Lifter of the Month – Denny Habecker

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker performed one of his favorite lifts, the Pullover and Push, for a new IAWA World Record at the most recent Gold Cup in England.

A big CONGRATS goes to our USAWA President, Denny Habecker, for being selected as the USAWA Lifter of the Month for October.  The “big meet” in October was the IAWA Gold Cup in England, and Denny was there to represent the USA.  Denny has been a loyal lifter at Gold Cups, and can always be counted on to be there on behalf off our organization.   Denny has been a superb leader of the USAWA since taking office as President.  Denny makes a huge commitment to the USAWA and travels the country to various meets as well as being at the Worlds and Gold Cups every year.

Lifter of the Month: Frank Ciavattone

by Al Myers

Frank Ciavattone in action at the 2014 IAWA World Championships.

Congrats goes to Frank Ciavattone for being selected as the Lifter of the Month for the month of September. Frank is definitely deserving of this award after the unbelievable contributions he made to the USAWA during the past month. Frank not only promoted the IAWA World Championships, but competed and won his 20th IAWA World Championships. He also was recognized by the IAWA with the IAWA Presidential Award of Merit, the highest honor given out by the IAWA.


Lifter of the Month: Joe Garcia

by Al Myers

Joe Garcia lifting a up a big Hip Lift!

The Zercher Strength Classic, a long held traditional meet held at Clark’s Gym, was the featured meet of the month of March.  So it comes as no surprise that the winner of this prestigious meet is crowned as the USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for MARCH.  Joe Garcia defended a tough class of 4 hard-nosed competitors to take the overall win, and because of this, earned the lifter of the month.  Way to go Joe!!!!

I’m guessing that Joe has competed in more Zercher’s than any other lifter thru it’s 25 year plus history.  There is no harder meet than the Zercher – having to do 13 different all-round lifts in one day, and amongst the lifts several heavy lifts.  It’s the same as several meets packed into one!

Congrats to Joe Garcia for being awarded USAWA Lifter of the Month for March, 2014.

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!!!

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.

Lifter of the Month: Eric Todd

by Al Myers

Eric Todd lifting 710 pounds in the Dinnie Lift at the 2013 OTSM Championships, enroute to winning Overall Best Lifter.

The lifter of the month for December goes to Eric Todd, overall champion at this month’s Old Time Strongman Championships.  Eric has had a great year in the USAWA, and is one of the promising all rounders for future years. Eric has been involved as a meet promoter as well, and is founder of the registered USAWA club, KC STRONGMAN.

Congrats to Eric for being LIFTER OF THE MONTH for December!!!!

Lifter of the Month: Al Myers

by Chad Ullom

Lifter of the month for November is Al Myers, here doing a 182.5 KG thumbless grip DL at the Gold Cup.

November lifter of the month goes to Al Myers.   Al was succesful with a 145kg (319lb) Power Row at the Gold Cup. Not only was this a new world record, but also earned Al The Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy! This trophy is presented to the highest amended total lift using Age, weight, and Blindt formulas.  Al also did a thumbless DL of 182.5KG (401lb) for his second world record. The contributions Al makes the USAWA and IAWA cannot be overstated. I’m not sure where we would be as an organization without Al’s committment, time and effort he puts into it every day! Congratulations Al!

Lifter of the Month: Barry Bryan

Barry Bryan at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup (left) with USAWA President Denny Habecker (right).

by Al Myers

The Lifter of the Month for October goes to BARRY BRYAN for his outstanding performances in Art’s Birthday Bash.   I am so glad to see Barry “back in action” in the USAWA.   Barry is a joy to be around at meets – always helping out lifters, the meet promoter, or just assisting in any way he can.   He is a LEVEL 2 certified USAWA official, and has been involved in many National Championships.

Congratulations to Barry Bryan for being Lifter of the Month for October!!!!

Lifter of the Month: John Wilmot

by Al Myers

As Tom Ryan performs a big Hip Lift in an All Round Meet in the late 80’s, John Wilmot looks on in the background.

