Date For Nationals

by Al Myers

2010 National Meet Director Denny Habecker

Our USAWA President and this year’s National Meet Director Denny Habecker has announced plans for this year’s Championships.  Denny has planned a two day National Championship, like it used to be several years ago, on June 26th and June 27th, 2010.  It will be held in Lebanon, PA  at the same venue site as this past year’s World Championship. This is an outstanding venue site that has plenty of room for lifting and warming up.   Denny continues to be the driving force in the USAWA, as this is his THIRD National Championships he has promoted since 2000.  He has picked a GREAT selection of lifts for this meet, with a little something for everyone.

Hall of Fame Biography – Denny Habecker class of 1997

Denny Habecker performing a Zercher Lift.

Denny was born and raised in Lebanon, Pennsylvania and has lived there all but 3 years of his life. His father was always involved in sports when Denny was growing up, and Denny has continued that tradition. He graduated from Lebanon High School in 1960 and got a job at Bayer Corporation in 1964 and worked there until his retirement in August, 2008. He got married in 1964 to Judy Gensemer. Judy is now a retired R.N. and they have one son who is an elementary school principal. His son and daughter-in-law have given them 3 grandsons that they are very proud of.

Denny started lifting in the spring of 1957 to build himself up for high school football. He entered a couple of bodybuilding contests in 1961 and 1962 before deciding weightlifting competitions were more fun. He competed in Olympic lifting competitions, with a few powerlifting competitions thrown in, from 1962 until 1975. Then with family commitments and other sports (volleyball, basketball) taking up his time, he didn’t compete again in weightlifting until 1984. He saw the results of the 1983 National Masters Olympic Lifting Championships and decided to start competing again. Denny entered John Vernacchio’s Eastern Masters and Tri-States Masters competitions every year and became a member of John’s Valley Forge Lifting Team. In 1989 John told him about an all-round weightlifting competition he was having. John talked him into entering it and Denny soon became hooked on all-round weightlifting.

Denny has been in every National All-rounds since 1990, 16 World All-rounds since 1991, and 13 Gold Cups since 1994, competing in Scotland, England, Australia, and New Zealand. In Olympic lifting , he has competed in 24 straight Keystone Games , 21 National Masters, 5 Pan-American Masters, 2 American Masters and 2 World Masters Championships since 1984. He also lifted in the 1992 WPA World Masters Powerlifting Championships. Denny still played volleyball, basketball, and softball in an over 40 league most of those years. He had to give up the other sports two years ago because of an arthritic hip.

Denny now trains at the New York Fitness Club in Lebanon and in his basement gym. He has been on the IAWA technical committee since 2000 and President of the USAWA since 2007. He has promoted the 2000 & 2007 USAWA Nationals, 2002, 2005 & 2009 IAWA World’s, 2006 & 2008 Gold Cup, and the 2004 & 2009 National Heavylift Championships. Denny was inducted into the Lebanon Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, the Central Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 , and in 2009 was given the Kelly Cup Award for his Keystone Games accomplishments . He was the overall best lifter of the 1999 USAWA National Championships and 10 times best lifter in his age group. He has placed in the top 10 in 14 USAWA National Championships and 8 IAWA World Championships. His favorite lifts are the Arthur lift and the Pullover and Push. His 87.5 kilogram Clean and Press with Heels Together, which was done in his first All-round Meet in 1989, is still a record.

Denny Habecker performing a Pullover and Push.

Denny Habecker performing a Hack Lift.

Records Race

by Al Myers


After the recent activity of several record days and meets, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the USAWA Records Race between Denny “Prez” Habecker and Art “Man of Steel” Montini.  After Worlds, Denny was holding a slight lead over Art for most current records held in the USAWA (4 records).  It is still very close, but Denny has increased his lead over Art.  These two are WAY AHEAD of the rest of the field, and I have a feeling the battle between the two of them will continue for quite some time.  I have expanded the list from the TOP TEN to the lifters who hold over 100 USAWA current records. I’m going to call it the CENTURY CLUB, which seems appropriate since most lifters in it are approaching that age!  To date, there are 20 lifters who hold over 100  USAWA records. Special recognition goes to Scott Schmidt – the most recent addition to this elite group of lifters.

Century Club


1.   361  Denny Habecker
2.   350  Art Montini
3.   225  John McKean
4.   216  Bill Clark
5.   214  Noi Phumchona
6.   207  Dennis Mitchell
6.   207  Frank Ciavattone
8.   204  Joe Garcia
9.   201  Bob Hirsh
10.  195  Al Myers
11.  171  Howard Prechtel
12.  138  Dale Friesz
13.  137  Jim Malloy
14.  134  Ed Schock
15.  123  John Monk
16.  118  Mary McConnaughey
17.  114  Chris Waterman
18.  110  Joshua Monk
19.  106  John Vernacchio
20.  106  Scott Schmidt

Congratulations to JIM MALLOY – who just recently passed the USAWA Rules Test. Jim has now joined the ranks of a LEVEL 2 Official – which includes passing the Rules Test and having the experience of officiating in over 25 USAWA/IAWA competitions.  I want to point out that all certified officials (both level 1 and level 2) have the same authority as officials. “Level 2″ just distinguishes those who have completed both avenues in becoming an USAWA official.  I know there probably are individuals who have met the “experience requirement” to be on the list (as a Level 1 Official) and are not listed there. I have no way of knowing who these are if I am not told, especially if these individual’s involvement happened many years ago, before I got involved in the USAWA. Most old result sheets didn’t list who the Officials were even.  If this is YOU , and you have officiated in over 25 USAWA All-Round Competitions in the past,  and want to get involved again in the USAWA as an Official – PLEASE let me know and I’ll gladly put you on the list. The USAWA would LOVE to get you back into the fold!!  The “experience” route was developed in the Rule Book as a “Grandfather Clause” so those very qualified and experienced officials would not have to “start over” in getting certified as an USAWA Official. After all, these individuals have already “earned” their official status the hard way – by sitting in the judges chair for many, many hours.  The purpose of the Rules Test is about certifying NEW officials.

