Posts belonging to Category USAWA Daily News



1st Quarter Postal

by Al Myers

1st QUARTER USAWA POSTAL MEET

The results are in!  Two women and six men tackled the 1st Quarter USAWA postal meet with great results.  Ruth Jackson won the overall womens division, with Crystal Diggs second.  Chad Ullom took the overall in the mens division, with Barry Bryan a close runner up.  Congrats to all who competed!

I would like to take “a minute” and make a few comments on these postal meets and the submission of results.  A certified official makes sure you complete the lifts in appropriate manner, but there is no one to supervise the filling out of the result sheet. This is left up to the individual lifter.   I noticed in this meet that there are several instances where a lifter didn’t designate an arm in the result sheet for the one arm lifts.  Not that that is a problem for figuring up your total, but it takes you out of consideration for potential records as they are kept per hand.  Also, make sure the official/officials sign your entry form and it is completed entirely and neatly.

Also – I have no problem with lifters completing the lifts and sending them into Denny if  not a current USAWA member. Enjoy the free meet!  But don’t expect to see your results in the final meet results here on the website if you are not a current USAWA member.  Not sure if you are???? It’s easy to tell – check the membership roster – it’s always up to date.   I WILL NOT notify anyone if this occurs, so please don’t expect that out of me.  I have no interest in being a collection agent for the USAWA.  I got a simple rule – NO PAY, NO PLAY.  Make sure you membership registration is up to date BEFORE you enter if you want to be part of the official tally.

I’m glad to see the USAWA Postal Series Meets continuing in the USAWA.  Thanks again to Denny for taking on the role of Postal Meet Director.  I think this will be another great year for these competitions!

MEET RESULTS

1st Quarter Postal Meet
March 1st-31st, 2014

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Lifts: Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm, Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm, and Deadlift – 2 bars

Lifters using a Certified Official:

Ruth Jackson – Certified Official Jarrod Fobes
Crystal Diggs – Certified Official Ruth Jackson
ChadUllom – Certified Official Al Myers
Eric Todd – Certified Official Lance Foster
Barry Bryan – Certified Official Denny Habecker
Denny Habecker – Certified Official Barry Bryan
Lance Foster – Certified Official Eric Todd
Keith Thompson – Certified Official Eric Todd

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SWING DL-NT DL-2 TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 52 108 55-R 97-R 210 362 539.4
Crystal Diggs 27 134 30-R 60-R 150 240 276.6

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SWING DL-NT DL-2 TOT PTS
Chad Ullom 42 258 135-R 209-R 562 906 729.0
Barry Bryan 56 196 80-R 187.3-R 330.7 598 632.4
Denny Habecker 71 196 60-R 143.3-R 319.7 523 624.0
Eric Todd 39 256 125 210-R 450 785 615.6
Lance Foster 48 334 55 155 310 520 439.9
Keith Thompson 27 228 105 230 —— 335 278.6

NOTES: BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All lifts in pounds. R and L designate arm used. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are adjusted points for age and bodyweight correction.

EVERYONE IS A TEACHER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

ONE OF THE MANY HATS I HAVE WORN IN MY ADULT LIFE IS THAT OF A PARAMEDIC/RN. FOR SEVENTEEN YEARS, I PLYED MY TRADE AND FED MY FAMILY AS AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL WORKER. DURING THIS TIME, I WORKED ‘ON THE STREET’ AS WELL AS IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OF A LEVEL 1 TRAUMA CENTER IN A METROPOLITAIN SETTING.

IN THAT CULTURE, I HAVE RUN INTO ALL SORTS OF ‘CHARACTERS’, BOTH IN THE FORM OF PATIENTS AND IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, AS WELL. FROM THE OUT HOUSE TO THE PENTHOUSE, AS IT WERE. DURING THIS TIME, I HAVE HAD SOME EXCELLENT INSTRUCTORS AND SOME NOT SO , WELL…, GOOD. THE ONES I LEARNED THE MOST FROM WERE ‘OLD SCHOOL’ MEN AND WOMEN THAT HAD ‘BEEN DOWN THE OLE HARD ROAD’. USUALLY, THESE FOLKS WERE QUIET, CONFIDENT AND UNASSUMING PROS THAT MADE THEIR JOBS AND ACTIONS LOOK EFFORTLESS. THEN, AGAIN, THERE WAS THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM.

ONE OF THESE INDIVIDUALS IMMEDIATELY STANDS OUT, WHENEVER I THINK ABOUT THIS SUBJECT. ONE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET.

TERRY (NOT HIS REAL NAME) WAS A GEM. I CAN STILL SEE HIM HOLDING ‘COURT’ OVER A ROOM OF EMT STUDENTS, IMPARTING HIS ‘WISDOM’ IN A MANNER THAT, TO THOSE NOT ‘IN THE KNOW’, WAS FULL OF GREAT TIPS AND KNOWLEDGE FROM A GRIZZLED VETERAN. TRUTH BE KNOWN, TERRY WAS A MARGINAL TECH, AT BEST; AND FAR FROM A VETERAN. DON’T GET ME WRONG, WHEN IT CAME TO THE DIDACTIC END OF THE JOB, HE WAS TOP DRAWER. WHEN HE TRIED TO WORK IT TO THE STREET, HOWEVER, THERE WAS AN ISSUE. HIS CALLS WERE A NIGHTMARE OF INDECISION AND CHAOS. SOMEHOW, HE JUST NEVER SEEMED TO BE ABLE TO PUT IT TOGETHER. HOWEVER, WHEN THE HEAT WAS OFF, HIS BATTLESHIP MOUTH WAS SURE TO OVER LOAD HIS ROW BOAT ASS. YOU COULD COUNT ON IT.

WELL, BEING AS I AM, THIS BRAVADO BEHAVIOR BOTHERED ME TO NO END. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE TYPE TO LIVE IN A ‘PUT UP OR SHUT UP’ TYPE WORLD. I DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN THIS, I’M SURE.

I TOOK MY FRUSTRATION WITH TERRY TO MY PARTNER, THE GUY WHO TAUGHT ME EMERGENCY MEDICINE, WHEN I WAS A ‘PUP’ AND CONSIDERED, BY ALL, TO BE THE ‘REAL DEAL’. HE LET ME VENT FOR 10 MINUTES OR SO, CALMLY LIT HIS CIGARETTE AND QUIETLY SAID, ‘DON’T YOU SEE HOW MUCH YOU CAN LEARN FROM TERRY?’

HUH?? ARE YOU SHI**ING ME?? WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY LEARN FROM TERRY?? HOW TO TURN A ROUTINE CALL INTO A DISASTER?? MY VENUNCULAR PARTNER SAID, “SIMPLE. YOU CAN LEARN FROM TERRY BY SEEING WHAT HE DOES WRONG AND MAKING SURE YOU DON’T DO IT YOURSELF!’. SIMPLE AND BRILLIANT! I HAD NEVER THOUGHT OF IT IN THAT LIGHT. THAT CHANGED MY WHOLE THOUGH PROCESS, FROM THEN ON.

WHAT MADE ME THINK OF THIS IS DUE TO THE RECENT BOOM OF ‘SOCIAL MEDIA’, I HAVE NOTICED MORE AND MORE FROM ‘YOU TUBE’ VIDEOS THAT PEOPLE POST THEIRS LIFTS, EXERCISES OR WORKOUTS. AS WITH MY EXPERIENCES IN THE ER WORLD, THEY, TOO, RUN THE GAMET FROM GOOD, TO POOR, TO, DOWNRIGHT, DANGEROUS!

ONE NEEDS TO BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THESE ‘KEY BOARD’ EXPERTS. THEY MAY VERY WELL BE LEGITIMENT BUT SOME COMMON SENSE NEEDS TO BE APPLIED.

SO, THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE OR HEAR ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL THAT DID SOMETHING YOU DEEM DANGEROUS OR SILLY, REMEMBER THIS…….

YOU CAN LEARN FROM ANYBODY. YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.

EPILLOGUE………………….SOME YEARS LATER, I FOUND OUT THAT I HAD ONE MORE THING TO LEARN FROM TERRY.

ONE RAINY NIGHT WHEN TERRY AND HIS PARTNER WERE WORKING A MOTOR VEHCLE ACCIDENT IN SOUTHERN TEXAS, AN ELDERLY MAN, DRIVING A PICK UP, WAS CONFUSED BY THE RAIN, THE DARK AND THE FLASHING LIGHTS. TERRY SAW THE CAR COMING DIRECTLY AT THEM AND COULD HAVE, EASILY, JUMPED CLEAR. INSTEAD, HE SCREAMED A WARNING AND WITH ONE DESPERATE, MIGHTY SHOOVE, HE PROPELLED THE CART, WITH THE PATIENT ON IT, INTO HIS PARTNER. THE MOTION KNOCKED BOTH THE PATIENT AND HIS PARTNER WELL CLEAR OF THE ONCOMING MISSLE, WITH NOT AN INSTANT TO SPARE. TERRY WAS CRUSHED BETWEEN THE CAR AND HIS UNIT. HE DIED INSTANTLY.

IN THE END, HE TAUGHT THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OF ALL. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” JOHN 15:13

Simple Liars, Damned Liars, and Experts

by Thom Van Vleck

I like talking about training.  Even if half the time it evolves in an argument.  The one person I have learned the most about weight training is from my Uncle Phil Jackson.  He would often say to me, “I’ve forgotten more about training than you’ll ever know”.  I still often think he is right.  Another guy I’ll mention is Al Myers.  I have learned more about throwing for the Highland Games from Al than any other person.  A lot of the USAWA crowd may know Al competed in the Highland Games but are not aware he was world class at it.  The reason I listened to Al and Phil was not because they were considered by the majority of the lifting or throwing world as experts but because both had something in common with me.  None of us were what I would call natural or “gifted”.  We all had to work for every bit we have.

First I’ll say this.  There’s a fallacy out there that great athletes make bad coaches and mediocre athletes make great coaches.  The “logic” given is that great players never really learn how to play and rely on their natural abilities while mediocre players have to learn every trick to get better.  The evidence given is that there are many coaches that were mediocre players.  Well, that’s just Bull!  The reality is that there are MANY more mediocre players and it would make sense that they would end up a majority in the coaching world over the handful of great athletes.  What really defines a great coach is knowledge and the ability to impart that knowledge in a way another will take it and use it.  They have what’s been called “Practical IQ”.

Now, I don’t know for sure about Al, but I do know that my Uncle Phil would say I’ve barely listened to him at all over the years.  He’s partly right, I have been stubborn at times.  But I would argue he’s mostly wrong.  If you look at how I train there’s more of him in there than any other person on earth.  As for Al, I know I’ve frustrated him from time to time with a million questions and when he’s been nice enough to answer me I’ve often ripped apart his answers.  Al’s such a nice guy this may be hard to believe….but I’ve made him mad more than once!  Yet, if you look at how I throw…NOBODY has had more influence on my throwing and how I train for throwing!  I have just learned over the years that there are….Simple Liars, Damned Liars, and Experts.

The title for this article refers to a saying among lawyers and judges.  It refers to the “expert” witness.  It is often used to make the point that you can get an credentialed expert witness to support about anything.  Kind of like the saying “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” that make the point that you can find stats to support just about any point of view….whether that point of view is right or not!  This is the attitude I bring into how I approach all experts.

Heck, I AM AN EXPERT!  I have been called into court numerous times to provide expert testimony as a licensed professional counselor.  I have frustrated many judges and lawyers in this role because when I KNOW I’m being looked to as an expert then all the speculation, logic, “makes sense to me” is shoved out of my brain and I got with cold, hard, facts.  And the truth is…..you can’t get much from cold, hard facts!  You need to take that leap and expand out beyond what is known and take your “best guess” sometimes to find success.  When pressed by a lawyer or judge, I would preface my “best guess” by saying this is my “opinion based on what I know”.  That rarely helped….they wanted me to tell them that I “unequivocally” knew the truth and to say it as such.

So, what does all this mean.  I guess (based on what I know…..HAHAHA) that I’m trying to say that we need to seek out experts and understand that one person’s “expert” may not be your “expert”….we all have different needs.  These experts can be anywhere and don’t always need to be the “greatest” or the “most famous”.   We also need to look at being able to mine what an expert can give us even if sometimes they aren’t the best communicators.  We should never throw out the coaching of on person simply because they gave bad advice one time.  That’s like the old saying of throwing the baby out with the bath.  Finally, we need to open ourselves to find people who know more than us and take a leap of faith on what they are telling us…..but always remember there are liars, damned liars, and experts.  It’s all in how you want to look at it.  If you think it’s a lie….or the truth…you’ll probably be right.

Zercher Classic

by Al Myers

ZERCHER STRENGTH CLASSIC

The Zercher Strength Classic, the oldest meet in the USAWA, just concluded with another year of competition. This long-standing meet has been a fixture at Clark’s Gym since the early 80’s to honor the St. Louis Strongman Ed Zercher.

Four brave lifters showed to tackle this 13 event affair – all held over the course of one day.  Joe Garcia came out the champion of the meet, with a 7470 pound total. Newcomer Dave Emslie came in second over a couple of wily veterans Bill Clark and Al Springs. Bill Clark commented in a letter to me with the results that Dave “may be a tough competitor in the future in many lifts.”

I was glad to see Bill lifting in the meet.  He put up a solid hip lift of 805 pounds, even though he commented in his letter that he had hoped to get 1000 pounds, but said he must be careful with the replaced hip and broken femur. For those unaware of Bill’s joint replacements, he has had more than most people have fingers!