The lifter of the month for September goes to our long-term USAWA Postal Meet Director John Wilmot.  The only USAWA competition held in the month of September was our 3rd quarter postal, the Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet.   Amazingly, since the USAWA Postal Series began - John has competed in EVERY postal meet.  That’s showing quite a commitment to the organization!!!

Congratulations to John Wilmot for being awarded USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for September!!!

Lifter of the Month: Denny Habecker

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker competing in the 2013 Presidential Cup, here performing a 165 pound Right Arm Ciavattone Grip Deadlift. Denny also promoted this meet in his gym, Habeckers Gym.

I know I’ve got a little behind on the Lifters of the Month – so I’m gonna take this week to catch up!  The Lifter of the Month for August was a pretty easy choice, and it goes to our USAWA President Denny Habecker.  Denny was the ONLY lifter to compete in ALL of the USAWA competitions in the month of August (World Postal Champs, Presidential Cup, Team Championships, and the Dino Days Record Day).   That’s a very busy month of competing!!  Denny is one of the most persistent competitors I have ever met – he doesn’t EVER take any “down time” from competition. 

We are very fortunate to have Denny as our President.  I regard him as the best President the USAWA has ever had, and that says a lot as there have been some excellent men in this position in the past.  A President should be someone who is very involved in the organization, and attends a wide range of events to interact with the membership and support USAWA promotions.  Denny goes beyond  the call of duty with this!!!

Congratulations to Denny for winning the USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for the month of August!!!!!

Lifter of the Month: Chad Ullom

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom performing a 793.5# Anderson Squat at "Joe the Turk" Old Time Strongman Meet in Macomb, Illinois.

Congratulations goes to Chad Ullom for being selected as the USAWA Lifter of the Month for the month of July.  Chad had a very active summer – placing second overall at Nationals in the Mens Division, competing in the World Stone Challenge in Scotland, participating in the USAWA Club Championships,  and finishing with a FIRST PLACE overall finish at Joe the Turk OTSM in Macomb in July.  Add in that he was “one of the few” USAWA members to represent the USAWA in the IAWA World Postal Meet which was contested in July, and he becomes a VERY WORTHY choice for lifter of the month.


Lifter of the Month: Molly Myers

by Al Myers

Molly Myers pulling a 92.5 KG Ciavattone Grip Deadlift at the 2013 USAWA National Championships.

The lifter of the month for the month of June goes to Molly Myers!  The lifter of the month was established to recognize an outstanding performance over the course of the month in USAWA competitions/events.  Molly was awarded BEST OVERALL FEMALE LIFTER at the 2013 USAWA National Championships in Lebanon, PA.   I consider winning Best Overall Lifter at Nationals as a “slam dunk” in consideration of the Lifter of the Month Award.  Molly established 12 new USAWA records at Nationals (2nd most of any lifter at the meet) which included 3 new National Meet records.  Her lifts were outstanding: 80 KG continental to belt, 70 KG one arm deadlift, 40 KG clean and press, 25 KG one arm snatch, 50 KG pullover and push, and a 92.5 KG ciavattone grip deadlift.  Those are some BIG LIFTS for a girl who is only 14 years old!!!!

Congrats Molly on your  lifter of the month award!!!! (your ole dad  is proud of ya!)

Lifter of the Month: Dennis Mitchell

by Al Myers

Dennis Mitchell (left) receiving his Championship Award from meet director Frank Ciavattone at the 2013 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships.

The lifter of the Month for the month of May goes to Dennis Mitchell – and for good reason.  At the Heavy Lift Championships last month Dennis has accomplished something VERY FEW lifters EVER achieve.  He eclipsed a milestone of competing for 70 years.  That’s right – 70 years of active competition!  In my book, that’s an amazing accomplishment and worthy of special recognition.  

I first met Dennis at Nationals 10 years ago or so.   Since then I have got to know him very well, as he is always representing the USAWA at national and international events.  He has been one of the most loyal supporters of the USAWA since the organization began.  

Congratulations Dennis on winning this months Lifter of the Month!!!

Lifter of the Month: Dan Wagman

by Al Myers

Dan Wagman "in action" at the 2013 Dino Gym Record Day in February performing a 110# Dumbell Snatch.