Habecker Returns from Gold Cup

by Al Myers

(Denny Habecker, the USAWA President, just returned from the Gold Cup in Scotland. He was the only lifter from the United States who competed this year. Congratulations to Denny for his fine lifting and representing the USAWA at this prestigious event. The following is Denny’s report of the 2009 Gold Cup)

Denny Habecker doing a Clean and Seated Press at the 2009 Gold Cup

I just returned home from Scotland, where I lifted in the 2009 IAWA Gold Cup.

I felt the meet was a great success! David McFadzean and the Castlemilk Gym Club always put on a quality meet. It was great seeing some people I haven’t seen in quite a while. Steve Angell, Andy Tomlin, Frank Allen, are a few of my good friends that have come back from injuries or surgeries It was also good to see so many new people, that I hadn’t met before, on the platform. The lifting was of a very high quality as might be expected of a Gold Cup. Some of the lifts that impressed me the most were Mark Haydock’s 323.5 Kg. Trap Bar Deadlift, Steve Angell’s 300 Kg. Trap Bar Deadlift, Andy Tomlin’s 140 Kg. Middle Fingers Deadlift, and James Gardner’s 147 Kg. Dumbell Deadlift. James very nearly succeeded with 167 Kg. . He just couldn’t get it quite high enough on his second and third attempts. There were a lot of impressive lifts done at this meet. I was just glad to be there and share the platform with so many outstanding lifters.

I hope next years meet at Frank Ciavattone’s brings out as many lifters as this one did.

Denny Habecker

55 New USAWA Records Set at World Championships

by Al Myers

Kohl Hess set 7 new USAWA Records in the 14-15 year old age division, 120 kg Weight Class at the World Championships

Despite the low turnout of lifters at the 2009 IAWA World Championships, a large number of USAWA records were set.  This exemplifies the high quality of lifters present at this meet.  Along with USAWA records set – a large number of IAWA World records were set.  These records can be found on the IAWA(UK) Website, which is updated by the IAWA Records Registrar Chris Bass. In the battle for most USAWA Records of ALL-TIME, Denny Habecker has increased his total to 345 records, but Art Montini is gaining ground as he increased his record total to 343.  Will the new ALL-TIME Record leader change after the record day at Art’s Birthday Bash this past weekend?

Quiz of the Week

by Al Myers

I did not receive a correct answer for this week’s Quiz of the Week.  The USAWA lifter who currently has the most USAWA records is our one and only USAWA President Denny Habecker. Denny has been setting records since the USAWA Record List started and is still going strong!!! Denny currently has 341 records, but is followed very closely by Art Montini who has 337 records. They both lead the rest of the pack by over 100 records!!!

Denny Habecker added more records to the Record List at this year's National Championships

Top Ten ALL-TIME USAWA Record Holders

(number of current records listed first)


1.    341   Denny Habecker
2.    337   Art Montini
3.    221   John McKean
4.    217   Bill Clark
5.    214   Noi Phumchona
6.    208   Joe Garcia
7.    204   Dennis Mitchell
8.    201   Bob Hirsch
9.    199   Frank Ciavattone
10.   171   Howard Prechtel

The Entry Deadline has PASSED for this year’s IAWA World Championships hosted by Denny Habecker in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  Any entries at this point require special permission from the Meet Director – so contact Denny and hope that space still exists!!

Denny Habecker

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker performing a Hack Lift.

A Hall of Fame Biography is now available for Denny Habecker. Denny is the current USAWA President and has been the biggest USAWA meet promoter for the past several years. He is the meet director for this year’s IAWA World Championships, which is going to be held in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on October 3rd and 4th, 2009.  Denny puts on top quality meets and this is one you don’t want to miss!!!

Habecker Is Awarded the Kelly Cup

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker is awarded the Kelly Cup.

USAWA President Denny Habecker of Lebanon Pennsylvania recently was awarded the very prestigious Kelly Cup. The Kelly Cup is the highest award given to an amateur athlete for participation in the Keystone State Summer Games in Pennsylvania. Denny was honored this past month by a special ceremony at the State Capital in Harrisburg. The late Jack Kelly was from Philidelphia and was an Olympic medalist in rowing, along with serving as President of the US Olympic Committee. This award is given to an athlete who excels in their sport in the Keystone State Games and provides a positive role model in their community. This definitely describes Denny Habecker. Denny has been involved in weightlifting for over 40 years and has participated in 23 Keystone State Games. Overall he has won 16 gold medals in weightlifting throughout his years of competing in the games. In 2008, Denny competed in the games less than 6 months following hip replacement surgery!!! Denny has been part of the leadership team for the weightlifting event, and often provides equipment for the competition. In 2008, he was also named Outstanding Athlete in Weightlifting at the games. Denny’s attitude, leadership and sportsmanship sets the standard that all athletes should aspire for.