Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Members of the Dino Gym that were present at the 2014 Nationals to recieve the Club of the Year Award, (left to right): Al Myers, Dean Ross, Chad Ullom. The award was presented by Mike Murdock (right).

At the USAWA National Championships this summer, the USAWA awarded a Club of the Year for the past year.  I am extremely proud of the members of my Dino Gym for winning the award!  It takes an entire club’s involvement and participation to win this award in our organization.  Runner up went to Habecker’s Gym, ran by the USAWA President Denny Habecker.  These awards were presented by members of last year’s Club of the Year, the Ledaig HA.  Mike Murdock and Logan Kressly had the honors of presenting the awards on behalf of the Ledaig Club.

CLUB OF THE YEAR – DINO GYM

RUNNER CLUB – HABECKER’S GYM

Logan Kressly (left) presenting the Runner Up Club of the Year Award to Denny Habecker (right).

Leadership Awards

by Al Myers

Tim Piper (left) presenting the Leadership Award to Denny Habecker.

Tim Piper (left) presenting the Runner Up Leadership Award to Thom Van Vleck.

The Leadership Award in the USAWA goes to an individual “that has shown exceptional leadership qualities within the USAWA during the past year.  Things that should be looked at are going above the level expected of an Officer position, promoting sanctioned events with emphasis being on promoting National or World Competitions, promoting the USAWA by developing a strong club, writing articles for publications about the USAWA, or through other means.”

The two winner of this award, and very deserving of it, were:

WINNER – DENNY HABECKER

RUNNER UP – THOM VAN VLECK

Both Denny and Thom were on hand to receive their awards at our National Meet Ceremony.  But then you would expect that out of them as they are leaders in the organization.  Their inputs at our National Championships was vital.  Thom served as the Head Official of the entire meet and did not compete because he would rather “give” than “take”.  Thom’s contributions of writing for the USAWA Website on a frequent basis has helped ensure it’s success.

Denny has been our USAWA President for many years now.  He is the ultimate leader of the USAWA.  He attends practically every big event promoted within the USAWA and the IAWA.  If a lifter does not know Denny it is because they are not very involved!  Denny attends meets all across the country and interacts with the entire USAWA membership.  At Nationals he sat in the officials chair WHILE he was lifting just because that duty needed attended to.   I think Denny is the best President the USAWA has ever had.

I’m glad to see the USAWA membership recognize these two for their contributions to the organization. They have earned it!

Courage Award Winners

by Al Myers

(Left Picture): Tim Piper presenting the Courage Award to Art Montini. (Right Picture): Tim Piper presenting the Courage Award to Dean Ross.

The Courage Award is described as, “This goes to an individual who shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition. This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues, but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA”.

Since the USAWA Award Program began, NO ONE has been the winner of this award besides Dale Friesz.  Dale was the definition of courage, competing up till his final days.  He set a standard for lifting courage that will be hard for anyone to duplicate.  I often think of this award now as the Dale Frieze Courage Award.

However, there’s another lifter in the USAWA who has plenty of courage as well, and after being last year’s runner up, repeated this year as runner up in the Courage Award by the others in the USAWA this year.  That man – who defies the myths of age and weightlifting – is ART MONTINI.

RUNNER UP - ART MONTINI

WINNER  - DEAN ROSS

Dean “Hot Foot” Ross was the Winner, and well deserving.  His input to the USAWA over these past few years exceeds what most can accomplish in a lifetime of participation in the USAWA.  You don’t attend a meet that Dean is at without getting to know him! Everyone knows Dean.

Congrats to Art and Dean for being the winners of the USAWA Courage Award!

Newcomer Award Winners

by Al Myers

Logan Kressly (right) receiving his USAWA Newcomer Award from 2014 USAWA Meet Promoter Tim Piper (left) at the National Championships.

I always enjoy the USAWA Annual Awards presentation. This program to recognize outstanding accomplishments was started in 2010. The program is funded by the USAWA bank account, and all award winners are chosen by the membership. This means if you win one of these awards – it is because your peers deemed you worthy. That means much more than one individual making the choices, or a selection committee deciding.

The first award given out was the Newcomer Award. This award is defined as, “This award goes to an individual who is new to the USAWA or has become involved again in the organization. It recognizes a lifter who has shown great involvement or outstanding performance throughout the past year. it doesn’t have to be someone in their first year involved in the USAWA. “

Two very deserving lifters earned this award this year -

WINNER – MIKE MCINTYRE

RUNNER UP – LOGAN KRESSLY

Mike, lifting for the JWC, made a big impact in the USAWA during the prior year.  He competed in several competitions promoted by Thom Van Vleck, and in my 2013 Dino Gym Challlenge OTSM competition.  It was at that meet that Mike caught my attention when he performed a 410 pound Hackenschmidt Floor Press.  Last December Mike placed 3rd overall in the USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships, in a very tough field of lifters. I was extremely impressed with his 315 pound Anderson Press in that meet!  Mike was not on hand at the Awards ceremony to receive his award so Thom Van Vleck accepted it on his behalf.

