Athlete of the Year

by Chad Ullom

Al Myers (left) and Larry Traub (middle) - Athletes of the Year.

The final yearly recognition award that was given this year was our Athlete of the Year. This is the “MVP” of the USAWA.  Ironically, the winner and runner-up for the Athlete of the Year were both present and finished in the same order the next day! I wonder if that’s ever happened?!

Athlete of Year-Al Myers
Runner up-Larry Traub

Larry, a relative newcomer to the USAWA, has shown he will be a force to be reckoned with! At this point, Larry is still learning most of the lifts. With just a couple of pointers this year, he added 20 lbs onto his 1 arm clean and jerk! He’s nearly impossible to beat now with his pulling, pressing and squatting power. Give him some time to get more comfortable with more lifts and look out! Larry is the defending national champion and placed 2nd this year. He repeated his victory at the Monster garage meet. Hopefully we’ll see Larry in October for his first world championships. I’m sure we will open some eyes!

The winner of the athlete of the year is Al Myers. I can’t imagine that we had a more active lifter than Al in 2011. He competed in 12 Usawa/Iawa meets, not including record days!  Not only that, there were several others that he sat out to help, or that number would have been much higher. Here’s a quick rundown of 2011 of Al’s overall placings:

Dino Strength challenge-1st place
Grip Championship-1st
Club Challenge-1st place team Dino
Deanna-2nd
Goddard postal (iawa)-1st place team, best overall lifter
Eastern Postal-1st
Heavy lift nationals-2nd
Team Nationals-1st place team Dino
Gold cup(iawa)-world record DL with daughter Emily
Strongman championships-1st
Delaware open-1st
Iawa World Championships, Australia -2nd overall.

That is quite a list! Most of us could go a few years and not be able to put that type of resume together! Al is a humble guy, you won’t see him point out his accomplishments. If I’m not mistaken, he currently sits 3rd all time on the USAWA record list and with that type of activity, it won’t be long before he’s on top. He is an increbible lifter and has been a great teammate, mentor, coach, travel buddy and hetero life partner to me:). Congratulations Al!

Things to do in Vegas

by Chad Ullom

Saturday nights banquet will be held at Tony and Tinas Wedding. I've done it before and its a good time!

For our Saturday night entertainment, we will attend an interactive dinner theater called Tony and Tina’s Wedding. I’ve actually been to Tony and Tina’s Wedding twice before and it is a lot of fun! You are a guest at an Italian Wedding and of course things go wrong all night. From the ex boyfriend that shows up invited, the pregnant bridesmaid, the drinking priest, the show can be different every time depending on who you sit next to! It’s much more fun if you interact, so come prepared to have a great time!

On Sunday, we are planning a bus tour to visit Hoover Dam. I have done the tour before as well and I highly recommend it! You can take a bus from Vegas, and they pick you up from many areas in Vegas. There is a lot of great information on the long bus ride about the dam and Vegas in general. This tour will take most of the day on Sunday. 

At our meeting Friday night before the meet, we will take the orders for the tickets to both of these events.  At this time of the year, we should not have any problems getting in last minute to either of these activities.  We are going to wait on the tickets so we can get all of our seats together at the banquet and on the same Hoover Dam Tour.  I will personally take charge of this project of getting our tickets so don’t worry about being left out or not getting tickets. Just let me know Friday night before the meet if you want to go to either of these activities.  I’ll take the orders and then hit the strip to buy them somewhere cheaper than we could get them in advance.  

The meeting will be held at the host hotel somewhere, at the Silverton.  Al will let you know at some time where this meeting will be held at.  He hasn’t even told me yet. If you have not made your reservation at the Silverton yet, don’t forget to get it done.  Link – http://www.usawa.com/nationals-update/

Also, I am renting a big van to haul everyone around.  Just think of me as your private taxi service.  If you need picked up at the airport, just drop me an email what time you are getting in to Vegas on Friday and I’ll be there to pick you up.  I’ll also be shuttling people to the meet on Saturday as well.

Polar plunge 2012

by Chad Ullom

Brianna, Tasha, and Chad at the Polar Plunge in Topeka, Kansas.

My daughter Brianna, girlfriend Tasha and I participated in the Polar plunge this year to benefit Special Olympics.  Tasha was a real trooper.  She pinky swore Bree last year that she would do it with us this, but the closer it got she was really having second thoughts!  Bree and I did it last year and I was expecting this year to be a bit easier to be honest. Last year, they had to chain saw a 30X30 foot section of ice out of the lake so we could jump in!  It was thick enough that the rescue crew sat on the edge of the ice.  With the milder winter we’ve had this year, there really wasn’t much ice except in shallow areas. It was colder on the day of the plunge than it was last year and it was a bit windier.  We ran in and I went under like I did last year and it really took my breath away!  As we ran around high fiving the rescue crew, my legs were burning!  I could hear Bree behind me and it sounded like she was having the same issues! We made it through the water and headed right for the tent to put on some warm clothes!

This really is a fun event.  People go in teams and there is a costume contest.  We went as the wolf pack this year, but honestly didn’t put a lot into it. Bree had a baby in a backpack we turned into a baby bjorn, Tasha had a tiger and I carried a “satchel”.  The best team by far in my opinion was the toy story group. They put a lot of thought and time into their costumes and looked great!  Before the plunge they do a 5k “strut”.  Bree and I ran it last year and she beat me. She’s been talking trash, so I was really going to try this year. I can’t say I really trained for it, but I thought I could just out run her. I pushed the pace this year, but she was able to keep up . I really kicked in on the last downhill thinking I would put some distance between us. It didn’t work, and she outlasted me to the finish.  The polar plunge is a great event and we’ve had a great time the past 2 years. We look forward to doing it again next year and Tasha said she would do it again with us! I’m proud to say that we raised over $400 for the cause!  I highly recommend the plunge, it is invigorating!

The Box Squat

by Chad Ullom

Scottish Highland Game Champion Dave Brown utilizes box squatting in his training.

My training partner Scott Campbell & I have been using a box for many years to squat off of.   Al recommended box squats to me and they have worked out great for us!   I remember using a box in high school with the Bigger Faster Stronger program, but it was only used as an above parallel  box.   The box we use can be set to a 12, 14 or 16 inch height.  The 12 inch height is about 2 inches below parallel, 14 is at parallel and 16 is about 2 inches above.  I like the variety the box offers, helping with range of motion for deep squats on the 12 inch side while allowing you to feel more weight on your back when you use the 16 inch side.  It also takes out the guess work on depth!  I know I would finish high at times when the weight was heavy or if I was fatigued, but you can’t cheat if your butt doesn’t hit that box.  You have to make sure it’s far enough back that your hamstrings don’t make contact first and it’s just a touch and go.  Don’t drop real fast and crash down on the box.  It’s just there to let you know when you hit the depth you’re looking for.

How I do the Arthur Lift

Chad Ullom and his 258# Arthur Lift at the 2010 Arthur Saxon Pentathlon

By Chad Ullom

The Arthur lift starts off with a hack lift. I usually try and pop the weight up over my hips and drop under it and catch it ideally right on my belt. At this point, I bend over and work it into a good position where I know it won’t fall off. At this point, I reposition my hands to an underneath position and move them out to the collars. I try and pop the weight up my back, so I push up with my hips and pull the bar up toward my shoulders. It usually takes about 4 times to get it up high enough that I can get it onto my shoulders and ready for the jerk. Take your time and make sure the bar is centered and get your hands placed where you want them. I make sure that I’m ready for the jerk, drive hard up with my legs and hips and push through to lock out it out.