Afterwards there was a record day session, as if the 13 event Zercher meet wasn’t enough! Many new USAWA/IAWA records were set by Joe, Bill, and Dave.  It looked like a great day of lifting!

MEET RESULTS:

Zercher Strength Classic
Clark’s Gym
Columbia, MO
March 29th, 2014

Meet Director: Bill Clark

Officials: Bill Clark, Joe Garcia

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

Joe Garcia Dave Emslie Bill Clark Al Springs
AGE 60 73 81 72
BWT 214 175 238 196
Leg Press 400 400 200 300
C&P 155 95 —– 95
C&J 165 105 —– ——
DL-1 225R 225R 155R 155R
Hack 280 250 185 250
DL-HT 280 250 135 250
Zercher 225 200 —– 125
Steinborn 145 105 —– 105
BP-FIA 215 165 100 135
H&T 1175 475 325 400
Neck 405 235 100 145
Hip 1665 805 805 705
Harness 2065 1105 1105 875
TOTAL 7470 4270 3105 3545
ADJ PTS 7779.6 5524.9 3587.2 4234.4

NOTES:  All lifts in pounds. BWT is bodyweight in pounds. ADJ PTS are adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.

RECORD DAY LIFTS

Bill Clark

Crucifix 10lbs
Curl – Cheat 45 lbs
Deanna Lift 235 lbs.
Deadlift – Left Arm 155 lbs.

Dave Emslie

Crucifix 50 lbs.
Curl – Cheat 95 lbs.
Deanna Lift 430 lbs.
Deadlift 215 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumbs 265 lbs.
Deadlift – Middle Fingers 145 lbs.
Deadlift – Ring Fingers 145 lbs.
Deadlift – Index Fingers 145 lbs.
Pullover – Stiff Arms 65 lbs.
Pullover and Press – Wrestlers Bridge 65 lbs.

Joe Garcia

Crucifix 70 lbs.
Curl – Cheat 135 lbs.
Deanna Lift 430 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton DB, Left Arm 157 lbs.
Saxon Snatch 65 lbs.
Brick Holdout – Right Arm 14 lbs.
Brick Holdout – Left Arm 14 lbs.

Dave Beversdorf

Leg Press 700 lbs.

Bryan Mann

Leg Press 700 lbs.
Bench Press – Feet in Air 325 lbs.

It is not the critic who counts

by Eric Todd

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”-Teddy Roosevelt

This quote by President Roosevelt was introduced to me by Coach Fallein, my high school wrestling coach. It always stuck with me, I guess because I was competitive in nature. One could argue that through this quote, a parallel can be drawn between weightlifting and life.
There has been more than one occasion where I have witnessed someone who weightlifting (or another competitive avenue) came easy to. They try it a few times, whip the competition, and then disappear into the night. My first thought always was that if I was that natural at something, I would do it as much as possible, and be the best in the world. But alas, it was not to be and I had to scratch and claw for every PR and victory I have achieved. So why did these guys disappear? While pondering this question with colleagues, we determined that the success had come too easy for these guys. They had not felt the sting of failure. They did not have to go back to the gym, back to the drawing board, refocus and re-attack. Thus when they re-entered the arena and were victorious, they knew not of the contrast between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

It is those hills and valleys that make our companionship with the weights so rewarding. Clearly, winning is the goal. But the ride to get there is what it is all about. Am I satisfied with a win if I did not lift as I am capable? There have been a time or two (no more) that I was almost satisfied with second, as I performed above and beyond anything I could have hoped for, the other guys was just better (which stings a bit anyhow). Throughout it all, though, you have got to allow yourself to enjoy the ride.

There was a time in 2003, when I was just off winning my weight class at strongman nationals. I was top 3 overall, 1 point out of second, and the first place guy received his pro card. I knew that I was going to go pro at my next contest. I poured all my eggs into 2003 Lumberjack days in Stillwater, MN. I trained like a maniac for this contest; I could not lose. I knew Dave Ostlund (of World’s strongest Man fame) would be there, and he was tough, just coming off a top 3 placement in his weight class at nationals, but I was 2 and 0 against him, and knew I could make it 3 in a row. Well, the meet came and went. I ended up 3rd. I lifted fairly well, but it just was not enough. I was devastated. I had to regroup and do some soul searching. I had to re-prioritize things, and decide if I was even going to get back to the drawing board. This loss stung.

I am glad I chose to remain stalwart in my pursuit of strength. I tried a few more times for my heavyweight pro card, and was close, achieving a couple second place finishes. Ultimately, I chose to drop to the new 105 kilo division, and within half a year, I had earned my pro card at the 2005 Monsters of the Midwest. It happened in the most dramatic of fashions. Me and Dino Nick were tied going into the final event: the Atlas Stones. I had gone first and put up a quick time. However, when Nick started, he was on pace to beat me. He was on pace until the final stone, and he just was not quite able to load it. Believe me, at that moment, I was at the top of the world. That peak was so high, because of the depth of the valleys.

The highs and lows, that is the spice of our lives. I love living in the country in Missouri. I love seeing the seasons change. The May days that are sunny and in the seventies are so much sweeter because of the blizzards in January. The peaks are made remarkable because of the valleys we are made to toil through.

A couple years ago, right before thanksgiving, Mom called and said she would not be able to watch Phoebe the next day as she was not feeling well. Well we scrambled to make alternate plans, but something in the back of my mind kept me a little worried about Ma. Any of you who know her know that she is never sick, or at least wont hardly admit to being, and NOTHING will stand in the way of her time with her grandbabies. So I felt that something as a bit off. Well, I called the next day, and she was clearly not well. I talked her into going into the ER, and she ended up having an emergency surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her colon. Though surgery went as well as could be expected, it was an invasive surgery, and she had to spend some time in ICU recovering.

I spent a lot of time at the hospital over that holiday break, spending time with ma, and spending time with dad. He clearly was worried. He had been a bit ill himself, with what appeared to be something respiratory. Dad, Jennifer, and Phoebe ate Thanksgiving dinner at Cameron Regional Medical Center that year. Me and Dad stayed most of the day, and into the night. We then made our way home, and I to bed, trying to get a little sleep, as during this time I had been lacking. At around midnight; however, I was awakened by the telephone. It was Dad. He asked me to take him to the ER. We went in, and as it turns out, his affliction was not respiratory at all. He had atrial fibrillation which was causing his heart to go crazy, and as it turns out it was a miracle he did not have a heart attack. So, that night, I got to move dad into the ICU next to Mom. I spent the rest of the night going back and forth to the hospital getting medications, clothes, etc. I finally was able to sleep around 8:00 in the morning. Those days were some dark ones. It was tough keeping everything together and trudging on through. I was in a valley.
Mom and Dad both recovered miraculously. They are both are doing wonderful. I enjoy each and every minute I get to spend with them. I have a beautiful wife and two amazing kids. I have a job I love, and get to lift for fun. I am not lifting the best I ever have, but am still confident my best years are ahead of me. My life is a grand one. Those valleys I have been to let me know just how glorious these peaks can be.

I can tell you this, learning to deal with the peaks and valleys in sport goes a great deal toward teaching us how to deal with adversity in our lives. Getting my tail kicked on the wrestling mat (I can tell you, it is personal-you physically get your tail beat by another individual, saying he is the better man that day) on the football field, the track, in the weightlifting arena, and having to figure out how to deal with it and come back from it has helped teach me how to face the trials and tribulations in life. And it has shown me just how precious each victory, no matter how small, can be.

The rest of the story….

by Eric Todd

Growing up, when we listened to the radio, it was always 61 Country (an AM station out of KC) or KMRN (a local AM station). On both of those stations, I enjoyed listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”. Last year, I wrote an article called “Where Do We Go?” that detailed some of the reasons that I feel our membership in the USAWA is not terribly substantial. Well, in this article, I would like to discuss “The Rest of the Story”, benefits of all-round that draw lifters to the USAWA.

The USAWA offers something for everyone. Everyone has their own strengths. There are a multitude of lifts in the USAWA across many different aspects of strength. There are grip lifts, heavy lifts, 2 man lifts, dumbbell lifts, and barbell lifts. There are eccentric lifts and very standard lifts (variations of the Olympic and powerlifting movements). So there are many different ways to demonstrate your strength. One should never be bored doing all-round. Even if you have an injury, or are limited in some way, you should be able to find some way to excel in the USAWA.

Secondly, the USAWA is drug tested. If you are new to the USAWA, you will probably be tested. IF you have dramatic increases in your lifts, you will probably be tested. Please take no offense. It is how we maintain the integrity of our drug free organization. I, for one, take a great deal of comfort knowing that I am lifting on an even playing field with other drug free lifters.

There is definitely camaraderie, a brotherhood, whilst lifting in the USAWA. It is a small enough organization that you get to know most of the good folks lifting within it. Because of this, the meets are not only competitions, they are like family reunions. I want to out lift the other competitors, but I am rooting for them all the while to lift their very best. It is the best environment to be lifting in.

Then there are the Heavy Lifts. No other organization has them, to my knowledge. If you want to inflate your ego a little, and swell up in the chest, do some Heavy lifting. Through no other means will you lift as much. I have done a ton or more in 4 lifts now, and I am not close to being the best of the best.

There is nothing more old school than lifting all-round. Because of that, you will get to lift in some of the coolest old school gyms you have ever seen. If you love the history behind weightlifting, some of our old school USAWA gyms are wealthy is weightlifting history. I know I have not been to all of them, but if you want to experience strength training and weightlifting history, visit Al’s Dino Gym, Clark’s championship gym, or the JWC Training Hall. I am sure there are many others in the USAWA.

The USAWA is a very unique organization for strength training. Sometimes it can be humbling, but is always a great time. For any strength enthusiast who has not tried competing in a USAWA meet, you are missing out. I suggest coming out. You will meet some great people and get to challenge yourself in ways you never had before.

New Direction for the USAWA!

by Glückliche Aprilscherz

As of today we have new leadership in the USAWA!  Out with the old and in with the new and happening.  The NEW ORDER is bringing many new things to the old, stodgy USAWA.  First of all, DRUGS!  Lots of them.  Plenty of steroids, spheroids,asteroids, hemorrhoids, HGH, UGH, SheGh, WeallGH!  Let’s face it.  That’s what the masses want!  We don’t want to fall behind the times do we?  Of course not!

The next big move will be supportive gear.  Super suits, super wraps, super shoes, super britches, super bras, super socks, and my favorite…. super long johns!  There will be a special line of gear that is endorsed by the USAWA.  We have partnered up with a hydraulic firm that will put hydraulic jacks in our lifting suits.  I just got my “fork lift” gym shorts and immediately squatted 5000lbs!   It made me feel like a real man, too!

Rules…….NO MORE RULES!  Who needs ‘em!  We just fight over them and it makes everyone feel bad.  The rulebook takes forever to read and who wants to read!  Just make stuff up and pass everything.  Heck, no rules means we don’t need judges!   That’s a bonus!  Who needs someone looking down their nose at you while you are lifting making you do a legit lift that has some semblance of correctness.  Just slop it up and down….or just down…who cares!!!!

Winning?  Well, that’s not with the times fellas!  There will be no losers in the USAWA.   Everyone will be a winner and feel great about themselves.  The new judges tree will simply flash white lights whenever you step on the podium….or EVEN BEFORE!  Just show up…heck, don’t show up…and we’ll give you a trophy.  Why should you lift heavy weights and get all sweaty?  Why should you suffer from low self esteem because you aren’t the strongest man in the world and you have worked out for at least 20 minutes for 3 or 4 times.  You should be rewarded for just trying….heck…forget about even trying…you should be rewarded for just wanting it “real, real bad”.

Money!? Who needs it.  It only screws things up.  So the meets will be totally free.  Someone else will do all the work, too!  This is my favorite part.  I have even proposed that we go all professional and we all get paid THOUSANDS of dollars for showing up to meets (or not showing….just thinking about it hard enough and should be rewarded).  The USAWA will immediately petition the government for stipend to make this happen.  We also propose that we all be able to quit or jobs so we can just workout.  I’m sure that will be fine….I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of people out there that like to work and give away their money and why not give it to people who are deserving….LIKE US!

So, welcome to the new USAWA!  And we will make today our special holiday! Happy April 1st!

Lifter of the Month: LaVerne Myers

by Al Myers

LaVerne Myers in action with a 300# Deadlift with the Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip at the 2013 Grip Championships (I did not get any pictures at the 2014 meet because I was busy being the head official, my apologizes).

March is over so it’s time to get the lifter of the month for February announced!  I had to think “long and hard” on this decision, but I’ve made the choice of choosing my father LaVerne Myers as the 2014 USAWA February Lifter of the Month. Now before you start accusing me of “playing favorites” in my choice let me tell you why!

The only USAWA competitions held in February were the Grip Championships and the Dino Gym Record Day, which were held “back to back” on a weekend in February. They were sanctioned as separate competitions. The Grip Championships is one of our Championship events held every year so I decided the lifter of the month should come from that meet.  LaVerne placed second in a very strong men’s field (9 lifters) that included guys like Dan Wagman, Eric Todd, Lance Foster, Dave Glasgow, Keith Thompson, Scott Tully, Dean Ross, and Mike Murdock, .  It was one of the best attended Grip Championships the USAWA has had. LaVerne placed second to the “unbeatable” Dan Wagman by only 6 points in the overall.  LaVerne had a great meet – with lifts of 123# Dumbbell Walk (the top lift in the meet), 280# Fulton DB DL, 253# one arm deadlift, and 165# middle fingers deadlift.

