Top Performances of 2012 – PART 2

by Al Myers

Now it’s time to finish the  count down of the TOP PERFORMANCES of 2012! 

5.  Bryan Benzel and his 355 pound Apollons Lift.

Bryan Benzel performing the Apollons Lift at the 2012 Battle in the Barn.

Bryan “THE BIG YOUNG BULL” Benzel made his “name known” at ET’s Battle in the Barn OTSM meet last spring.  Included in the list of events was the Apollons Lift, which represents the performance done by the old time strongman Louis Uni, aka Apollon.  Apollon lifted his famous Apollon’s Wheels, which weighed 366#, overhead in his show performances.   The Bull  about  beat the mark set by the mighty Apollon!

4.  Adam Glass lifting 822 pounds in the Dinnie Lift at the Minneapolis Meet.

Adam Glass performing the Dinnie Lift at the 2012 Minneapolis Meet.

Adam Glass is, without a doubt, a WORLD CLASS grip man.  I am so glad that I was able to see this performance of his first-hand, because if not, I don’t know if I would have truly believed that he could lift so much in the Dinnie Lift.   Hopefully someday Adam will have an opportunity to attempt the actual stones – because if we are taking bets I’m going to place my bet on him that he’ll lift them!

3.  Dan Wagman’s 359 pound Steinborn Lift at Worlds.

Dan Wagman performing the Steinborn Lift in route to winning the Overall Best Lifter at the 2012 IAWA World Championships in Salina, Kansas.

I’ve known Dan “PURE POWER” Wagman for several years, and know what an outstanding lifter he is.  I had the feeling that the OVERALL CHAMPION of the 2012 Worlds was going to come down to a battle between him and my training buddy Chad.  I felt Chad’s “ace in the hole” was going to be the Steinborn Lift, and a lift that he might be able to distance himself from Dan.  However, this was not to be (even though Chad put up his All Time best Steinborn of 202.5kg) when Dan put up a huge Steinborn Lift of 359 pounds.  I was not expecting this out of Dan – and in turn quite surprised me – and that is why it made my ranking of number 3 of impressive lifts of 2012.

2.  Wilbur Miller’s 457# 12 inch base Deadlift.

Wilbur Miller (left) and Denny Habecker (right) at the Dino Gym.

It’s been years since Wilbur Miller was nicknamed the Cimarron Kid, but at an age of 79 he still lifts like a kid!  This amazing deadlift of his has to be regarded as one of the best performances of ALL-TIME in the USAWA as well.  

1.  Eric “ET” Todd and the monsterous WORLD RECORD Neck Lift of 1030 pounds!

Eric Todd performing his World Record Neck Lift at the 2012 IAWA World Championships.

This was the most impressive lift in the USAWA for 2012. I’m sure most everyone would agree with me on this.   Following the World Championships, Eric and Chad Ullom engaged each other in an “one on one” Neck Lift Challenge to determine who the best neck lifter was.  Both guys eclipsed the 1000 pound barrier in a climatic fashion, and in doing so, set the new mark for Neck Lifting.  I would like to think that both of these guys learned everything they know about Neck Lifting from me – but I know that isn’t true! (but I did make both of their neck harnesses which might have helped them a little bit…)  

HONERABLE MENTION FOR NUMBER ONE -

1.  Chad “THE CHAMP” Ullom lifting the Dinnie Stones for 25 reps! I giving this Honorable Mention Number One because this was not a competition lift – but done within the realms of an IAWA event.

Chad Ullom lifting the Dinnie Stone.

The day after the Gold Cup in Glasgow several of us made a visit to lift the Dinnie Stones. Chad was only hoping to become the FIFTH American to ever lift the stones unassisted (without straps) when he set up for his first attempt.  However, the stones came up with EASE!  It looked like he was warming up with a 135# deadlift!  After that he decided to test himself for total reps and finished with 25 unassisted reps with the Dinnie Stones, the most by anyone in a single day (done along with Mark Haydock of England).  It was a remarkable display of strength.  His performance must have shocked the stone lifting community because afterwards he endured much criticism for this performance along with a personal attack on his character (which included being called a numpkie – I had to ask an English friend what that meant!!  haha ) .  Most of this was fueled by envy and jealousy to discredit him (along with Mark) and to try to take away from their great display of  Dinnie stone lifting.  However, both of these guys showed what class they have by not publicly responding to these personal attacks and proved to me (and others) that they are honorable  individuals.   That’s all I’m going to say about that – I don’t have the time or energy  to deal with the HATERS.

