Wonderful Lifting at Art’s Birthday Bash
by John McKean
On a gorgeous,crisp Fall day, ole Art Montini turned 82 ;rare when the annual meet falls exactly on the old boy’s actual birth date,but it happened this year! And,as usual, Art was at the gym setting up at 6:30 AM & trying to keep flys off the donuts and cake that he treats us to each year! His first “customer” was newcomer, 28 year old Ernie Beath from Maryland, all 390 pounds of him (Art immediately tried to hide the donuts,but Earnie turned out to be an amazingly light eater!). Actually Earnie arrived the night before with his parents in their spacious motor home ,and in need of a place to park for the night. Art knew that the Ambridge police chief was a long time member of our gym so Earnie & family got to park in the safest spot in town, the police station lot (as Earnie’s mom bragged, “Our first arrest!”)!
After the group from Cleveland arrived and USAWA prez Denny Habecker made it in from Lebanon, we were set to go. Amazing athlete Dennis Mitchell immediately decided to chisel up his 77 yr old abs a bit more and embarked on a marathon Roman Chair situp session; he broke his former record by 5 reps with a steady ,perfect grind-out of 525 reps in 38 minutes!
Then Art Montini showed us an amazing teeth lift with 128 # -of course we teased him that he should get extra credit for the lift because he’s lifting with just his one remaining tooth (kidding,of course, he has a full,natural set. Years of good Italian food must yield strong,durable chompers!!).
Denny Habecker did 5 good records,following a 4 1/2 hour morning drive. Since he did things like a reverse curl,one arm deadlifts, and odd grip presses, we all figured that long sessions at the steering wheel must be great arm warmups!
Scott and Kathy Schmidt made their annual appearance, and we always enjoy their good cheer and smiling faces, with Scott displaying his usual olympic lift perfection on moves like the continental and the push press.
Of course, a huge (and I mean HUGE!) surprise and treat for us all was watching the very first all-round contest of the aforementioned Earnie Beath (who,not too unexpectantly , goes by the nickname “Beef”!). Earnie had been emailing over the past few months and expressed interest in getting official credit for his pressing ability; I was fascinated with his ultra heavy training methods and the lifts he modestly admitted to. Despite meet nerves and some travel fatique, Earnie showed rock solid power in the push press from racks- he went through attempts of 315 pounds, 361, and 381 as easily as I can push press a bare bar (maybe easier!!). He actually tried a fourth attempt at 401 and only missed at the very top of the lockout!! All his records this time were in pressing moves, including some he’d never tried before,such as the reflex and alternate grip. Believe me, this young man is nowhere near his potential yet, and now has the incentive of USAWA competition to spur him on! A most welcome addition to our USAWA family!
And as the lifts were all done just before 1 PM,Art & I threw them all out of the gym so we could rush home to watch our Superbowl champion Steelies beat Detroit. A most productive birthday for Art!