LaVerne receiving his award at the 2014 Grip Championships (left), presented by myself (right).

Congrats to LaVerne on a being the LIFTER OF THE MONTH!!!

Buridan’s Ass

by Thom Van Vleck

The story of Buridan’s Ass is a paradox where an ass (ass as in burro or donkey….not someone’s backside) is that is equally hungry and thirst is placed between a pail of water and a stack of hay.  The ass dies of hunger and thirst because it can’t make a decision about which way to go!  It is actually based on a parable going back to Aristotle.  The more modern version you may be more familiar with is the term “paralysis by analysis”.

Regardless of where it comes from it is the state of over thinking a situation to the point that no decision is made.  There is another parable that I think describes this mental dilemma even better:

There was a fox and a cat arguing over who had the better escape plan.  The fox had hundreds while the cat had only one….run up a tree.  Suddenly a pack of hounds approached and the cat shot up a tree to safety while the fox darted back and forth trying to decide what would be his best option.  In his indecision he missed his opportunity to escape and was caught.

You can get so caught up in seeking the perfect solution that no decision occurs and you end up making mistakes, missing chances, and losing the ability to test out ideas that may have worked for fear there was a better method just around the corner.

How does this related to lifting?  In a way it’s been the story of my lifting career!  I fancy myself a pretty smart guy.  I associate and affiliate myself with the lifters and throwers.  I read all I can about training.  In my early years when I had a spare moment you would find me writing out workouts then erasing parts, adding parts, pondering it….and often never (at best) finishing the workout…or (at worst) never even starting it because I was in search of the “next big thing”.

I think every athlete has been in search of that “holy grail” workout that will bring you big lifts and massive muscles…..and hot babes hanging off your biceps!  The reality is that there is no perfect routine and the most successful athletes learn to move on quickly and decisively from one routine to the next.

So, I’m saying, don’t be an ass…..but how you might ask?

1.  Avoid being a perfectionist….which means allowing yourself to fail.  Failing happens when we take risks and if you aren’t failing then you aren’t taking risks to stretch your boundaries.  In positive psychology they NEVER call it “failure”….it’s always a learning experience.

2. Value speed!  Rewire your brain to “go for it”.  Imagine every decision as a crossroads and you have no brakes on your car.  Make a decision and power through.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You back up and take the other road?  You will still save time over indecision AND you have the learning experience of what was the other way.

3. Focus on starting.  Too often we start to look too far down that road and trying to see where it goes.  If you have an idea, take 30 minutes, or a set time, and go for it all out.  Then assess where you are at rather than sitting down and trying to figure it out.  Set aside time for analysis…like one hour, a day, or 90 days.  Make the amount of time you are in action greater than the analysis time.

4.  Break down goals, look for quick wins, and appreciate every step that moves you forward.  We too often focus only on failure and in the process we forget to look at what worked.  Remove the fear of failure and replace it with an attitude that you embrace change and find opportunity in it rather than potential failure.

5.  Develop habits and routines that avoid the paralysis.  I am reminded of the Nike slogan, “Just Do It”.  For me it’s the Bible Verse James 1:12 which tells us to “Persevere under trial” and those who do will be given the ultimate reward.  Have things that help you get focused and develop them.

Finally, don’t do to this article what I’m encouraging you NOT to do.  Analysis is good!  As a matter of fact there is a common fallacy that our first answer is more often the right answer.  Have you ever been told to “go with your gut” when you don’t know the answer on a test?  Well, I hate to break this to you but it’s NOT TRUE!  It has been proven in study after study.  More often we will change a wrong answer to a right one…almost 2 to 1!  So why is there this perception that we change right answers to wrong?  Because we tend to focus on failure!  So, it is important to keep a positive focus to avoid creating your own fallacies or misconceptions.

As my Uncle Phil told me….train smarter not harder.

Frank’s BBC RB

by Frank Ciavattone Sr.

MEET WRITEUP AND  RESULTS

Frank’s Barbell Club Record Breaker

This meet was held March 15, 2014. This meet had seven competitors, all showing up before 9:00 am. Immediately following weigh-in there was a pancake breakfast, enjoyed by all.

After that we had a list of records to be broken with a rules clinic. Lifting started promptly at 10:00 am. There were two female, two teenage and three male lifters. The women lifters did an outstanding job with newcomer Taylor Richards. She was inches away from breaking the all time Left Hand Ciavattone Lift with a weight of 167 pounds. Also not to be out-done was Colleen Lane, lifting with an injury still managed to compete.

In the teenage division we had two new members pulling off some great lifting which enabled them to get into the record books. Brenden McAuliffe, 16 years old and Matthew McCarthy, 18 years old, both lifted 1200 pounds in the Hip Lift with very little training before this meet.

In the open division we have returning lifter Joseph Ciavattone, Jr. Joesph did some unusual USAWA lifts. Joe Sr. also performed some extraordinary gripping strength and pressing movements.

Last but not least, Frank Ciavattone, Sr. Meet Director, due to injury performed a couple of lifts, all with ease and impressive form, leaving the crowd in awe.

The two referees were Joe Ciavattone Sr. and Frank Ciavattone Sr. Everyone that attended truly was amazed at the lifting and comradeship had by all. The meet ended with a buffet style banquet. All food at this meet was prepared by one of the lifters, Colleen Lane, which helped to round out this outstanding day of lifting.

LIFTERS AND LIFTS:

Taylor Richards 23 years old,   194 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Ciavattone 153 pounds
Hip Lift 700 pounds

Colleen Lane 57 years old,  211 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Ciavattone 122 pounds
Right Hand Ciavattone 122 pounds

Brenden McAuliffe 16 years old, 178 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Ciavattone 166 pounds
Hip Lift 1200 pounds

Matthew McCarthy 18 years old,  213 lbs. BWT

Two Hand Ciavattone 375 pounds
Hip Lift 1200 pounds

Joseph Ciavattone Jr. 20 years old,  218 lbs. BWT

Clean and Seated Press 200 pounds
2 inch Clean and Press 208 pounds
Close Grip Bench 270 pounds

Joe Ciavattone Sr. 45 years old,  225 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Ciavattone 218 pounds
Fulton Lift Left Hand 166 pounds
Fulton Lift Right Hand 142 pounds
2 inch Clean and Press 168 pounds
Close Grip Bench 240 pounds

Frank Ciavattone Sr. 59 years old, 285 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Fulton Lift 166 pounds
Right Hand Fulton Lift 166 pounds
Hands Together Bench 180 pounds

Big T’s OTSM (First Update)

by Thom Van Vleck

I have some more information on OTSM being held at the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  Entry info and a link to the first story on the meet can be found under the USAWA Future Events section.

This meet will be held outside weather permitting.  If the weather is bad, we’ll move it inside.  Each lifter will be given the chance to look at the records and attempt one record attempt on a lift outside the competition once the meet is completed.  Additional records will be up to there being time.  I wanted to mention this in case there was anyone coming that planned on trying some record attempts.

I thought I might catch some flack regarding my decision to have two champs.  One based on the formulas and the other based solely on most weight lifted.  So far not a peep.  I think it will be interesting to see if they are different!  Just so you know, it’s not my plan to do this with the OTSM Championships.

In addition, This meet will happen regardless of the turn out.  The idea of having this in conjunction with a Highland Games meet is I hope to get some new members to sign up.  You will notice I don’t have a deadline.  All comers!  So don’t worry about the meet being cancelled due to low turnout.  THIS WILL HAPPEN!

Finally, bring some shade, sunscreen, and a folding chair.  It’s pretty wide open at my place so shade is tough to find.  I don’t sunburn and don’t notice it….but we’ve toasted a few of the fair skinned lifters and throwers at my place!

Hope to see you there!

Nicknames

by Thom Van Vleck

I’ve told a story recently and reference a nickname for my Uncle Wayne Jackson.  I wanted to tell about where that came from.

A couple of years ago I hosted the USAWA Nationals.  Wayne was able to make it and was kind of a guest of honor.  At one point Al Myers noticed I called him “Staggo” and asked me about it.  As everyone that knows me, knows ALL TOO WELL, there’s a story behind that!

When I first started training at age 15 it was with my Uncle Wayne Jackson.  It was kind of a tradition to make up nicknames back in the day.  Often it was something that started out as an insult but over time became a badge of honor.  I go to a Lutheran Church and we are taught about how the Catholics used to make fun of us and called us “Lutherans” as an insult.  Now we wear it with honor.

I tended to favor the deadlift…because I was good at the deadlift.  Like a lot of young guys I tended to train what I was good at and ignore what I was bad at…which was pretty much everything else!  My Uncle Phil was the type of guy to cut right to the chase but Wayne was the type to try and use some subtle remark to get his point across.  I think he knew I had a pretty fragile self esteem so just telling me the way I was training was pretty stupid might have dealt me a blow….and I might have quit training.

So one day Wayne started calling me Bob Peoples.  If you don’t know who Bob People’s was, he was very much a deadlift specialist and I was on my way to becoming one, too.  Every time I would start pulling Wayne would say, “Well, there goes Bob People’s again” or he might say, “So is Bob deadlifting again today”.  He made his point and I started to diversify my training.  But I also had to get him back.

Wayne was kind of sensitive about his weight, considering he spent most of his life over 300lbs!  I once asked him how much he weighed at his heaviest and he told me 339 and A HALF.  I then asked, “So when you weighed 340…what were your best lifts”.  Wayne looked at me dead serious and said, “Tommy!  I NEVER weighed 340″.  He also would emphasize that a give weight was “in his street clothes” as if to say “I don’t actually weigh that much, I’m much lighter with my clothes off”!  We all have a weakness and that was his.  Now to exploit it!

We were watching one of the early World’s Strongest Man contests and there was a competitor from Holland named Staggo Piszko.  This guy was huge…and ROUND!  It was made more pronounced by the fact he had this little guy that was his “trainer” or “coach” that was dwarfed by him and kept running around him like he was on fire.  My Uncle kept chuckling every time he saw him.  So for the last 30 years it stuck!  And like many nicknames, what started out as a snappy comeback and a good-natured “ribbing” ended up being a badge of honor.

Many times I called up Wayne and said this line:

“HEY, STAGGO!  …..and he’ll be Staggo to me forever!

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers

Denny took me to one of his favorite places last year at the Presidential Cup, and as you can tell from this picture, we had a good time at the Downtown Lounge!!!

Our Prez Denny Habecker has sanctioned this year’s Presidential Cup again!  The President’s Cup is the KING of USAWA Record Days.  I like to think of it as the CHAMPIONSHIP OF RECORD DAYS in the USAWA.   It is under direction to be promoted by the USAWA President, with the lift that impresses the President the most being recognized as the winner of the Presidential Cup.

The meet will be held at Denny’s private gym – Habecker’s Gym.  The number of different lifts one can perform is up to the number of lifters that enter and time allotment.  Come prepared to do at least 4 or 5 for record purposes as that is usually the number each lifter gets with the turnout of lifters in the past. Maybe you will get to join this exclusive list of past winners!!!

PAST PRESIDENTIAL CUP WINNERS:

2012 – Dale Friesz

2013 – Art Montini

There is no entry form or entry fees for this meet, but please contact Denny ahead of time if you plan to attend.

ARNOLD’S MULTI-RINGED CIRCUS

BY DAVE GLASGOW

The heart of team HASA, Dave Glasgow throwing at the Arnold (photo and caption by Larry Ventress)

I HAVE HEARD OF ‘THE ARNOLD’ ALMOST FROM THE BEGINNING, ALL SORTS OF STORIES AND RECOLLECTIONS FROM THOSE THAT HAVE MADE THE TREK. I NEVER FIGURED I WOULD MAKE THE JOURNEY MYSELF, AS LARGE CROWDS ARE JUST NOT MY STYLE. HOWEVER, WHEN I MADE THE CUT TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST GROUP OF AMATEUR THROWERS FOR A HIGHLAND GAMES AT THE ARNOLD, I FIGURED THIS TO BE A ONCE IN A LIFE TIME ENDEAVOR. (I WANT TO QUALIFY, RIGHT NOW, THAT I WAS NOT ONE OF THE FIRST TO BE INVITED. THERE WAS A ‘DROP OUT’, SO I GOT THE NOD.)

SO, OFF TO OHIO I GO. LUCKILY FOR ME, CHAD ULLOM HAD BEEN CHOSEN AS WELL AND WITH THOM VAN VLECK FOR SUPPORT, WE WERE ON OUR WAY. NOT TO BE LEFT OUT, LARRY ‘FLOYD’ TRAUB CAME FOR THE RIDE, SO, AS YOU CAN SEE, CHADER AND I HAD ALL THE SUPPORT WE NEEDED!

WE PROCEDED TO THE EXPO HALL ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND THE STORIES I HAD HEARD WERE, INDEED, TRUE. TO CALL THIS A FREAK SHOW IS QUITE AN UNDERSTATEMENT. EVERY POWER AND STRENGTH SPORT YOU COULD IMAGINE WAS REPRESENTED. THIRTEEN HUNDRED BOOTHS FOR ANYTHING RELATED TO THOSE AFOREMENTIONED SPORTS WERE LINED UP AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE. I HAD NO EARTHLY CONCEPT THAT THERE WERE THAT MANY PROTEIN POWDERS AVAILABLE!!