I do want to point out with all this that it was me that suggested they stop at 25 reps to mark the 25th anniversary of IAWA. That was NEVER a goal of theirs going into this day.  They could have done another 25-50 reps if they really wanted to.  Chad’s hands were not the least bit damaged, and his 25th rep was as strong as his first. His grip was not slipping at all and he could have done many more reps.  He looked to me that he was just getting “warmed up”!!  However,  lunch time was upon us and I had to think of some way to get them to stop. I was getting hungry and the fish and chips at the Potarch Hotel were calling to me!!

Lifter of the Month: Bryan Benzel

by Al Myers

The USAWA Lifter of the Month for July Bryan Benzel performing a 705 pound Peoples Deadlift at the Battle of the Barn to secure his overall victory. This meet was an Old Time Strongman competition promoted by Eric Todd last spring.

I’m getting a little behind on announcing the USAWA Lifter of the Month for the month of July. Congrats go to the BIG BULL himself Bryan Benzel of Jobe’s Steel Jungle!  Bryan pulled out a tight win in the second USAWA quarterly postal meet, the Middle Atlantic Postal, over several very good lifters.  This feat earned him the Lifter of the Month for the month of July.

I have also started a section on the website to maintain a listing of this accomplishment.  It is titled “Past Lifters of the Month”.

Jobe’s Steel Jungle RD

by Jesse Jobe

Troy Goetsch and Bryan Benzel set the top ALL TIME USAWA record in the Team Deadlift at the Jobe's Steel Jungle Record Day with a lift of 1097 pounds.

Last  Sunday, The Jobe’s Steel Jungle held a record breaking records day.  We had 13 lifters from age 7 to 45 and a total of 188 records were set or broken. To say I was impressed by the lifting that was done this day is a massive understatement. I was very proud of everyone that lifted, but the biggest highlight for me was getting my wife Alison Jobe to compete and she did outstanding. I was also fortunate enough to have my daughter Gabby Jobe lifting and she also did amazing.  I will try to give every great performance its own little paragraph but it might have to be saved for another write up.

First, I want to thank everyone who was able to compete and those who came to watch and cheer us on.  Also I have to give a big thanks to Darren Barnhart and Scott Tully.   They came up to compete, helped me judge some lifts, and give me clarification on a few things I wasn’t 100% sure about. We had a couple newbies lifting but they didn’t disappoint by putting up some big lifts. I had told the guys a couple weeks before that I wanted to make this a special meet and that I wanted to see some lifts that would be remembered.  None of them disappointed me.

I think the biggest news of the meet was some lifts that were set as the all-time highest lifts.  Bryan Benzel stole the show setting four individual all-time lifts and two team lifts with Troy Goetsch. Troy Goetsch set a huge 2” Vbar lift and then two team lifts with Bryan Benzel. Troy’s Grip strength is simply amazing as he doesn’t have huge hands, just a very strong grip. Tim Songster set an all time lift in the Piper Squat, I think eventually he can push this up to 300lbs. Darren Barnhart and Scott Tully actually had the Fulton bar Ciavattone grip team record for about 5 minutes with 650lbs, until Bryan and Troy took it back with 670lbs. I have no doubts that either one of these teams will eventually get 700lbs. My wife set some all time lifts in the 2” Vbar, 1” Vbar, and some finger lifts.

I set the most records of the day with 40. I had a decent game plan and feel I executed it pretty well. I think on some lifts I left a little in the tank, but overall I was happy with the way a lot of them turned out. I have a goal of eventually having 100 records. I am still learning a lot of these lifts and once I figure out some of them, I hope to put up some all time records in some.

Gabby Jobe, at 9 years old, set a number of USAWA records including this 54# 1 inch 1 bar VB deadlift.

My daughter and wife both had tremendous days. My wife, Alison, is a very competitive person in anything she does.  But it took a lot of convincing to get her to do this. She only started lifting last year and has started to make tremendous gains. She has a naturally strong grip and I know that eventually she is going to set some very high marks in the grip events. Gabby has really started to be as serious as a nine year old can be about her training.   I cannot say enough how proud I am of how she did this day.

I was quite pleased with how the day came out. My biggest goal for running this meet was to be able to have people get together and have a good time.  My family was able to come and see my daughter lift and also see my wife compete for the first time.  I look forward to my next USAWA event that I hold.  Competing and hosting USAWA has become one of the most fun and entertaining things I have done in my lifting career. Again, I want to thank everyone for their help.  And a huge thank you to my wife, she cooked the lunch, judged, lifted, and was a great host.

