING THIS FOR THE EXERCISE RATHER THAN OUT OF NECESSITY, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE TEMPERATURE WAS NINETY AND THE HUMIDITY WAS IN THE HIGH 50s. WHAT STRUCK ME WAS HOW HARD SHE WAS WORKING! SHE WAS ON A GEARED BIKE BUT SHE WAS POWER STROKING WITH THE PEDALS BARELY MOVING, EXERTION CLEARLY EVIDENT ON HER GRIMACING FACE. TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, THE TERRAIN WAS FLAT. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN FAIRLY EASY GOING. MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS, ‘LADY, GRAB A GEAR!’ I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE THAT USING THE RIGHT GEARS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD, POINTED OUT ON MY FIRST TRAINING RIDE WITH AN EXPERIENCED BIKER WHEN I WAS DOING TRATHLONS ‘BACK IN THE DAY’.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE ANY OF US DONE OUR TRAINING IN A ‘HARD’ MANNER, THINKING WE WERE REALLY KILLING IT WHEN, IN ALL ACTUALITY, WE WERE REALLY KILLING OURSELVES NEEDLESSLY.

THE ODD LIFTS ARE A PERFECT EXAMPLE AND I WILL USE MYSELF AS AN EXAMPLE; TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE ‘ONE ARM C/J’. TO CUT TO THE CHASE, I WAS DOING IT AS A CONVENTIONAL C/J, WITH THE HAND OVER THE BAR RATHER THAN UNDER. I CHASED THAT DAMN BAR ALL OVER THE PLATFORM; WORN OUT BEFORE I EVER GOT TO THE JERK PORTION. MUCH TO MY SURPRISE AND RELIEF, WHEN I WAS PROPERLY INSTRUCTED, I FOUND IT MUCH EASIER TO PERFORM THE CLEAN, THEREFORE, I COULD WORK ON THE JERK WITH MORE ENERGY. SIMPLY PUT, I WAS NOW WORKING HARD AND SMART!

SO, THE POINT BEING, IF YOU TAKE THE TIME TO ‘LEARN THE TRADE’, YOU CAN WORK IN A MORE EFFICIENT MANNER AND YOU CAN WORK HARDER AND, THEREFORE, HAVE A MORE PROFITABLE WORKOUT!

SO, THE NEXT TIME YOU HIT A WORK OUT, THINK ABOUT IT. WORK HARD AND SMART AND SOMETHING TELLS ME YOUR EFFORTS WILL BE REWARDED FOR IT. THEN, WRITE MIKE A LETTER AND THANK HIM!

(THANKS TO CHAD ULLOM AND THOM VAN VLECK FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS ESSAY.)

3rd Quarter Postal

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

3RD QUARTER USAWA POSTAL MEET

The lifts for this postal meet are:

Holdout – Raised

Deadlift – One Arm, Ciavattone Grip

Continental to Belt

ENTRY FORM – 2014 3rd Quarter Postal Entry Form

World Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2014 IAWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

There are many attractions in Boston and the surrounding area to fill several days of enjoyable sight seeing.

It’s exciting to be able to announce the 2014 IAWA World Championships – to be held September 27-28th in Norwood, MA.  Longtime meet promoter Frank Ciavattone Jr. will be the meet director.   Frank is a well-organized and seasoned promoter and has many things planned for the event. Frank is the type of  meet director that thinks of the lifters first and foremost.  You will NOT be disappointed.  It will be an epic weekend!

The events for the weekend are:

SATURDAY – DAY ONE

Cheat Curl

Pullover and Press

One Hand Deadlift

SUNDAY – DAY TWO

One Hand Clean and Jerk

Continental Clean and Jerk

Two Hand Ciavattone Lift

Frank has included meet information that includes local area attractions, a cover page that outlines all details of the meet, and an entry form.  The deadline for entering is September 1st (so don’t be late!!!!).

COVER PAGE (PDF)  - 2014 World Championships Cover Page

ENTRY FORM (PDF)  - 2014 World Championships Entry Form

AREA ATTRACTIONS (PDF) – 2014 World Championships Area Attractions