NOW, AS STATED EARLIER, I HAVE NO DESIRE TO ATTEND THIS TYPE GATHERING SO QUITE A FEW OF THE THINGS I SAW WERE NOTEWORTHY. FOR EXAMPLE, I HAD NO IDEA THAT WOMEN COULD HAVE A ‘TWELVE PAK”. NOT A SIX PAK, MIND YOU, BUT A TWELVE PAK!! HOWEVER, RIGHT THERE, BOYS AND GIRLS, IN THE FLESH, STOOD NOT ONE, BUT TWO FEMALES WITH MORE MUSCULATURE IN THEIR ABDOMINAL AREA THAN, WELL, I HAVE. PERIOD.

SPANDEX!!!? YOU WANT SPANDEX? THIS PLACE COULD HAVE CARPETED THE VAST HALLS AND HAD MATERIAL LEFT OVER! TATOOS AND THE FAKE ‘LAT SPREAD’. THOSE GUYS HAD TO HAVE BEEN TIRED AT THE END OF THE DAY!! FOLKS STANDING IN LINE FOR 30 MINUTES FOR FREE STUFF. REALLY!!? NOT THIS GUY.

POLE FITNESS. MR. TRAUB TOOK AN IMMEDIATE INTEREST IN THIS ACTIVITY. I HAD NEVER HEARD OF ‘POLE FITNESS’, OUTSIDE OF WHAT I HAD HEARD WENT ON AT ‘GENTLEMAN’S’ CLUBS. BUT THERE IT WAS! IN THE FLESH, BABY! LITERALLY(YES, THEY WERE CLOTHED BUT JUST BARELY (PUN INTENDED). UNBELIEVEABLE. NOW, I REALLY DID’NT UNDERSTAND IT BUT I OVER HEARD ONE YOUNG LADY TELL ANOTHER THAT IT WAS THE ‘PERFECT EXERCISE’ FOR TOTAL FITNESS. OK. I’LL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT. I MEAN, REALLY, COULD THE CREATOR OF ‘POLE FITNESS’, ‘BAD KITTY’ (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP), BE WRONG?

I WOULD HAVE REALLY LIKED TO HAVE SEEN SOME OLY LIFTING AND THE COMBAT SPORTS, BUT THIS WAS JUST NOT THE VENUE FOR THE AVERAGE ONLOOKER. THE PLACE WAS, ABSOLUTELY, PACKED. WE STAYED, AND HAD PRETTY GOOD SEATS, FOR THE PRO DEAD LIFT COMPETITION. THAT WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE! JUST VERY AWE INSPIRING.

NOW, FRIENDS, I WILL NOT GO INTO THE GAMES A WHOLE LOT, AS THIS IS NOT A ‘GAMES’ WEB SITE, HOWEVER, I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE THAT THIS WAS THE FIRST OF MARCH IN OHIO. WE KNEW THE WEATHER WOULD NOT BE CONDUSIVE TO OPTIMAL THROWING OR GOOD MARKS. WE WERE CORRECT IN THAT ASSUMPTION! NEAR WHITE OUT CONDITIONS GREETED US FROM THE GET GO. REGARDLESS, OVER 60 ATHLETES IN 5 DIFFERENT CLASSES TOOK TO THE FIELD. MY ONLY COMMENT TO THIS MADNESS WAS TO SAY, ‘WELL, SOMEDAY, WE WILL LOOK BACK AND TELL ONE ANOTHER, “REMEMBER THE ARNOLD IN ’14!!?”

WOULD I GO BACK?? I DOUBT IT. I SAW AND DID WHAT I WENT TO DO. THAT’S ENOUGH FOR ME.

HOWEVER, IF ‘BAD KITTY’ CALLED AND WANTED ME TO CRITIQUE HER GIRLS, I MAY HAVE TO RECONSIDER!!

Better than Gold

by Thom Van Vleck

The medal my Uncle Wayne gave me.

I was recently at an event and one of the other competitors reached over and pull out a medal I had hanging around my neck.  He wanted to know what it represented.  It is a medal that I’ve worn in every competition I’ve been in or at least been on between lifts or events.  It’s been dipped in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, the Irish Sea, Mississippi River, Columbia River, Missouri River….even Loch Ness and other places I have traveled and competed.

It is a medal my Uncle Wayne Jackson won the year I was born. The story goes that he went to the meet and won this medal.  He would have been around 21 years old and in the midst of a great run of winning Olympic lifting events in the Midwest that included a Teenage National Title and 5 Missouri State Championships.  Wayne came back from the meet ready to show off his “winnings”.  He had been unable to reach anyone by phone and since this was the days before answering machines and cell phones….if you weren’t there to answer the phone you missed the call!  So he had not been able to tell anyone about winning.

When Wayne arrived at home the house was empty and there was no note or other information on where everyone had went!  He was a little concerned and a little disappointed that he had not been able to share his victory with his family.  Then my Grandmother showed up and told him that he needed to get down to the hospital as his sister had her baby.  Which was me of course!  He told me I had upstaged him!

Reverse side with the 1964

From as early as I can remember my Uncle Wayne was a part of my life.  As a kid he would pick me up and throw me high in the air.  We would wrestle and he would take me out hunting arrowheads.  He never had any children of his own and he became a second father to me.  My kids are like his grand kids.  Obviously, he’s the main reason I got into weight training and in doing so he may have saved my life.  At the least, my life has been much better for getting into lifting.  Over the years he is the first person I call after a contest and he’s also kept up to date on my workouts.  He’s always quick with a compliment and slow to criticize.  He has also been an inspiration to me for his faith in God and using his strength not to intimidate others but protect those that needed protecting.

There came a time when he wanted me to have this medal.  I’m sure it’s not worth much but it’s priceless to me.  It represents our friendship and love for one another.  It represents a passing of the torch in the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  It reminds me of him and when he’s not able to be there with me I feel like he’s there.  It is better than gold to me.

Lifter of the Month: Dave Glasgow

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow with a 1200 pound Harness Lift at the 2014 Dino Gym Challenge in January.

Congrats goes to Dave Glasgow for being the USAWA Lifter of the Month for January!!  Dave competed in the Dino Gym Challenge in January – the tribute to Warren Lincoln Travis.  Along with competing, Dave encouraged other Ledaig Club members to attend (Larry Traub, Doug Kressly, and Logan Kressly).  Without Dave’s support of this meet – it would not have been the success it was!  Dave has been one of the most active members in the USAWA these past few years and has promoted several meets (including last year’s Club Championships).  He is well-deserving of this award, and is a great representative of the organization.

Postal Series 2013

by Al Myers

Dan Wagman performing a 350 pound Reverse Grip Bench Press at the recent Dino Gym Record Day.

As the first quarterly postal meet of 2014 is less than 30 days from being completed, I finally got the results from the 2013 Postal Series tabulated.  The USAWA has 4 postal meets per year (March, June, September, and December), with the last one being designated as the Postal Championships.  All these together make up the Postal Meet Series.  Each postal meet a lifter competes in generates points for him/her, that total up for the final Postal Series Ranking.

The way the points are generated is pretty simple.  I take the overall placings of the meet and then reverse “the count” for the points earned for each lifter.  I.E – if three lifters compete lifter number 1 gets 3 points, lifter number 2 gets 2 points, and lifter number three gets 1 point.  The Postal Championships is worth “double points”. Obviously then, as more lifters enter more points can be earned for winning the meet, and ALL lifters earn points regardless where they place overall.  Just entering will earn points toward the Postal Series Ranking.

Overall there was good participation in the USAWA Postal Meets last year.  A total of 18 lifters competed in the various postal meets.  The first Postal Meet had 17 lifters, the second had 9 lifters, the third had 9 lifters, and the Postal Championship drew 11 lifters.   Several lifters competed in ALL of the postal meets last year and they deserve to be recognized.  These lifters are Ruth Jackson, Dan Wagman, Sam Rogers, Orie Barnett, Denny Habecker, and John Wilmot.

Now for the overall rankings for the 2013 USAWA Postal Series!

WOMENS DIVISION – TOP TWO

PLACING LIFTER MEETS ENTERED POINTS
1 Ruth Jackson 4 6
2 Gabby Jobe 1 1

MENS DIVISION – TOP TEN

PLACING LIFTER MEETS ENTERED POINTS
1 Dan Wagman 4 51
2 Orie Barnett 4 35
3 Al Myers 2 32
4 Sam Rogers 4 30
5 Barry Bryan 2 29
6 Chad Ullom 2 26
7 Eric Todd 3 22
8 Denny Habecker 4 18
9 John Wilmot 4 15
10 Les Cramer 2 15

Congrats to Ruth Jackson and Dan Wagman for being the OVERALL WINNERS of the 2013 USAWA Postal Series.  On top of winning the series both of these lifters won EACH and EVERY Postal Meet of 2013!  That has never been done before in the history of the USAWA Postal Series.

Ruth Jackson new USAWA Official

by Al Myers

Congrats to Ruth Jackson for becoming the latest new USAWA Official.  RJ was the first one to undergo the more strenuous requirements to become an official.   A couple of years ago the USAWA began requiring practical training after passing the written rules test in order to become a certified official. Ruth just completed her practical training at the USAWA Grip Championships/Dino Gym Record Day earlier this month.  She is now listed on the Official’s List, and will receive a 3 year officials card.

Big T’s OTSM

by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT: BIG T’S BIRTHDAY BASH OTSM

This May I turn 50 years old.  My wife asked me what I wanted to do.  Well, I love to throw, lift, and eat with family and friends.  So I will be hosting a Scottish Highland Games at my gym near Greentop, Missouri as well as an USAWA OTSM meet!  You may enter both if you like.  There will be burgers and brats grilled for lunch.  The Highland Games will begin at 10:00am while the OTSM will follow immediately after around 3 pm.  Weigh ins will start at 9:00am or immediately before the lifting starts.  There will be miniature anvils for awards.  One difference with this meet is that there will be two champions.  One will be decided using formulas while the other will be declared on most weight lifted.

MEET DIRECTOR: Thom Van Vleck

DATE: May 31, 2014

LOCATION: JWC Training Hall, 23958 Morgan Road, Greentop, MO, 63546

A special Iron Man award will be given to the combined thrower and lifter.

Following the throwing and lifting, weather permitting, there will be a bonfire and evening festivities.

Three lifts will be contested.  Two are tried and true OTSM lifts while the third is a brand new lift that will be tried out for the first time.

The Cyr Press

Any dumbbell with a handle diameter between 1 inch and 1.5 inches is allowed. The dumbbell may be brought to the shoulder in any manner, but must come to the shoulder before going overhead. This includes using two hands. Once at the shoulder, the dumbbell is taken overhead with only one hand anyhow. The other arm/hand is not allowed to touch the lifting arm during the overhead portion. The feet are allowed to move. If the lifter misses with one arm, the dumbbell may be switched to the other arm during the attempt, but the arm used must be selected at the shoulder. A time limit of 1 minute is allowed for the attempt. The dumbbell may be set down or dropped during the attempt. If the overhead portion of the lift is missed, it may be restarted at the shoulder. Once the dumbbell is overhead motionless with arm straight, the legs straight and feet in line with the torso, an official will give a command to end the lift.

Dumbbell to the Shoulder

A dumbbell will be taken from the floor to the shoulder using any method the lifter wants to employ. The dumbbell may be lifted with two hands, continental style, or may be rested on the belt during the lift by any part of the dumbbell. Hands may grip the plates, bar, collars, or any part of the dumbbell. Any size plate may be loaded onto the dumbbell. The lift is completed when the lifter is standing upright, with the dumbbell resting on the shoulder, and the lifter demonstrating control. Both hands may remain on the dumbbell to complete the lift, or with one hand or both hands off the dumbbell. A time limit of 1 minute is given to complete the lift. An official will give a command to end the lift.

Thor’s Hammer (NEW LIFT!)

A 2″ vertical bar that conforms to the rules for the 2″ vertical bar lifts (2″ in diameter and no more than 18″ long with no knurling) will be used. Just as with a vertical bar lift, the bar may be gripped by any grip with only one hand near the top of the vertical bar. In addition, the hand must not be touching any weights or collars used to secure the weights.  The lift will begin at the lifter’s discretion. There will be a one minute time limit to complete the lift. Once the lifter chooses to use the left or right hand, the other hand will not come in contact with the weight.  If the lifter misses an attempt they may switch hands but only with the weight resting on the lifting area.  The lift must be one continuous motion from the floor to a locked out position with no press out.  The lifter may choose to snatch or swing the weight.    The forearm must not touch the weight at any time.  The lifter may move the feet and body to adjust to the lift like a snatch lift.  The lift is considered complete when the lifter is in an upright position with the knees and elbow locked, feet in line with the torso with the weight under control.  At which time the official will give the command to end the lift.

National Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2014 USAWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Tim Piper (left), meet promoter of the 2014 USAWA National Championships, and Al Myers (right) at last years meet at the Salvation Army Gym.

The date has been set – June 21st – so mark this day off your calendar and make plans to attend the USAWA Nationals in Macomb, Illinois. Tim Piper, of the Salvation Army Gym, will be this years host and meet director.  Macomb is the perfect location for our National Championships since it is located in the center of USAWA activity.  It’s within driving range for practically everyone.

Tim has planned a one day meet with 6 lifts. The lifts chosen are very traditional all round lifts, and lifts most everyone should like.  Tim is a very seasoned meet promoter and I know he will have everything planned and organized well for a great day of lifting for everyone.