Logan, lifting for the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, has shown great improvement over the past year in his lifting.  At only 16 years old, his future is bright as lifter. Last year Logan competed in the USAWA Team Championships, and paired with Jera Kressly, to win the overall award in the mixed pairs division.  He entered the 2014 Dino Gym Challenge, a tribute to Warren Lincoln Travis, and placed 3rd overall competing against many seasoned all rounders.  His 1300# Harness Lift and 1600# Back Lift impressed me the most.  You often do not see young lifters put up big lifts in the heavy lifts. At my record day last February he did a 550 pound Dinnie Lift!  And at this meet, the 2014 Nationals, he was crowned outstanding Junior Lifter.  I would say he has had a great year in the USAWA!

Congrats to both of these guys!

COURAGE AWARD WINNERS

by Al Myers

Art Montini (right) receiving the Runner Up Courage from President Denny Habecker (left) at the 2013 USAWA National Championships.

The Courage Award, presented on behalf of the USAWA, goes to an individual who “shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition.  This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA.”

The Courage Award Winners for this year go to:

WINNER – DALE FRIESZ

RUNNER UP – ART MONTINI

Several months ago the USAWA lost one of the TRUE SUPPORTERS of the USAWA, with the death of Dale Friesz.  Dale was actively involved in the USAWA for practically the entire time since the organization began.  He was at almost EVERY National Championships, and it was obvious that his passion for all round weightlifting was beyond that of the normal USAWA member.   I miss our weekly email correspondence – Dale always had ideas on how to better our organization.

We all know Dale has been the perennial winner of the Courage Award since the program started.  His persistence to continue competition despite  battling physical hardships and barriers were like nothing I’ve ever seen before, of which I’ve covered in details in previous stories.   Last year at Nationals in Vegas Dale truly gave the grittiest effort on the platform I’ve witnessed.  However, I was somewhat surprised to see Dale gather the most votes for this years Courage Award, considering he is no longer with us on the platform. This goes to show the respect Dale had from his lifting friends and those members of the USAWA to receive an award like this posthumously.  I’ve said this before, but it would seem fitting that the Courage Award in the future take on the name “Dale Friesz Courage Award” as Dale has set “the bar” for deserving it.

Runner Up goes to Art Montini – Dale’s ole friend and competitor.  Art continues to amaze everyone with his active meet participation at the age of 85! At Nationals Art visited with me about plans to attend the IAWA Worlds in England this fall.  His enthusiasm for all round competition is more than most guys a QUARTER of his age!

25 Year Performance Award

by Al Myers

Award winners for the 25 Year Performance Award - Al Myers (left) & Art Montini (middle). Denny Habecker (right) presented this award during the USAWA Awards Ceremony.

It was a great honor to “share the stage” with Art Montini in receiving the 25 Year Performance Award.  This award went to the 2  lifters who have won the most Overall Best Lifter Awards at the National Championships over the 25 year history of the USAWA.  Art and I have 4 apiece.  My years – 2010, 2009, 2008, & 2006.  Art’s years were – 1995, 1993, 1992, & 1991.

I have a long ways to go to “fill Art’s shoes”.   Art’s last Overall Best Lifter Award in 1995 occurred when he was 67 years of age!  His first was when he was 63.  I have to do some checking to verify this fact, but I’m pretty sure that that he is the oldest lifter to ever win this prestigious title.  It is simply amazing everything Art has accomplished in the USAWA over the last 25 years, and when you realize that all of this lifting success happened after the age of 60 it even makes it more unbelievable!

Athlete of the Year

by Chad Ullom

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

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

Athlete of Year-Al Myers
Runner up-Larry Traub

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

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

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

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

Courage Award

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow being awarded the Runnerup Courage Award at the USAWA Nationals (center). He was presented the award by Al Myers (left) and Denny Habecker (right). Missing from this picture is the USAWA Courage Award winner Dale Friesz.

The USAWA Courage Award goes to a lifter who “shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition.  This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA”.  That is the way it is defined in the awards program information letter.  It might as well just say ” be like DALE FRIESZ” instead.   Dale takes courage to the extreme, and continues to lift weights when most (make that ALL) would have quit if they were in his situation.   I wasn’t “for sure” if Dale would be able to make it to this years Nationals, but he didn’t let me or the USAWA down on this.  Not only did he make the flight to Vegas, but he lifted in the meet and showed tremendous effort in all the days events.  He is a true warrior – and very, very deserving of this award.  It is only appropriate that he has now won it THREE YEARS IN A ROW!! That’s simply amazing, and is the only person to have won the same award every year since the award program has been in place.  The Courage Award winners were:

WINNER – DALE FRIESZ

RUNNERUP – DAVE GLASGOW

Dave Glasgow was a very fitting runner up to Dale.  Dave has had some physical difficulties as well this year (surgery on his arm), but most wouldn’t know about it.  Dave’s not one to make an issue of something like that.  It would have been easy for him to “take some time off” to milk his injury, but it didn’t seem to slow him down at all!  As soon as possible he was back on the lifting platform!! 

CONGRATS to Dale and Dave for winning this year’s COURAGE AWARD!