Dan Wagman becomes the FIRST “two time” winner of the Lifter of the Month with him being declared the Lifter of the Month for the month of April!  Dan’s previous Lifter of the Month recognition was after he won the Overall Men’s  Best Lifter Award at the IAWA Worlds last October, with him earning the Lifter of the Month for October, 2012 following that big World Meet win.

This Lifter of the Month recognition was the result of his outstanding overall win in the Eastern Open Postal Meet, the first of the quarterly USAWA Postal Series. It was a “loaded” group of lifters who competed in this last postal, and as many entered as ever before.  Winning this meet was certainly worthy of receiving the Lifter of the Month for!!!  Congrats Dan!!!!

WEBMASTER NOTE:  All past USAWA Lifters of the Month are keep on a list available on the upper left hand side of the homepage, under USAWA Information.

Lifter of the Month: James Fuller

by Al Myers

James Fuller performing a double hub lift with a pair of BEN Olympic plates at Frank's Barbell Club on May 4th, 2013. Take notice of Frank's very old Deep Dish York 45 on the ground with the very wide hub.

The lifter of the month for the month of March goes to James Fuller!

The only USAWA competition that was held in March was Frank’s Barbell Club Record Breaker, held on March 16th.  James resides in Hallowell, Maine.  To my knowledge, he is the only USAWA registered member from the state of Maine.  James has been actively involved in the USAWA for 3 years, and has competed in several USAWA competitions, including two Heavy Lift Championships.   Just last weekend James lifted in the Heavy Lift Champs in Walpole, Massachusetts, and in the process was crowned AGE/BWT Heavy Lift Champion and placed 5th overall in a very tough field of competitors.

After the competition, James put on a hub lifting demo in which he cleaned and pressed Frank’s very old Deep Dish York 45 (which has a very wide 4-3/4″ hub), double hub lifted a pair of wide-flanged BEN Olympic plates, snatched a BEN plate by the hub, and did a partial holdout with a BEN plated by the hub.  All this hub lifting was done in quick fashion with very little rest time!   I should mention that a large crowd was present to witness this extraordinary lifting besides just myself.  

But the lifts that won James the LIFTER OF THE MONTH was not his hub lifting.  It was because of  a couple of very difficult record day lifts which he completed at Franks.  The first being a Kelly Snatch of 108 pounds, and the second being a Kneeling Snatch of 108 pounds. His record in the Kelly Snatch is an ALL TIME record across all weight classes! 

Congrats James for being the March LIFTER OF THE MONTH!

Lifter of the Month: Troy Goetsch

by Al Myers

Troy Goetsch lifting 255# in the 2 hands Pinch Grip at the 2013 USAWA Grip Championships. This is the ALL TIME best Pinch Grip in the USAWA record book.

I’m glad to announce Troy Goetsch as the LIFTER OF THE MONTH for February.  Troy “sealed the deal” with his big win at the USAWA Grip Championships, by beating out a field of 15 other lifters.  Troy lifts for the Jobes Steel Jungle Club, the new up and coming club in the USAWA.  Troy also competes in strongman, and is a very good competitor in it.  He has lifted in several of the strongman comps put on by the Dino Gym, and always places high. 

Congrats Troy for being the February Lifter of the Month!

Lifter of the Month: Art Montini

by Al Myers

The Lifter of the Month for the first month of 2013 goes to ART MONTINI!

Art Montini (right) receiving his meet award at the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge from meet promoter Al Myers (left).

In the January, only one USAWA event was contested – The Dino Gym Challenge.  This meet featured a selection of Old Time Strongman lifts (Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, and the Peoples Deadlift).  It was definitely a heavy-weight challenging competition of events.  I was surprised to even see our “senior member” of the USAWA Art Montini show up to take on this type of meet.  And not only did he complete all these joint-shearing lifts, he excelled in them!  He put up great lifts: Anderson Squat 209 pounds, Hackenschmidt Floor Press 120 pounds, and Peoples Deadlift 306 pounds.  Art at age 85, lifts like a man much younger and certainly was an inspiration to anyone who was fortunate to watch him on this day.   That earned him the Lifter of the Month against a field of very strong younger lifters.  Art also was one of the lifters who traveled the farthest for this meet (from Pittsburgh), which shows his dedication to the USAWA.  Congrats Art – you earned it.