LIFTS:

Crucifix
Snatch – One Arm (Barbell)
Clean and Push Press
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar
Curl – Cheat
Zercher Lift

ENTRY FORM – USAWA 2014 Nationals-Macomb IL

OCPD: Weightlifting Sub-type

by Thom Van Vleck

Most, but not all, of my Scottish Hammers....I don't see a problem with having 20 plus hammers....that's normal, right?

Recently the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) was released.  It has the criteria for diagnosing mental health disorders.   I end up referring to it a great deal as part of my job as a Licensed Professional Counselor.   The DSM 5 is actually the 7th revision which plays into the fact that there are lots of arguements about what is in it because Mental Health is not as an exact science as we would like.  It relies heavily on the observation and self report of a client and not so much on hard science.  Someday it will, but not now.

The big argument that comes up every time they revise this thing is what is mentally ill and what is not.  Many factors play into this.  Some are pretty legit, some are very politically and culturally driven, and some may be related to special interests such as pharmaceutical companies and mental health facilities that stand to make a profit.  I’m not cynical, just realistic.

So with that in mind I decided to come up with my own disorder.  Obsessive Compulsive: Weightlifting Sub-type.  Now right now I need to clarify something.  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is different  than Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).  Many get these confused.  OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce anxiety.  The individual then seeks to reduce the anxiety producing thoughts by developing a preoccupation with some obsessive/compulsive behavior.  OCPD is a personality disorder and is characterized by a preoccupation with perfectionism and orderliness.  This can be with the things around them or the people around them.  The funny thing about OCPD is that the person afflicted with it often sees it as a huge plus and a reason for their success….and fail to see how destructive it is to those around them.

So, my OCPD Weightlifting sub-type (and if you haven’t figured out this is mostly tongue in cheek…..and a little not) is geared towards those whose preoccupation with the iron has become a chronic, non-adaptive pattern.  Their drive to achieve perfection in training, diet, and all aspects of life that will lead to that holy grail of being the best they can be has led to them becoming asocial, impossible to deal with, and actually leads to the opposite of what they want to achieve.  Some of the sub-types include narcissism, passive aggressive, paranoid, antisocial, and histrionic (look that one up…it’s interesting).

Now, I said this was tongue in cheek and it mostly is.  There is no way this will ever be a real diagnosis.  But I will tell you that I think weightlifters are a “special breed” (that means “crazy” and “nuts” to the average person).  We see what we do as good and we often reinforce each other especially when one of those “average” persons points out our insanity.  However, we also can box ourselves in with our obsession to the point where we think what we are doing is working and effective when it’s really not.  That’s what OCPD: Weightlifting Sub-type really is.  I know I’ve had bouts with it.  The very nature of the obsessiveness needed to be successful in weightlifting works against you from time to time.

So what do you do?  You need to take a step back every once in awhile and take a look at yourself, what you do, have you convinced yourself what you are doing is working or is it REALLY WORKING.  Take a look at those around you.  Are the blind leading the blind?  Sometimes if you are getting angry because someone contradicts your beliefs that may be a good sign you actually are OCPD:WS.  A good lifter is always open to new ideas.  If you are surrounded by people who agree with you all the time….you better watch out!  That means you are all OCPD:WS! Finally,  take a hard look at what you do.  I was once told by an employer if he asked me why we do something a certain way and my answer was “Because that’s how we’ve always done it” he would fire me on the spot.  I made a joke recently that if I ate hot dogs before ever squat workout I could easily surmise hot dogs were the secret if things went well.  Never assume, always experiment and you will stay away from the chronic, non-adaptive pattern that characterizes OCPD:WS!

So, do you have OCPD: WS….well….do ya?

Texas Power Bar

by Al Myers

Three different Texas Power Bars in the Dino Gym: 1. Mac TPB (bottom), 2. 10 year old Capps TPB (middle), and 3. New Capps TPB (top).

The Texas Power Bar has become synonymous with THE STANDARD of powerlifting bars over the past 25 years. This bar was initially marketed in the early 80’s and has been used by many powerlifters thru the years, both in training and in competition.  It is a general PL bar – meaning that it is a good bar to be used for all the powerlifts.  It is fairly rigid, has good aggressive knurling, and holds up to “hardcore”  use.  The name “Texas Power Bar” has name value to anyone who has been involved with powerlifting, and most all lifters associate the Texas Power Bar with quality.

I bought my first Texas Power Bar in the early 80’s from Mac Barbell Equipment. At that time, the main advertising for lifting was through the PL magazine, Powerlifting USA.  You could count on there being an advertisement for the Texas Power Bar in every issue.  One of the company’s selling pitches was this comment in their ads, “The Mac Texas Power Bar has been used in more World and National Championships than all other brands combined. Make sure you don’t get a cheap imitation or counterfeit”. Mac Barbell was located in Grand Prairie, TX, thus the reason for the name being called the Texas Power Bar.

The end cap of a TPB which contains the official logo of the Texas Power Bar.

Now a little history lesson.  This bar is the “brainchild” of Buddy Capps. He has, for over 30 years, owned and operated Capps Welding and has been in the weight lifting bar manufacturing business this entire time. His business is located in Irving, Texas. Buddy Capps was a former Texas State Powerlifting Champ, so he knows something about the needs of powerlifters. The TPB (Texas Power Bar) was influenced in design by a couple of other very good powerlifters, Doug and Clay Patterson. However, Mac owned “the rights” to the TPB, and shortly afterwards Capps and Mac Equipment had a “falling out”.   Capps then did a redesign of the TPB, and started making his newer (and improved) version.  Since then, he deals through distributers for resale. Mac Equipment has now been out of business for several years, so the earlier “Mac Texas Power Bar” is no longer being produced.  The only TRUE Texas Power Bar on the market is the Capps TPB.  I say this because I have seen other advertised Texas Power Bars on the market  that are not made by Capps, and are imposters.  Every Texas Power Bar contains a sticker logo on the end of the bar indicating it as the OFFICIAL Texas Bar.  Bill Ennis, of Weightlifters Warehouse, told me that the steel used by Capps in the Texas Power Bars is American high-quality steel, and has always been that way.  I have owned several Capps TPB’s and from my lifting experience on them, I agree with this.  The steel seems the same to me in the new TPB’s as the ones I got over 20 years ago. I’ve had only one Capps TPB bend on me, and that was because is was being used inappropriately and not the fault of the bar.   Capps believes in producing high-quality bars and this can only be achieved by using “top of the line” steel.

The bar specs on a few of my Texas Power Bars are:

BAR Length Shaft Diameter Center Knurling Center Spacing Width Inside Collar Collar Width
Mac TPB 7-’2″ 1- 1/8″ Yes-6″ 16-1/2″ 52-1/8″ 1-1/2″
Capps TPB (10 years old) 7′-1 3/4″ 1-1/8″ Yes-4″ 17″ 51-3/4″ 2″
Capps TPB (NEW) 7′-1 3/4″ 1-1/8″ Yes-4″ 17″ 52″ 2″

My Mac Texas Power Bar is still in good condition even though I have had it and been using it for over 25 years.  It still has a very aggressive knurling that hinders most from wanting to use it. The newer TPB’s have less aggressive knurling, but still I would consider as aggressive in terms of depth of knurling cut. The newer TPB’s are coated in Black Oxide and have a nice finish.  The sleeves rotate very well for power bars, but not well enough to be used as Olympic Lifting bars if you are an experienced Olympic lifter.  The are plenty “stiff”, which make them great bench and squat bars and general purpose training bars.

I believe Texas Power Bars are very consistent in quality (at least the ones I’ve lifted on – and that’s been many).   They have several of Capps distinguishing features – wide 2″ collars, aggressive knurling cut pattern, and the use of two roller pins to secure the sleeve. The end cap is recessed as well.   His bars have a look unlike all others.  If you are looking for a good bar that will last for a long time – I highly recommend Texas Power Bars.

Dino Gym RD

by Al Myers

Dan Wagman performing a Feet in the Air Bench Press at the 2014 Dino Gym Record Day. Dan set a new record with a lift of 375 pounds!

Last weekend was a full weekend of great lifting at the Dino Gym!  Sunday picked up where Saturday left off with 5 lifters attempting to break/set new USAWA records.  I was surprised to see 3 new faces on Sunday who could not make the Grip Champs – Chad Ullom, Doug Kressly and Logan Kressly.  Dan Wagman and Ruth Jackson where the only Saturday lifters who made the full two day competition.

The record day started off strong with Dan setting a new USAWA record in the Bench Press – Feet in Air.  Dan broke a long standing record held by the great Barry Bryan (at 374 lbs. set in 1990) with a lift of 375 pounds. It was a very impressive lift.  Dan then backed it up with a record in the Bench Press – Reverse Grip at 350 pounds.

Ruth lifted fantastic as usual.  She set several new records – with some outstanding lifts in the Vertical Bar Deadlifts. She also completed her official’s practical on this day.  Once the paperwork has been approved – she will be added to the official’s list as a Level One Official.

Chad Ullom picked several of his favorite lifts to set new records in (Arthur Lift, Ziegler Clean, Continental to Belt).  Looked solid and strong as ever!

I was glad to see Doug and Logan back to the gym.  These two made my Dino Challenge in January as well.  Doug upped his teeth lift record from the Dino Challenge, and then helped Logan to many new records.  Logan had some tremendous marks – Fulton Bar Deadlift of 352, Dinnie Lift of 550, and a front squat of 300.  He tried 320 in the front squat, and took it way too deep to recover from. That’s a huge front squat for a young kid only 15!

Overall, a great day for the everyone!!!

My companion in the gym during the meet - Dan's dog Gram - short for Hamilton vom Naglersee.

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Record Day
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
February 9th, 2014

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials (1-official system used): Al Myers, Chad Ullom  In-training Ruth Jackson

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Lifters and Lifts:

Ruth Jackson – 52 years old, 108 lbs. BWT

Clean and Press – Alternate Grip: 80 lbs.
Jackson Press: 75 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 2″: 176 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 1″: 202 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 187 lbs.
Squat – Front: 120 lbs.

Logan Kressly – 14 years old, 168 lbs. BWT

Squat – Front: 300 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 352 lbs.
Deadlift – Reeves: 155 lbs.
Dinnie Lift: 550 lbs.

Dan Wagman – Open, 184 lbs. BWT

Bench Press – Feet in Air: 375 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 350 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 300 lbs.
Curl – Cheat, 2 Dumbells: 160 lbs.

Doug Kressly – 34 years old, 286 lbs. BWT

Teeth Lift: 179 lbs.

Chad Ullom – 42 years old, 255 lbs. BWT

Ziegler Clean: 182 lbs.
Teeth Lift: 200 lbs.
Arthur Lift: 220 lbs.
Continental to Belt: 440 lbs.
Snatch – On Knees: 115 lbs.

Grip Championships

by Al Myers

2014 USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

Participants in the 2014 USAWA Grip Championships held at the Dino Gym on February 8th.

The USAWA Grip Championships turned out to be much more successful than I predicted with the bad weather and snow that preceded it.  At one point last week I was wondering if anyone would show up!  Then to my surprise – 10 lifters made it to the Dino Gym Saturday morning.

Ruth Jackson made the trip from Colorado and was the lone woman lifter in the meet, but even without any “one on one” competition she lifted outstanding. She set several USAWA records enroute to winning the Overall Best Lifter in the Womans Division.  Ruth competes in the same bodyweight class as the Hall of Famer Noi Phumchaona did – so she has some pretty good records of Noi’s to contend with. Ruth also brought me some new plates for my plate collection (which has earned her some bonus votes for the lifter of the month award!!!)

Awards given at the Grip Champs to the Overall Winners.

Where to start with the mens lifters?  That’s pretty easy – we had a newcomer entered in the meet!  Keith Thompson entered his first USAWA meet as part of the KCSTRONGMAN club.  Keith was also the youngest lifter in the meet.  Keith lifted exceptional – with his 310 pound fulton dumbbells deadlift being his highlight lift.  I’m looking forward to seeing Keith entered in more meets.  Other KCSTRONGMEN members Eric Todd and Lance Foster had solid days of lifting as well.

Dan Wagman pulled off a close overall victory over LaVerne Myers and Dave Glasgow.  It came down to the last event (the middle fingers deadlift) to determine the overall men’s champion.  These three ended up very close in points (854 pts for Dan, 848 pts for LaVerne, and 832 pts for Dave) in the final placings.  LaVerne started off with a great record-setting Dumbbell Walk of 123 pounds which was the tops of the meet.  Dave lifted a 308 pound one arm deadlift which was quite impressive, as well as a 290 pound fulton dumbbells deadlift.   However, it came down to “the fingers” (like a lot of past Goerner Meets) to decide the winner – and Dan’s big MF deadlift of 236 sealed the deal for him.

Scott Tully lifted big – and posted the top total of the meet at 1002 pounds.  That’s quite an accomplishment in a field like this.  Scott’s BIG LIFT was his record setting fulton dumbbells deadlift of 322 pounds.  This earned Scott a new USAWA record as well as setting a new DINO GYM record (breaking the record held by Ben Edwards at 320 pounds).   USAWA faithfuls Dean Ross and Mike Murdock rounded out the field.  Dean and Mike have been extremely active in the USAWA over the past few years, and always enhances the meet atmosphere when they are in attendance.

Great day for the USAWA Grip Championships!  I would say this HAS to be one of the best grip champs that the USAWA has had.  I want to thank everyone who made the competition.

