Articles from September 2014



Frank Allen – IAWA Award of Merit

by Al Myers

Frank Allen (right) receiving the IAWA Presidential Award of Merit from Steve Gardner (center) and IAWA President Al Myers (left).

It was a very exciting last weekend in Boston.  One of the most important aspects of the weekend was the presentation of the IAWA Presidential Award of Merit.  This the IAWA version of the “Hall of Fame”, and only goes to individuals that are extremely worthy.  Only a handful have been presented this prestigious award, and this weekend included the presentation of the Merit Award to two outstanding men.

To earn this award, a person must not only have shown outstanding accomplishments in performance in All Round Weightlifting in IAWA events, but have been a major contributor in other aspects as well – such as event promotions, leadership responsibilities within the organization,  and be of outstanding character.

It was an honor to be part of the induction ceremony honoring the great Frank Allen. Steve Gardner gave a very eloquent speech highlighting Frank’s illustrious career in IAWA.  Frank was an original member of IAWA, and was the promoter of the VERY FIRST IAWA World Championships in 1988.  He has attended practically every Worlds and Gold Cup through the years.  Congrats Frank!

World Championship News Flash

by Steve Gardner

I am very proud to have been at this year’s World Championships at big Frank Ciavattones in Boston it was a great competition and the British lifters were just brilliant. In the ladies event I am so chuffed that Karen and Paula from my own club both took World titles in their weight classes and both won outstanding lifter awards in their age divisions.  Paula at 40 plus and Karen at 50 plus and finished first and second in the overall rankings..well done ladies! George Dick was super at 125 plus taking 65 plus title and outstanding lifter at 65 plus also. Steve Sherwood was out of this World winning has weight class and outstanding lifter in his age division and winning the overall champion of champions title case best lifter at the championship by a huge margin over very strong challenges from Chad Ullam and Al Myers and James Fuller. All of the lifters did great and Frank C put on a superb competition. Chris Bass was great helping me at the score table and the evening finished off with two award of merit presentations, the IAWA highest award. I was proud to present the award to Frank Allen and Al Myers presented to Frank Ciavattone two great awards, a perfect end to a perfect championships. Looking forward to getting things sorted now for the Gold Cup….long live Iawa!

Highland Games Masters 2014

by Thom Van Vleck

Chad Ullom tossing the caber in Scotland!

Recently USAWA members Dave Glasgow, Chad Ullom, and Thom Van Vleck went to Inverness, Scotland to attend the Masters World Champs of Highland Games.  Unfortunately, Dean Ross was unable to attend.  Dean was the last person to have attended EVERY SINGLE MWC since it’s inception a dozen years ago.  Larry Traub was in attendance to watch and cheer us on.  Dave and Larry had brought their wives along….I was stuck rooming with Chad…..

The event was great fun and I’ve already talked about the Guinness caber toss record.  This was a three day event and it worked out where I could help Chad in the morning sessions when he threw and he could help me in the afternoon sessions.  I know for a fact Chad helped me out and I hope he found me helpful as well.  We would video each other throwing and assess mistakes and changes.

Chad Ullom between Wilbur Stam and Tommy DeBruijn....and Chad beat them both in the caber!

Chad was 4th in what I would call one of the toughest 40-44 age groups I’ve ever seen.  He had former champ Mike Dickens to deal with as well as 6′10″ Tommy DeBruijn.  Chad did extremely well against a field of some 20 throwers.  His best event was the caber toss where he was one of only three in his group to turn the caber.  He was in a dead tie going into the third and final attempt and ended up 2nd by a fraction.  I have to say in my opinion I thought he won it….but they didn’t let me judge!  It was that close.

I was in the 50-54 age group and I was dealing with two of the all time Scottish greats….Mark McDonald and Allister Gunn.  Both former pros and it was no contest with 18 throwers in my group about who would be in the top two.  Allister pulled out a close victory and the rest of use were really contending for 3rd.  I was very pleased to have my 2nd best finish ever with a 5th.  However, what really made my trip was winning the Weight Over Bar event for the 4th time at the World’s.   I really thought I had no chance at beating the two legendary Scots but it ended up being my day!  Chad was a big help spotting for me and keeping me focused.  I get deservedly kidded for focusing on this event but I love it and I won’t apologize for enjoying my win even if it’s just one event!

Thom Van Vleck winning the WOB event.

I know Dave was in a very tough group.  It was great to see him in Scotland with Larry.  Dave’s best events were the hammers where he placed 4th in both the light and heavy.  He was also 5th in the Heavy weight for distance.  Dave was in the 60-64 age group…..Which had THREE former or current World Champs in his group….by far the toughest in my opinion relative to the competition and age. I think Dave would be at the top had he not blown both quads a few years back.  I think he’s an amazing story recovering from that injury and coming back to throw well enough to contend for the podium.

Next year the World’s are slated for St. Louis, Missouri…back in the USA!  Looking forward to it all ready!

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