Meet Results

Jobe’s Steel Jungle Record Day
Jobe’s Steel Jungle, Council Bluffs, Iowa
May 20th, 2012

Meet Director:  Jesse Jobe

Officials:  Jesse Jobe, Alison Jobe, Bryan Benzel, Scott Tully, Darren Barnhart

Tim Songster Jr. 7 years old, 66# BWT

Deadlift – 12″ Base:  75#
Deadlift – Heels Together:  67#

Scott Tully 36 years old, 359# BWT

Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat: 200#

Darren Barnhart 44 years old, 296# BWT

Bench Press – Hands Together: 315#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand: 145#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand: 145#
Deadlift – No Thumbs: 365#

Josh Haggin 38 years old, 198# BWT

Bent Press – Dumbbell, Right Hand: 60#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 230#
Deadlift – 2 Bars:  430#

Bryan Benzel 25 years old, 288# BWT

James Lift: 202#
Clean and Seated Press: 247#
Clean and Press – On Knees:  227#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand: 215#
Deadlift – No Thumbs: 602#
Clean and Press – Middle Fingers:  87#
Deadlift – One Leg, Right:  205#
Deadlift – One Leg, Left:  205#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm:  235#

Mac Capello 34 years old, 242# BWT

Reflex Clean and Jerk: 255#
Snatch – Fulton Bar:  170#
Curl – Reverse Grip:  195#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Mid/Ring Fingers:  230#
Pinch Grip: 170#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat:  160#
Jerk – From Rack, Behind Neck:  275#
Continental to Chest – Fulton Bar:  305#
Deadlift – No Thumbs:  367#
Pull Up:  45#

Gabby Jobe FEMALE,  9 years old, 91# BWT

Squat – 12” Base:  80#
Squat – Front:  72#
James Lift:  15#
Arthur Lift:  15#
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells:  60#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  50#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm:  50#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip:  75#
Deadlift – Heels Together:  115#
Curl – Strict:  20#
Bent Over Row:  45#
Curl – Reverse Grip:  35#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand:  37#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand:  37#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand:  54#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand:  54#

Zach Jelinek 23 years old, 199# BWT

Squat – Piper:  225#
Clean and Press – Reverse Grip:  135#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Mid/Ring Fingers:  230#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  230#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm:  230#
Curl – Reverse Grip:  175#
Deadlift – 2 Bars:  450#
Deadlift – No Thumbs:  367#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat:  160#
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip:  135#
Finger Lift – Little, Left Hand:  54#
Finger Lift – Little, Right Hand:  54#
Finger Lift – Index, Left Hand:  96.5#
Finger Lift – Index, Right Hand:  91.5#
Finger Lift – Ring, Left Hand:  84#
Finger Lift – Middle, Left Hand:  105.5#
Finger Lift – Middle, Right Hand:  91.5#

Alison Jobe  – FEMALE, 36 years old, 231#BWT

Finger Lift – Little, Left Hand:  54#
Finger Lift – Little, Right Hand:  54#
Finger Lift – Index, Left Hand:  79#
Finger Lift – Index, Right Hand:  79#
Finger Lift – Ring, Left Hand:  64#
Finger Lift – Ring, Right Hand:  64#
Finger Lift – Middle, Left Hand:  79#
Finger Lift – Middle, Right Hand:  115#
Finger Lift – Thumb, Left Hand:  29#
Finger Lift – Thumb, Right Hand:  29#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand:  110#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand:  135#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand:  129#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand:  129#
Deadlift – Fingers, Index:  115#
Deadlift – Fingers, Middle:  115#
Deadlift – Fingers, Ring:  115#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip:  165#
Deadlift – Reeves:  135#
Curl – Strict:  55#
Bench Press – Alternate Grip:  85#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip:  85#

Troy Goetsch 25 years old, 193# BWT

Bench Press – Left Arm:  70#
Bench Press – Right Arm:  115#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  70#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Right Arm:  90#
Clean and Press – Fulton Bar:  180#
Pinch Grip:  170#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand:  75#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip:  310#
Snatch – Fulton Bar:  145#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand:  235#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand:  255#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand:  180#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand:  180#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells:  140#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm:  170#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm:  205# 
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Heels Together:  360#
Clean and Press – Reverse Grip:  135#
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip:  135#

Corey Kenkel 29 years old, 186# BWT

Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  70#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  70#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat:  100#
Apollons Lift:  190#
Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar:  190#
Reflex Clean and Push Press:  140#
Reflex Clean and Jerk: 140#
Pinch Grip: 110#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar:  360#
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip:  135#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip:  285#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand:  112.5#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand:  135#
Snatch – On Knees:  67#
James Lift:  87#
Squat – Overhead:  87#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand:  155#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand:  155#
Miller Clean and Jerk:  87#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip:  185#