MEET RESULTS:

2014 USAWA Grip Championships
Saturday, February 8th, 2014
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas

Meet Director: Al Myers

Official (1-official system used): Al Myers

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Lifts: Dumbbell Walk, Deadlift-2 Fulton Dumbbells, Deadlift-One Arm, Deadlift-Middle Fingers

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT WALK DL-FDB DL-1 DL-MF TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 52 107 48-R 130 185-R 95 458 712.8

EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORD

Ruth Jackson: Deadlift-Middle Fingers 100#

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT WALK DL-FDB DL-1 DL-MF TOT PTS
Dan Wagman OP 184 103-L 270 303-L 236 912 854.6
LaVerne Myers 69 249 123-R 280 253-L 165 821 848.4
Dave Glasgow 60 259 98-R 290 308-R 187 883 832.8
Eric Todd 39 257 93-R 250 352-R 253 948 741.8
Keith Thompson 27 229 118-R 310 203-R 242 873 724.7
Scott Tully 38 333 108-R 322 341-R 231 1002 692.9
Dean Ross 71 269 63-R 210 162-R 165 600 605.7
Lance Foster 48 330 73-R 210 203-R 181 667 504.9
Mike Murdock 73 193 48-R 130 115-R 115 408 498.3

EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORD

Dan Wagman:  Deadlift-2 Fulton DBS 290#
Mike Murdock: Deadlift-Middle Fingers 132#

NOTES: BWT is bodyweight in pounds. AGE is age in years. All lifts recorded in pounds. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are adjusted points for age and bodyweight correction.

Heavy Lift Championships

by Al Myers

I’m excited to be hosting the 2014 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships.  This is my first opportunity to be able to host this long time prestigious event.  The Heavy Lift Championships are to recognize the best “heavy lifters” in the USAWA.  Three lifts have become the traditional format for this meet over the past few years – Neck Lift, Hand and Thigh, and the Hip Lift.   The meet will be held in the Dino Gym on the heavy lift platform – which is the part of the gym DEDICATED to the heavy lifts only.  The nice thing about that is there will be no weights to move for a setup as it’s all there in place, and no heavy cleanup required afterwards.  That will give everyone more time to just enjoy the meet and commit all energies to their lifting.

MEET DETAILS:

Meet Director: Al Myers

Meet Date: Saturday, May 3rd, 2014    9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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

Sanction: United States All-Round Weightlifting Association. Individual USAWA membership is required of each participant.

Weigh-ins:  8:00-9:00 AM the day of the meet. Lifting will start at 9:00 AM

Divisions: Junior, Senior, and Masters Age Groups

Awards: Championship Certificates

Entry Fee: None – but please notify me ahead of time if you plan to enter

Lifts:

Neck Lift

Hand and Thigh Lift

Hip Lift

Rules: USAWA General Rules and Scoring Apply.

This will be a DRUG TESTED event.

Registration: No Entry Form, but please contact me ahead of the meet if you plan to attend at amyers@usawa.com

Zercher Strength Classic

by Al Myers

Bill and Joe have made plans to host the annual Zercher Strength Classic at Clark’s Gym on March 29th.  The date is later this year than usual – which hopefully will help with the attendance.  The ”traditional day”   often fell on Super Bowl weekend which might hinder those passionate football fans from attending, and having it later will help avoid those nasty winter storms in Missouri.   This meet has a deep history in the USAWA, and could be said to be the meet that “started it all”.  Many great all rounders got their start by entering the Zercher.  It contains 13 hard all round lifts to be completed.  Bill stated in his letter to me that the meet will be a one day affair this year.  So get a good night’s sleep,  eat a energy rich breakfast, strap on those lifting shoes tight,  and come prepared for a full day of lifting!!!

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Zercher Strength Classic and Record Day

Meet Director: Bill Clark and Joe Garcia

Date: Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Venue: Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins: 8 – 9 AM

Start Time: 10 AM

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

Frank’s BBC Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Frank’s Barbell Club Championships

Meet Director: Frank Ciavattone

Meet Date: Saturday, March 15th

Location:

Frank’s Barbell Club

204 East Street, Walpole, MA 02032

Contact Frank if you plan to attend.

Year in Review

by Al Myers

Cover page for the 2013 USAWA Year in Review.

I’ve announced this in the USAWA Discussion Forum, but would like to as well in a blog so everyone is aware of the 2013 Year in Review.  I’ve compiled the entire year of 2013 in the USAWA (from all website stories) into a document for print.  I’m planning on taking it to the printers next week.  If anyone is interested in one of these “hard copies” please let me know so I can get a proper count for printing.  I only plan to do this once.  The price will be the cost of printing (I would guess around 50 dollars).  The book is over 400 pages long and contains all the website information from the past year – stories, meet results, etc.

If anyone would prefer just a digital copy of this – let me know and I’ll email it to you “free of charge”.

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

Joe the Turk OTSM

by Tim Piper

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT AND PRESS RELEASE

Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet

The Macomb Salvation Army will host the 2nd annual “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet on April 19th. “Joe the Turk” was Macomb Illinois’ original “strongman” and holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army. At the turn of the 20th century Joe the Turk was in Macomb for a short time helping clean up the town of crooked laymen and henchmen. He did so by being unafraid of their tactics and standing steadfast in his belief that good would prevail. While he only spent a short time in Macomb it seemed fitting to name the United States All-round Weightlifting Association (USAWA) sanctioned meet in his honor.

If the weather permits, the meet will be held outside. Being that the meet is slated for April in Illinois this may be a long shot but our outside meets are always fun. We have a fun list of OTSM lifts scheduled as well as an optional record setter slated for the meet. Our local lifters are excited about the meet and we hope to recruit as many as possible to become USAWA members. Since the Salvation Army gym is hosting the 2014 Nationals this should give us a good opportunity to get more of our local gym members involved in the USAWA.

The lifts include:
Cyr Press
Anderson Squat
Hackenschmidt Floor Press
Peoples Deadlift

We know we are quite a trip for many USAWA lifters but all are welcome. If anyone needs help with directions or hotel information feel free to contact me at the phone and address on the entry form.

ENTRY FORM:  Joe the Turk OTSM 2014

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

Group picture from the 2014 Dino Gym Challenge.

I was quite surprised by the turnout at this year’s Dino Gym Challenge.  On Saturday 8 brave lifters showed up to take on some of the favorite lifts of the famous old time strongman Warren Lincoln Travis.  I decided to have this meet in tribute to WLT – as he has always been one of my favorite old time strongmen.

The teeth lift was the first lift up – and as to the best of my knowledge has never been contested before in a USAWA competition (all USAWA records have been set at record days).  All of us had really no idea of what our capabilities were in this – but ET and myself ended up with the best lifts at 175 pounds.  I felt “maxed out” but ET has much more in him.  Doug Kressly took his third attempt at 95 pounds, and then a fourth record attempt at 155 pounds which he got! Dean Ross about lost a tooth. Larry Traub had the mouthpiece in backwards and cut up his chin with the connecting bolts.  Lance Foster was the smartest by saying “no can do”.

We then moved onto the finger lift with the middle finger using a ring.  It wasn’t really anyone’s favorite – but the lifting surprised me. Eric Todd had the best lift at 200 pounds, and Doug Kressly had a solid 180.   Several pulled skin off the favorite finger – with Dave Glasgow shedding the most blood. I thought I was going to have to get my hot iron to cauterize his wound for a while.

The Kennedy Lift was next on the agenda.  This is an exhibition lift (not an official USAWA lift) which follows the rules of the Peoples Deadlift except includes a straddle stance on the bar.  It was very well received.  I had the top lift at 750 pounds, followed by Larry’s 675. Young Logan Kressly was extremely impressive with his record attempt at 500 pounds. Everyone seemed to enjoy this lift, and by the positive response I got I’m going to propose it as a new OTSM lift.

Doug Kressly Harness lifting as Lance Foster waits his turn.

Now time for the BIG STUFF.  The Harness Lift and Back Lift were a couple of Travis’s favorites.  We started with the Harness.  It took a while to get everyone to figure out how to get the harness’s on, but once they did the lifting was outstanding!  I had the top harness at 2400.  Other impressive harness lifts were Doug’s at 1800, Larry at 1750, and Dave at 1200.  Lance gave an exceptional effort at 1605 to break a 20 year plus record held the one and only Tom Ryan who had held the record at 1600 from the 91 Zercher.  I told Lance I would make sure to tell Mr. Ryan that his harness lift record was no more.

The back lift very rarely gets the chance to be in meets (mainly because it requires a specialized machine!).  I had the top at 2200, followed by Doug at 2000.  However, the youngster Logan really impressed us the most with his 1600.  I told him he may be the best junior in the USAWA right now – and I expect him to be at Nationals to prove it! Dean Ross came into the day sporting a new pair of fire resistant lifting shoes  - and used them to good use to go over 1000 pounds in both the Harness and Back.  I don’t know of anyone else who has fire resistant lifting shoes, but then again, Ross the Boss tends to burn up the platform when he lifts!

I got to thank my dad LaVerne for “sitting in the chair” as head official all day.  He did a marvelous job and no one really gave him any crap.  He judged everyone very fairly, and didn’t give me any breaks either because I’m his sonny boy.  I was very impressed by the help the lifters provided in loading and putting stuff away afterwards.  We had a nice awards ceremony with each lifter getting a Dino Gym Tshirt and a hand made award by me featuring a metal cut-out of Warren Lincoln Travis.  It will be an award that will stand out in everyone’s trophy case (or should I say stand up?).  I know I had lots of fun at this meet – and like I commented on Facebook – “Days like today make me realize how much I like my USAWA family!”

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Challenge
Dino Gym
Holland, Kansas
January 18th, 2014

Meet Director: Al Myers

Official (1-official system used): LaVerne Myers

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Lifts: Teeth Lift, Finger Lift – Middle, Kennedy Lift, Harness Lift, Back Lift

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT Teeth Fing Kenn Harn Back TOT PTS
Al Myers 47 234 175 155 750 2400 2200 5680 5034.5
Larry Traub 60 206 95 170 675 1750 1300 3990 4242.3
Logan Kressly 15 166 95 95 450 1200 1500 3340 3831.4
Doug Kressly 34 286 95 180 550 1800 2000 4625 3433.6
Dave Glasgow 60 260 105 160 525 1200 950 2940 2763.7
Dean Ross 71 267 75 125 400 1010 1050 2660 2695.2
Lance Foster 48 330 0 155 500 1605 850 3110 2353.9
Eric Todd 39 260 175 200 500 1010 1050 2935 2282.8

EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORD:

Logan Kressly: Teeth Lift 115#
Logan Kressly: Middle Finger Lift 105#
Logan Kressly: Kennedy Lift 500#
Logan Kressly: Harness Lift 1300#
Logan Kressly: Back Lift 1600#
Doug Kressly: Teeth Lift 155#
Lance Foster: Middle Finger Lift 170#

NOTES:  All lifts recorded in pounds. BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All Middle Finger Lifts done with right hand. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are overall adjusted points for age and bodyweight correction.

Postal Championships

by Al Myers

The results of the 2013 USAWA Postal Championships are in!!!  It’s been another good year of postal meets within the USAWA, with 11 lifters taking part in our postal meet grand finale.  The big winners in the Postal Championships are WOMEN – RUTH JACKSON and MEN – DAN WAGMAN.  Congrats to both of these exceptionally lifters for their big victories.  On top of their lifting talents, both Ruth and Dan are great representatives of the USAWA.

I want to mention some of the top lifts and other “stats”.  The biggest weight lifted in the one arm clean and jerk was 140 pounds by Chad Ullom and myself.  Chad had the heaviest dumbbell cheat curl at 210 pounds, and my 550 pound heels together deadlift was the heaviest lifted. Denny Habecker was the oldest lifter entered at 71 years of age, and Eric Todd was the youngest at 38.  Ruth was the lightest lifter entered at 107 pounds, and Lance Foster the heaviest at 330 pounds.

I especially want to thank John Wilmot in his “send off” meet as the USAWA Postal Director.  This position will be taken over by Denny Habecker for 2014.  John wrote me a short letter when sending me the results.  In it he said, “With Denny Habecker as the new Postal Meet Director the postal meets are in very good hands!”  I agree – and I am looking forward to another great year of postal meets in the USAWA.

MEET RESULTS

2013 USAWA Postal Championships
December 31st, 2013

Meet Director: John Wilmot

Lifts: Clean and Jerk – One Arm, Cheat Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Deadlift – Heels Together

Lifters with Certified Officials:
Barry Bryan – Certified Official Denny Habecker
Denny Habecker – Certified Official Barry Bryan
Al Myers – Certified Official Chad Ullom
Chad Ullom – Certified Official Al Myers
Eric Todd – Certified Official Lance Foster
Lance Foster -  Certified Official Eric Todd

Lifters with non-official judges:
Ruth Jackson – Judge Dan Wagman
Dan Wagman – Judge Ruth Jackson
Samuel Rogers – Judge Orie Barnett
John Wilmot – Judge Emile LeMoigne
Orie Barnett – Judge Samuel Rogers

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT C&J CURL DL TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 52 107 52-L 80 195 327 506.2

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT C&J CURL DL TOT PTS
Dan Wagman 50 183 115-L 180 505 800 833.3
Al Myers 47 236 140-R 170 550 860 758.9
Barry Bryan 55 196 121-R 150 402 673 706.1
Chad Ullom 42 257 140-R 210 500 850 685.1
Orie Barnett 52 236 85 160 425 670 618.6
Samuel Rogers 51 210 85 140 397 622 605.7
Eric Todd 38 256 131 180 400 711 557.6
John Wilmot 66 214 55-R 100 345 500 546.5
Denny Habecker 71 193 72-R 92 286 450 541.7
Lance Foster 48 330 75 150 350 575 445.6

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All lifts recorded in pounds. R & L stand for right and left. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are overall points adjusted for age and bodyweight.