Lifter of the Month: Ruth Jackson

by Al Myers

Congratulations goes to Ruth Jackson for being named the USAWA Lifter of the Month for December 2012.  Ruth was the OVERALL BEST WOMENS LIFTER at the 2012 IAWA World Championships in her first All-Round competition.  She followed up that stellar performance with setting 43 records at the Gracie Judo Club Record Day on the 1st of December.

I have been keeping a listing of the PAST LIFTERS OF THE MONTH on the website.   So when a lifter wins this title - they will FOREVER be listed in the USAWA Archives.  If any of the winners would like a certificate of their accomplishment just send me an email and I’ll send you one.  And please don’t ask because you think it will cause me more work – I can make a certificate for you in less than a minute (but don’t expect anything fancy haha).  

Below is the listing of the 2012 Lifters of the Month.  I have included links beside each name that links to the story of their Lifter of the Month blog.


January none  
February none  
March none  
April Chad Ullom
May Eric Todd
June Al Myers  
July Bryan Benzel
August Dale Friesz
September Barry Bryan
October Dan Wagman
November Denny Habecker
December Ruth Jackson  

Lifter of the Month: Denny Habecker

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker "in action" at the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland.

The month of  November for All-Round Weightlifting contained one of the biggest IAWA events of the year – the Gold Cup.  This year the Gold Cup was held in Glasgow, Scotland.  The USAWA had three representatives at that meet, one of which showed “true grit” in even making it to the platform.  For this, the USAWA Lifter of the Month for November goes to our USAWA President Denny Habecker!

This is the photo proof that Denny was "feeling under the weather" at the Gold Cup!

First of all due to Hurricane Sandy, Denny had travel difficulties even making it to the Gold Cup.  His flight got rerouted through Germany, and it took him 24 hours to even make it to England before the drive to Scotland.  To make his situation even worse – the night before the meet he came down with severe intestinal flu which would have keep most normal lifters away from the platform.  However, Denny is a true champ and  he wasn’t going to let a minor inconvenience like this keep him away from the meet.   When it was his time to perform his Gold Cup lift – he made his lift in excellent fashion.

Congratulations to Denny Habecker for winning the November Lifter of the Month!!!

Lifter of the month: Dan Wagman

by Al Myers

Dan Wagman - USAWA Lifter of the Month for October

The month of November was a busy one for me and sorta “flew by”.  I just realized that I have someone who deserves recognition for the MONTH OF OCTOBER.  His name is DAN WAGMAN and he is the 2012 IAWA World Championship OVERALL BEST LIFTER.  Dan won this title the first weekend in October in Salina, KS at the 25th IAWA World Championships.  It’s a “no brainer” if you win the OVERALL BEST LIFTER at the IAWA World Championships that you will win the USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH.  After all – that’s the highest award any lifter can win during the course of the year in the IAWA.  

Since then, Dan has competed in the Welcome Mat Record Day (results will be coming soon) and has made plans to attend my Dino Gym Challenge in January.   As the new CHAMP of the organization – Dan has “duties” this year of making appearances at USAWA events and competitions.  I know Dan is more than up for this!!!!  Congrats Dan on winning the USAWA  LIFTER OF the MONTH for OCTOBER, 2012.

Lifter of the month: Barry Bryan

by Al Myers

This is a picture of Barry Bryan from his earlier lifting days. That's alot of weight he has overhead!

There’s a reason I’ve been waiting to announce the LIFTER OF THE MONTH for the month of September.  Due to the low number of meets during September, I decided the lifter of the month should be the lifter that won BEST LIFTER of the Delaware Valley Postal Meet, and I’ve been waiting on the final meet results.  So the congrats for winning the lifter of the month goes to Barry THE BOMB Bryan!!!! 

