(Webmasters note: This is a reprint of the meet report covering the Heart of America Festival that occurred in August 1963 as published by the oldtime lifting magazine, the Lifting News. Dale Friesz passed this along to me to share, which characterizes one of the early-days All-Round Weightlifting Meets. Dale’s brother, Leonard, is included in the results as he was a member of the Columbia Athletic Club at the time. Our very own Bill Clark served as Meet Director, Head Judge, and Meet Reporter. He also competed! Past meets such as these are the reason why Bill organized All-Round Weightlifting into the USAWA. You will recognize several of the “meet stars” as they are legends in All-Round Weightlifting today. The meet was a two day affair, so I will divide the story into two parts, one covering each day. Enjoy!)
by Bill Clark
Wilbur Miller, the Cimarron Strongman, and Paul Wachholz, an outstanding athlete from Englewood, Colorado, waged a duel in the Heart of America Power Festival, August 3-4 in Columbia, Missouri, which brought nostalgia to the hearts of the old timers in the crowd and may have established an all-time record for weight hoisted in a two-day period. The Power Festival, in its third year, is sponsored by the Columbia Athletic Club, Inc., and is a fun meet all the way. Many lifts, pets of various lifters, are contested and except for eight established events, the meet follows only a vague pattern. Often more than one contest is under way at the same time. Last year Homer Lewellen, a mid-heavy from the host club, lifted in 34 different events and totaled well over 15,000 pounds during the two-day session.
This year, however, the number of events was cut down by the tremendous interest in the Miller-Wachholz battle. There are two sets of trophy lifts in the meet. On the first day, a Saturday, the contest is the jerk from the rack, squat, and dead lift. The entire meet is on a bodyweight formula basis because never more than 15 hardy souls enter. Medals are given for each lift and trophies back five places overall. Leonard Friesz won the jerk from the rack with a 350 jerk at a bodyweight of 198. Miller was close behind with 370 and Wachholz was third with 320.
Meet Director: Bill Clark
Officials: Bill Clark, Don Wickell, Ed Zercher
Friesz, an army captain stationed in Columbia, stayed in the running with a 445 squat, but Miller made 530 to grab the lead and Wachholz came up with 455. In the dead lift, Wachholz shot ahead of Friesz with a great 585 effort and a near miss with 600. Miller opened with 600, a weight he does five reps with, then jumped to 675. He held the listed world amateur heavyweight record at 672 1/2 and made the 675 so easily that 700 or more seemed quite possible. Miller is a perfect deadlifter. The weight never touches his thighs as it goes up. His shoulders are back before weight and thighs get together. The 700 broke loose twice and went easily to the knees but Wilbur couldn’t get his shoulders back after such a fine effort and the lifts were no good. He vowed that he would make 700 in Leavenworth in September.
Miller thus won the first day’s trophy event with a 1575 total and 1014.3 points. His dead lift was a world mark and his lifts and total were all Missouri Valley records. Wachholz made a 1360 total and established himself as a strong young man. He strengthened this fact considerably the following day.
COMING TOMORROW – DAY 2 OF THE HEART OF AMERICA FESTIVAL