OTSM Wrap Up for 2013

by Thom Van Vleck

Mike McIntyre, of the Jackson Weightlifting Club, lifts 315 pounds in the Anderson Press at the 2013 USAWA Old Time Strong Man Championships.

2013 was a great year for Old Time Strong Man (OTSM) in the USAWA.  We saw four meets and 38 total lifters.  Here are some highlights:

Eric Todd won two of the meets while Chad Ullom and Dan Wagman won one apiece.

Two of the meets included women lifters with Ruth Jackson and Whitney Piper being crowned as Champs.

As we look to grow in 2013 I hope that we can expand on the lifts we have.  It’s not as easy as you might think to come up with a lift for the OTSM.  First, it must be a lift or variation of a lift done by a great lifter of the past.  Second, it must not duplicate a lift already in the USAWA.  Finally, it must be a “loadable weight” event (you must be able to increase or decrease the weight so that attempts can be increased).  So, do some research and submit a lift to me or Al Myers and maybe you can lay claim to adding an event to OTSM someday.

Please consider hosting, competing in or attending an event.  If you like lifting, and like Strongman….then OTSM combines the best of both worlds.  The rules are flexible, making events easier to judge and easier for spectators to follow.  It is also easier for newcomers to catch on to the events and not find themselves losing a lift to a technicality.

1st Quarter Postal Meet

by Al Myers

There has been a big change this year in our USAWA Postal Meet Series.  John Wilmot has “stepped down” as the Postal Meet Director after many years of doing an excellent job in this capacity.  Our USAWA Postal Meets have become a BIG PART of the yearly USAWA schedule, with quarterly meets culminating in the final Postal Meet Championships in December.  Many USAWA lifters have taken part in some or all of these postal meets.  It has become a great tradition for the USAWA – with thanks going to John Wilmot for starting this tradition.

I was initially  concerned about the future of these events with John’s resignation.  But then – lo and behold – our USAWA President Denny Habecker agreed to taking the position of Postal Meet Director.  Denny has a long resume of being a very successful meet promoter, and this position is in no better hands than Denny’s.  I feel confidant that the future of the USAWA Postal Meets will be strong as long as Denny is in the position.

The first quarterly Postal Meet has been announced for the year.  The format will remain the same as before – with three lifts chosen per meet.  There are two single arm lifts in this meet – and you only need to do the lift the arm of your choosing.  Make sure to circle which arm you use on the entry form.

Also, the big difference is to remember to send your results to Denny from now on instead of John.

LIFTS:

Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm

Deadlift – No Thumbs, One Arm

Deadlift – 2 Bars

ENTRY FORM: 2014 1st Quarter Postal Entry Form

Art’s Birthday Bash

by Al Myers

2014 is barely underway and in the mail today I received a sanction request from Art Montini announcing his 2014 Annual Birthday Bash!  Art’s Birthday Bash is the longest running sanctioned event in the USAWA (besides our Nationals).  Last year Art celebrated his 86th birthday and he’s already in training for year number 87. He likes to celebrate his birthday every year by hosting a record day in conjunction with it!  So come prepared to break a few records and share a little birthday cake with Art (or donuts, as we all know Art likes his donuts!).

I should mention that this meet is still over 10 months away!!  That’s giving some advance notice.  There are those in the organization who should “take note” of Art’s punctuality in getting his sanction request in this early, and realize that if someone ”pushing 90″ doesn’t have a problem meeting the ”6 week notice” they sure don’t have an excuse.

MEET DETAILS:

Art’s Birthday Bash
Ambridge VFW BBC
1098 Duss Avenue
Ambridge, PA 15003

DATE:  Sunday, October 12th, 2014

LIFTS: Record Day (max 5 lifts)

ENTRY FORM: 2014 Arts Birthday Bash Entry Form

Da Rules

by Thom Van Vleck

Let’s start off the new year right with some controversy!  I don’t think it’s controversial but I imagine some will.

When my kids were younger they liked to watch a kids’ show called the “Fairly Odd Parents” which was a play off of “Fairy God Parents”.  In the show a boy had two fairy god parents that would help him out in various situations.  The show often centered around him getting himself into trouble then wishing his way out of it.  However, if he could simply wish his way out, then that wouldn’t be much of a show.  There were rules he had to follow.  In the show there was a book called “Da Rules” and it would inevitable appear whenever he would try and make a wish that would easily end the whole show in the first couple of minutes, but then having to follow the rules would lead to a full half hour of hilarity.  The rules were enforced by the leader of the god parents.  Namely, Jorgen von Strangle who was built like Arnold Swarzenegger and suspiciously had an Austrian accent.  Jorgen enforced the rules like a German SS storm trooper and because of this was often the primary protagonist in most every episode due to his inability to bend the rules to any given situation.

Let me set up my “street cred” (what qualifies me as an “expert”….I know…BIG DEAL.  But I do what people to understand my history and that this is based on decades of experience and observations.  My family has lifted in Bill Clark run “odd lift meets” since the 50’s and I lifted in my first odd lift meet in 1979.  I am also a Level 2 Lifetime certified official in the USAWA.  I passed my test on the first try (and that’s a HARD test!).  I have judged in the required 25 competitions to achieve the Level 2 status.  I got Clark’s newsletter for decades and even had a bunch for the 60’s that I gave to Al to complete his collection.  I have followed this for a LONG TIME.

So, get to the point, you may ask!  Well, here’s my thoughts.  There have been times where I have sat around with guys and discussed the membership of the USAWA.  You would think it would be a big deal!  It seems perfect for many lifters that don’t have the leverages to be a great Olympic lifter or pure strength to be a great Powerlifter.  I know over the years it has amazed me how you can take a guy that is mediocre in lifting but he (or she) will have this one lift (or two) that they are flat out AMAZING at.  So why don’t we have people flocking to the sport.  I think I know why.

Da Rules.

I know we need rules.  There needs to be structure.  But when does the structure become a road block?  We try and create a system that is objective, but because humans are involved it’s doomed to always be subjective no matter what we do.

Some years ago I took my brother to watch his first Olympic lifting meet.  Art Tarwater was the head judge.  He’s been Olympic lifting and judging meets for over 50 years.   A great friend of lifting and a great lifter.  He’s also a stickler for  the rules.  If you get a lift when he’s judging, you did it according to the rules and that’s no joke.  He KNOWS every infraction.  So, my brother is watching this meet and about 50% of the lifts that were completed were turned down.  Press outs, catching the clean below the clavicals, elbow touch to the knee….on and on.  My brother kept asking what was wrong with this lift or that.  At one point Tarwater told the lifter to put the weight down as he has made an infraction on the clean and not to bother on the jerk.  My brother (who is almost a dozen years younger than me and this is important as I think he represents the mind set of a younger generation) finally made the comment “THIS IS STUPID…..THOSE ARE GOOD LIFTS”.

Now, let’s get into the meat of my point.  There are times when rules are enforced properly and then times when they are NOT.  There are many reasons for this but here is one I’ve seen repeatedly in the USAWA (and might get me in trouble with some guys).  First, let me say I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in over 20 years (more than I can say for Al Myers).  Is it because I don’t speed?  Heck no!  I speed all the time.  I get pulled over, too.  But I get warnings.  My daughter, who is 16, got pulled over the other day….she got a ticket.  I bet you dollars to doughnuts (pun intended) that cops give younger people less warnings and more tickets than older guys.  Why?  Because they want them to learn a lesson.  I see that same thing with judges in our sport….in all lifting sports and event he Highland Games.  Heck, even in the Pro sports the old veteran gets the calls against the rookie every time!

I think we, as judges, have good intentions when we red light certain infractions.  But what I think has happened is younger guys come in and do a meet or two and leave with a bad taste in their mouth and that stop coming.  Then we are left with this core group that never grows and we are slowly aging ourselves out of existence.  I would also say there has been a time or two I have wondered if the intentions WEREN’T good and the judge WANTED to run off the lifter.  Yes, I said it and I stand by that statement.  We are all human.

So let me end with this.  I would challenge the members of the USAWA to encourage some young lifters to get into the sport and I would ask you to challenge yourself as a judge to look at these guys and know that they are learning and if an infraction did not help them in completing the lift then warn them before red lighting them (and I understand that’s not “Da Rules”….but a judge by definition forms an opinion or conclusion about “if” something fits the law…..otherwise we would be called “Police” who ENFORCE the law).  An example would be dropping the weight after the conclusion of the lift.  For many lifters this is part of lifting.  They just don’t know and need to learn.  Police officers give a ticket for the infraction, a judge forms an opinion and comes to a conclusion as to what the intent of the law was and if the event fit that intent or if the event intended to subvert the law.

Otherwise, we appear rigid and controlling and who wants to be a part of that.  I can tell you the younger generation does not.  They see Jorgen von Strangle as the enemy.

Top Lifts of 2013

by Al Myers

Art proudly displaying his homemade Teeth Bit!

Today welcomes in a New Year, and  with it comes the excitement of another very promising year in the USAWA.   2013 had to be one of the best EVER in the history of the USAWA.  There were many great competitions and great individual performances.  Of the 22 official competitions that occurred in 2013 in the USAWA, I was a participant or attended 18 of them!

As I’m sitting here sipping a cup of coffee in the early morning hours of 2014 (my internal clock would not allow me to sleep in!), I’m reflecting on some of the fantastic lifts I was able to witness “first hand” in the USAWA in 2013.  It didn’t take me long to come up with a list of over 20, but I’m gonna narrow the list today to the TOP TEN lifts that impressed me the most. I want to reiterate  that this is MY LIST of the lifts that I was able to watch, and only reflects my viewpoints.  Many, many others were extremely impressive that did not make the list. A few individual lifters had multiple lifts that impressed me, but I’m only including THE ONE that impressed me the most by an individual lifter.  It took me three times as long to come up with my list as it did to write this blog!  Here it goes – counting down from number ten:

10. Lance Foster and his 575# Dinnie Lift at the OTSM Championships

This had to be one of the most tenacious lifts of the year.  Lance struggled at the Battle of the Barn with the Dinnie Lift, but came back a month or so later to up his performance by 75 pounds! If the USAWA offered a TRUE GRIT AWARD Lance would win it.

9.  Jera Kressly and Logan Kressly 600# heels together deadlift at the Team Championships.

Jera and Logan did this mixed pair (man/woman) lift quite easily at the Team Champs.  I should mention that Logan was only 15 at the time!  That’s a big deadlift for any mixed pair with a normal stance – let alone having the heels together!

8.  James Fuller and his 60 KG Bent Press at the Gold Cup.

James has been on a mission to mastering the Bent Press this year.  The Bent Press is one of the MOST old and obscure lifts of all round lifting.  Very few even know how to go about doing one.  I first saw James bent pressing Frank’s axle at the Heavies, with was extremely cumbersome to handle.  I was going to include that effort instead of this one for James, but his Gold Cup lift really deserves it more as it was done in a big competition.  It won’t be long before James puts up the highest Bent Press record of All Time in the USAWA.

7.  Joe Ciavattone Sr. and his 805# Neck Lift at the Heavy Lift Championships.

This HAD to make my list.  Joe is one of the best neck lifters in USAWA history, and held the overall record for many years.  To come back and hit a personal record now several years later shows true ability.  I was glad to be able to witness his lift (as I had not seen his previous record lift).

6.  Troy Goetsch and his 260# one handed Vertical Bar Lift at the Grip Championships.

I’ve seen many great VB lifts in the past, but Troy’s is one of the best.  Troy won the overall lifter at the Grip Champs, and his VB was the lift that I will remember from him on that day.

5.  Frank Ciavattone and his 202.5 KG Ciavattone Grip Deadlift at Nationals.

Frank still has some great lifting in him, as shown with this big lift at our National Championships which is named after him.  I never get tired of watching Frank do Ciavattone Grip Deadlifts – and this is one I’ll never forget.

4.  Dan Wagman and his 120# Pullup at the Dino Gym Record Day.

YES – that’s 120 pounds strapped to the waist and then performing a pullup with the chin OVER the bar with no kipping!!! And hold for a down command!  Not too many around could even come close to this performance of Dan’s.  I’ve seen a lot of great lifting out of Dan and often what he does does not surprise me – but this pullup did!

3.  Joe Ciavattone Jr. and the 1400# Hand and Thigh Lift at the Heavy Lift Championships.

Junior doesn’t realize yet that he will be a future superstar of the USAWA, but I see it.  His untapped strength is unreal, and this big H&T proves it.  He just finished with a 1200 at the meet,  I gave him a couple of tips between lifts, and then he adds 200 pounds and gets it easily!  Impressive to say the least…

2.  Eric Todd and this 1000# Neck Lift at the Battle of the Barn II.

ET has put up 1000 pound Neck Lifts before several times – but this one was done with rules beyond those of the USAWA.   He cleared the floor substantially, and then HELD the lift for over 2 full seconds recorded on a stop watch.  I’m still shaking my head after seeing that effort!

1.  Art Montini and his 107# Teeth Lift at the Presidential Cup.

All I can say is that I still don’t know how he did this!  Art is 85 years old and has FALSE TEETH.  This lift won him the Presidential Cup of the USAWA for the year, and I would say deserving of the lift that impressed me the most!  Art has been one of the most active lifters in the USAWA this year – attending most of the championship events, attending the “Big Three” (Nationals, Worlds, and the Gold Cup), and still involved with promoting his annual Birthday Bash.  He has a deeper resume than anyone in the history of the USAWA, and I’m glad to name Art’s lift as the most impressive lift of 2013.  Congrats Art!!