I am so glad to see Barry get back involved in the USAWA.  I had a great visit with him at the Presidential Cup a couple of months ago.  I know alot of the younger guys in the USAWA don’t remember when Barry was competing in the USAWA during the early 90’s.  He was “a force” to be reckoned with!!!  He was the overall BEST LIFTER at the 1990 USAWA National Championships against a very tough field of lifters.   However, there’s a price to pay for lifting heavy weights, and Barry incurred a few injuries as a result which lead to him not competing for several years.  But it looks like he has put those injuries aside – and IS BACK TO WINNING FORM!!!  Congratulations Barry for winning the LIFTER OF THE MONTH for the month of September!!!

Lifter of the Month: Dale Friesz

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz (center) at the 2012 USAWA Nationals in Las Vegas. He is surrounded by Dennis Mitchell (left) and the meet venue owner John Broz (right).

The choice for the lifter of the month of August was a pretty simple one – DALE FRIESZ.   In the month of August he won the prestigious Presidential Cup, the premier of the USAWA Record Days.  Dale has been involved with the USAWA from the very early days, and at the USAWA Nationals was “one of four” awarded the special award of Top Participation Award of past USAWA Nationals.  I consider Dale one of the “founding members” of the USAWA.  He has a passion for All-Round Weightlifting and the USAWA that very few others have. Despite having endured MANY physical hardships that would have put other lifters “on the sideline”, he continues to make a presence at meets, and in turn gives inspiration to any lifter that is facing a physical obstacle themselves.  Because no matter how bad you may think your issue is – it is NOTHING compared to what Dale has been faced with, and yet he continues to work out and compete.  That puts things in perspective.  In fact, I have NEVER met anyone like Dale who has such a underlying passion for weightlifting.   He is a true champion and very deserving of winning this month’s LIFTER OF THE MONTH.

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”.

Lifter of the Month: Eric Todd

by Al Myers

Eric Todd performing the Hip Lift that won him BEST LIFTER at the 2012 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships.

Since I’ve started this monthly award last month, I better continue it!  However, I am finding that this is going to be an ongoing difficult process as there seems to be several “worthy candidates”!  But this month the award goes to Eric Todd because of his big overall victory at the 2012 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships at Bowling Green.  Despite the great individual performances at Jobes Steel Jungle Record Days, a championship triumphs any record day, so it is only fitting that ET is crowned the LIFTER OF THE MONTH for May, 2012. 

Eric not only won the Heavy Lift Show, but he did it in record fashion.  His 905 pound Neck Lift is bound to make the “top ten” lifts of the year for 2012.  Also, his victory puts him on a “short list” of past USAWA Heavy Lift Champions.  This meet in the past has been dominated by just a few individuals – Steve Schmidt, Joe Garcia, and Frank Ciavattone. 

Also figuring into my decision was the manner in which ET won the meet.  It wasn’t easy for him – and came down to getting his last attempt on the Hip Lift to make it possible.  The weight (2075#) was more than he had ever attempted in the Hip – but his focus and great preparation allowed him to be successful with it.  Congrats ET – for being the LIFTER OF THE MONTH for May, 2012.

Lifter of the Month: Chad Ullom

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom performing a 425# Front Squat at the Ambridge BBC following the USAWA Club Challenge.

It’s the first of May, the grass is green and growing and some days it feels like the start of summer.  It’s also time to START something NEW in the USAWA.   As the USAWA Awards Director, I am going to take reign on this and start awarding a USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH from now on.  This award will primarily be a recognition award because there will not be any “cash prize” or “large trophy” to go with it.  But every month I see great performances in the USAWA and I would like to have some way of honoring these performances by our membership.  The selection of this award will be based on my judgement alone, and will take in factors such as outstanding performances, great lifts, participation, records set, and meets won.  I sure don’t mind if someone makes recommendations to me either for someone they think should be the recipient of it for the month.

Now for the first winner of the LIFTER OF THE MONTH for April 2012 – it goes to our USAWA Vice President Chad Ullom for his outstanding win in the Eastern Open Postal Meet, over what I would consider, one of the toughest field of opponents in any postal meet we have had to date.  Chad capped off his win by performing a Continental to Belt with 500 pounds, which is the most ever done in the USAWA in this lift.

Congratulations to Chad for being the USAWA Lifter of the Month for April!