Tim Songster 45 years old, 209# BWT

Squat – Piper:  245#
Bench Press – Hands Together:  195#
Clean and Press:  165#
Clean and Press – Behind Neck:  155#
Squat – Lunge:  225#
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip:  135#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  80#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm:  80#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand:  112.5#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand:  112.5#
Snatch – On Knees:  87#
Squat – Overhead:  87#
Lateral Raise – Lying:  80#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat:  140#
Pull Up:  25#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip:  175#
Reflex Clean and Push Press:  155#
Clean and Press – 12” Base:  135#
Good Morning:  135#
Finger Lift – Little, Left Hand:  54#
Finger Lift – Little, Right Hand:  54#
Finger Lift – Thumb, Right Hand:  54#
Clean and Press – Reverse Grip:  135#
French Press:  75#
Snatch – Left Arm:  75#
Snatch – Right Arm:  75#

Jesse Jobe 35 years old, 228# BWT

Clean and Jerk – Behind Neck:  200#
Clean and Press – Middle Fingers:  90#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  100#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Right Arm:  100#
Pinch Grip:  170#
Clean and Press:  170#
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip:  170#
Clean and Press – Reverse Grip:  175#
Clean and Press – 12” Base:  190#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm:  100#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm:  100#
Deadlift – One Leg, Left:  185#
Snatch – On Knees:  107#
Lateral Raise – Lying:  80#
Lateral Raise – Standing:  40#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat:  160#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand:  215#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  90#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm:  90#
Pull Up:  20#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand:  170#
Deadlift – No Thumbs:  505#
Reflex Clean and Push Press:  205#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Mid/Ring Fingers:  185#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm:  282#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm:  282#
Finger Lift – Little, Left Hand:  54#
Finger Lift – Little, Right Hand:  54#
Finger Lift – Index, Left Hand:  103#
Finger Lift – Index, Right Hand:  103#
Finger Lift – Thumb, Left Hand:  29#
Finger Lift – Thumb, Right Hand:  54#
Piper Squat: 135#
Clean and Jerk – 2 Dumbbells:  140#
Curl – Reverse Grip:  175#
Hack Lift – Fulton Bar:  310#

Bryan Benzel and Troy Goetsch

Team Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip:  670#
Team Deadlift:  1097#

Josh Haggin and Troy Goetsch

Team Deadlift:  850#

Apollons Lift

by Al Myers

Bryan Benzel, of Jobes Steel Jungle, performing an Apollons Lift with 355 pounds at the latest OTSM competition, the Battle in the Barn. Will Bryan be the first USAWA lifter to surpass the mighty Apollons lift of 366 pounds? I predict YES!!

The Apollons Lift was one of the very first OTSM lifts approved in the USAWA.  This lift is intended to honor the late French Strongman Louis Uni, aka Apollon.  In his strongman stage acts he had his Challenge  “Apollon’s Wheels” which he could lift but no one else could. The wheels were railcar train wheels connected with a two inch shaft.  This event is regularly contested in strongman competitions under differing rules, but we are the only organization that offers it as a official lifting event under consistent rules.

Apollon was a very interesting oldtime strongman.  He lived from 1862 to 1928.  He was a big man, standing 6′3″ and weighing around 300 pounds. As a young man he first was employed with a circus as an animal trainer.  It is said he was the only man the big cats were afraid of.  His deep rough voice mixed with his menacing stare and large frame would back the tigers down.  He would often get “right in the middle” of the tigers and grab the alpha tiger by the neck and drag him around just to show his dominance over them.  This lead to his first strongman act in which he would carry a huge tiger over his shoulder in the circus performance.

One of his most famous strongman feats (along with lifting his famous Challenge Wheels) involved a show in which he was to escape from a cell with iron bars.  He would bend the bars with his bare hands and crawl out. He did this performance night after night.  Each time the bars would have to be restraightened for the next nights performance.  One time a local blacksmith not only straightened the bars but TEMPERED THEM to increase their strength.  Whether this was done intentional or not remains a mystery.  Apollon tried and tried to bend the bars to escape but it was beyond his abilities until his wife started yelling at him to “quit being lazy and start acting like a real man”.  This must have infuriated him as it is told that sweat was pouring from his brow and his veins were popping out of his neck as he proceeded to bend the bars and escape.  I can relate to that –  wives have a way of doing things like that to their husbands!

All the lifts within our list of Old Time Strongman Events honor an old time strongman like Apollon.  This is our way of keeping stories like these alive. This would be a good time to remind everyone about the USAWA mission statement:

MISSION STATEMENT

The USAWA was formed to continue the long standing tradition of old-time weightlifters like Eugen Sandow, Louis Cyr, Arthur Saxon, Hermann Goerner, Warren Lincoln Travis, and many others. We strive to preserve the history of the original forms of weightlifting, which in the past has been referred to as “odd lifting”. Many of the lifts we perform are based on stage acts or challenge lifts of old-time strongmen.

I really feel that our development of the Old Time Strongman as a branch of the USAWA is fulfilling this statement.