Black Angus MacAskill

by Thom Van Vleck

Angus MacAskill with a normal sized man.

I enjoyed hearing stories when I was a kid.  You know…good, old fashioned story telling.  Television was around, but with one channel the viewing was limited and since we live in a very rural area story telling in my family was a huge form of entertainment.   My grandfather was the king of story telling….he had a great voice and a knack for painting a picture in your mind of not only words being said, but sights and even smells!  He had been a fan of strongmen and wrestlers and I got to hear many stories about them.  One in particular became a favorite.  That is the story of Black Angus MacAskill.

Angus MasAskill was a giant but a special kind of giant.  The Guinness Book of Records lists him as the largest “natural” giant of all time.  He had normal proportions and no growth abnormalities.  He may have been simply the biggest human being that has ever lived that achieved that size simply through nature and not the result of a disease process.  At his peak he stood 7′9″ tall and weighed 500lbs.  His palm was 8″ wide and his feet were 16″ long and 8″ wide.  He also had a chest that measure 80″ around and shoulders that were 44″ across. Yet, if you saw him in a photo with no point of reference he looked like a “normal” sized man!

Something else made him special.  He had great strength.  He would often take on feats of strength but only if money were put on it.  Some of the feats credited to him (as with all past feats, some questions may arise as to the authenticity so I leave it to the reader to judge for themselves) are as follows:

1. Shouldering a 2,800lb ships anchor (some speculate it was set up where he simply had to do what amounts to a partial lift).

2. Carry two 350lb barrels, one under each arm.

3. Hold a hunderdweight (112lbs) with two fingers at arms length for 10 minutes.

4. Life a full grown horse over a 4ft tall fence.

5.  Set a 40ft tall mast single handed into a schooner.

6.  Carried a sick man over his shoulder for 25 miles in a blizzard to a doctor without once setting him down.

7.  Once was pulling a boat onto a beach and tore the boat in half.

Angus had many nicknames.  He was “Black Angus”, “Mount Kaskill”, the Cape Breton Giant.  He was from Cape Breton Island which was part of Nova Scotia but he was born on the Island of Berneray in the Outer Hebrides Islands of Scotland.  It is a only about 4 square miles with barely over 100 people.  It is about as barren and wind swept of an island as you could imagine.  No wonder his father took him and his family to Nova Scotia!  They settled near Englishtown in St. Ann’s Harbor which is also a very remote location.  Later, many of the group that traveled with Angus’ family moved on to settle in New Zealand.

So Angus’ family had moved from a treeless windswept island to a land that had huge trees covering nearly every square inch so they quickly became lumberjacks.  This was hard work and the MacAskill’s were all know for their strength, but not necessarily their great size.  Angus was the exception in size.  So we know he grew up doing back breaking, hard labor.

The story goes that Angus did not become exceptionally large until he was 12.  He then grew quickly and gained the nickname Gille Mor which is Gaelic for “Big Boy”.  While he was tremendously strong, he was at first clumsy.  At 14 he traveled to Sydney, the largest town in the area, about 40 miles away by boat.  He had never been to such a place and they all put in at a local tavern that had music and dancing.  A local man was dancing and seemed to step on Angus’ large foot while he was sitting watching.  Everyone laughed but Angus did nothing.  This happened a second time and as good natured as Angus was, he still did nothing.  But the third time proved the charm and Angus stood up and hit the fellow so hard he was at first thought dead!  The ship’s captain found Angus hiding on the ship praying that the man was not dead.

There was a point where Angus’ father raised the rafters in his home to allow Angus to walk around upright.  His father also built him a special, long bed.  His father made his sons all work very hard and had a saying that Angus took to heart.  ”What’s worth doing at all is worth doing well”.  While Angus grew up in a very strict Christian environment he also enjoyed making side bets on who could finish a hard job (which he often won) and getting together for a “Ceilidh” or party where bagpipes and fiddles were played and songs were sung with wine, rum, and whisky being shared!

Angus loved his home and most enjoyed fishing along in a rowboat in the bay were he could look at the wooded hills and farms.  No doubt that is the reason that he returned there after traveling all over the world later with the circus.  It is also interesting that the world may have never heard of Angus MacAskill because he loved his life and home and was reluctant to leave it.  But a hard winter led to very hard times and he succumbed to and offer to travel as a giant.  He was promised good money and it was a way to help his family.

There are many tales of him being on tour and doing feats of strength.  One of my favorites was he entered a tavern and picked up a 140 gallon “puncheon”  or barrel of scotch whiskey.  He struck the top with his fist causing the bung or cork to fly out.  He then picked up the barrel and drank from it while toasting the other patrons!  Another was he was on a train when a robbery was attempted.  When he stood up the robbers fled the train without any loot!

Angus often dressed in “Highland Costume” while on tour. He toured all over the world but often hated the heat of the warmer climates.  There is a story that he once met Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.  Upon being presented with two gold rings by the Queen, he stomped his foot on the carpet to show his strength and left permanent marks with his boot heels.  It was there that Angus supposedly held William Wallace’s sword in his hand at arms length being one of the few to accomplish this feat.

Angus made two world tours that often lasted years.  His first return was a happy one with many of the same people still living in the area.  But his final return found half the population gone.  The timber market had slumped and growing crops or livestock was tough in that climate.  But nonetheless, Angus retired to his home operating a store and mill with his friends and family close by.  The story goes he was a good business man and disliked credit, but never turned away someone in need and was very generous to the local Church.  He died at the age of 38 and was a friend and hero to all in his homeland.  A legendary giant!

Perfect Powerful Pulls

by John McKean

Little known Pennsylvania lifter Jim Dorn of the 1963 era pressing 300 pounds!

Audience chanting called a halt to the proceedings at the 1963 Senior National Weightlifting Championships. No, not due to a poor judging decision, nor a new record lift. Rather the mere appearance of a little known 181 pound wonder named Jim Dorn created this immediate stir. The uninformed in the crowd assumed him to be a bodybuilder, rather than the dedicated olympic lifting stylist that he was, yet everyone demanded to see him flex his wing like lats! Heck, even the normally gruff, stoic John Terpak later wrote that Dorn had “unquestionably the broadest back in the world for his height and weight”! Fortunately the MC of the evening was Bob Hoffman, who was more than happy to promote one of his York team members, and to plug his top selling power racks (on which Dorn trained exclusively)! Of course the packed auditorium went berserk when the 5′7″ phenomenon flexed those lats, seeming wider than he was tall.

What an all-rounder Jim would have made! In addition to a 315 pound press, 285 pound snatch, and a North American Championship title (among others), Dorn performed a 275 pound cheat curl (205 strict), a 670 pound parallel squat (with hands on thighs), and a 405 pound jerk off the rack. And when pushed into it by Coach Hoffman, later took the Mr. Pennsylvania crown. Hard to believe that this type of power and physique were built primarily with mostly single holds inside a power rack, using 8 key partial lifts!

As indicated in an early 60s Strength & Health story, Jim’s usual home training featured only these power rack holds and ONE SET OF ONE format: top press 520 X 1, eye level press 360 X 1, chin level press 520 X 1,quarter squat 1000 X 6, middle pull 420 X1, front squat (from bottom up) 390 X 3, deadlift (just off floor for the start) with shrug 670 X 1, and bench press (starting from a rack pin 4″ above chest) 470 X1. On each of the single rack holds, he held either just off starting pins, into a slightly higher rack pin, or maintaining a support (as in the top press and quarter squat) for 10 SECONDS. Oh yeah, he finished each session with a set of 6 in a slow stretching type of chin behind the neck. However, I’m convinced that it was his pulling HOLDS over that TIME, that created his awesome pulling power and super wide upper back!

I’ve written previously, of course, of the value of slightly moving isometrics & holds, but wish to put forth some pulling experiments I’ve been doing for a while that just may make this treacherous exercise a bit more user friendly! After all, none of us in the all-round bunch are getting any younger, and these heavy duty holds are nasty to one’s blood pressure! But, though mostly forgotten, we should strive to discover how to make such miraculous, short & concentrated rack routines work for us. We may never get the world record pulls and back structure of Bill March, Lou Riecke, or Serge Redding. In case you don’t know Serge, he used mostly standard olympic lift training, tho included one special pull iso — musta worked because at 5′8″ and up to 308# bwt, he did an official 502 pound WR press, a 401 snatch, and measured 65″ around the shoulders!! More on him in another story!! However, using TIME in holding a row, continental from thigh level, snatch grip pulls, etc., could mean a whole bunch of ‘Rounder records!

Now, what I’ve found, old gomer that I’m becoming (68 last Sunday! and his wife who is proofing this reminded him that he’s well into full bloom gomerhood!), is that I don’t need to explode head veins from a 10 to 12 second hold as twenty-something Dorn & March were doing. Instead, I separate my rack lifts into 2 sets of 2, with each hold into a slightly higher rack pin, lasting only 3 seconds. I still get in the all-important HOLD of 12 seconds, but have not come even close to passing out as I did in the old days (so that’s what happened to him y’all are saying!)! For instance, I’ll get a pretty hefty poundage on the strict row, pull to a pin 4″ above and hold for 3 seconds, lower and pull/hold for another 3 seconds, then rest for a few minutes and do the second set. By the way, if you don’t have access to a power rack, this same performance can be achieved with chains & “S” hooks over the bar to secure various pull positions, or even rig up a thick rubber bungee around one’s barbell!

It must be working – my poundages are going up, even at an age where gains should NOT be achieved, and the all-round pulling lifts are feeling much easier! I’m even noting a big increase in wideness these days – though I expect this is mostly from Marilyn’s fresh stacks of Christmas cookies, rather than extra muscle on the upper back!

Wayne Jackson: Chasing Strength

by Thom Van Vleck

Wayne Jackson is my Uncle.  But he has been much more than that.  He inspired me to lift weights, he was a father figure to me, a training partner, and most of all, a friend.  Wayne, along with his brother Phil, revived the Jackson Weightlifting Club in 1957.  While the club grew to over two dozen members and fielded teams that won the Missouri State team title in Olympic lifting two times and several Missouri State Champions…Wayne was our most successful lifter.  Wayne won the Teenage Nationals and 4 Missouri State Championships in Olympic Lifting and one title in Powerlifting.  He was simultaneously the Missouri State Champ in Olympic lifting and Powerlifting in 1971!  Wayne also has the claim to fame of holding the Missouri State record in the Clean and Press.  That event was dropped in 1972 and as a result it can never be broken!  His best was 365lbs.

Wayne is a jovial, gentle giant.   I have called him “Staggo” for over 30 years in reference to Dutch World’s Strongest Man competitor Staggo Piszko who was  one of the biggest WSM competitors ever.  My dad always referred to Wayne as “Big’un”.  His arms were well over 20 inches and his chest was over 60 inches at around 5′10″ in height.  He made an impression with just his size.  But if you were ever around him much you would soon realize that he would never hurt a fly.  He was always interested in what you were lifting and you almost had to pry out of him his best lifts.  He was always very modest and often would even minimize his best lifts….I’ve not met many lifters that do that!

Wayne had a long time lifting rivalry with Wilbur Miller.  Now I specify “lifting” because otherwise they were the best of friends.  As a matter of fact I traveled with Wayne to an “Odd lift” meet held at Sailor’s Gym in Wichita in 1984 so that Wayne could reunite with Wilbur.  I would point out that Wayne never lost to Wilbur in the Clean and Press even though Wayne was never able to beat Wilbur in the total.  A couple years back Wilbur told me that he always wanted to beat Wayne on the press but that Wayne was “just too good at it”.

I have many stories I could tell about Wayne and I have written about him before in MILO.  But here is one that gives some insight into Wayne’s attitude about lifting.  I was a teenager and not showing much prospect at winning any gold medals.  I was thinking about giving up on lifting.  I had read a story where the author had stated you needed talent to be a truly great lifter.  I asked Wayne about it and matter of factly he said, “I just always figured a guy could be as strong as he wanted to be if he were willing to work hard enough”.  While some could challenge how true that statement is, it’s more of an attitude.  After that, I didn’t worry about what I didn’t have, I just kept working hard and didn’t worry about what talent I had or didn’t have.  All I could really control was how hard I worked.

Wayne loved lifting.  Some guys lift as a means to an end.  Wayne just loved lifting.  He lifted often and he trained very hard….often with no contest as a goal.  He would set lifting goals then break them and move on to the next goal.  He “chased strength” his entire life!  We lifted in a couple early odd lift meets that Bill Clark held and I had to almost beg him to compete.  But when he did he made some great lifts.  He did a super strict 280lb seated press (his training best was 330 but he had trouble adjusting to keeping his feet flat on the floor….I once saw him seated press 300lbs for 8 sets of 3 reps!), a heels together 300 pound press, a 300 pound reverse grip clean and press to name a few).  I saw him hang clean 400lbs (with straps) and on another occasion jerk 400lbs.  This was in his mid 30’s.

I could write volumes on Wayne, but wanted to give him some of the recognition I felt he deserved.  He lifted with Bill Clark and in Clark’s meets more times than I could count and was friends with many of the early USAWA members.  I had always hoped he would make a comeback but so far that has not come to pass.  He still trains and still loves to talk training and lifting.  It was his way of life!