by Al Myers
Rudy Bletscher receiving the Co-Award for sportsmanship. (left to right): Rudy Bletscher, Al Myers, and Thom Van Vleck. Missing from this picture is the other Sportsmanship Award Winner Mike Murdock.
For this first time ever we had a tie in a vote for an USAWA Special Award, so this year a Co-Award was given on behalf of the USAWA in regards to the Sportsmanship Award. The two award winners were a great selection, because both of these guys have “gone at it” in competition with each other this past year and have done so in a most fitting style, showing utmost sportsmanship towards each other. The Sportsmanship Award goes to Rudy Bletscher and Mike Murdock. Mike had to leave early following the banquet before the Awards Ceremony, so I wasn’t able to get his picture taken receiving his Award as I had hoped, but I did get one of Rudy and the surprise look on his face when he received it.
I have enjoyed watching Mike and Rudy compete against each other throughout this past year. They are both pretty close in age, bodyweight, and strength so it always makes an interesting competition. They seem to go “back and forth” in beating each other from one competition to the next, but the both of them always enjoy each others “competitive company” as they do so and don’t seem to mind when they come out on “the short end of the stick”. These guys understand what its all about, and always seem to really enjoy themselves at meets. Both of them are tremendously supportive of the other lifters, and it is a pleasure being around them at meets. One of the things I remember about them from this past year was when they teamed up together to form a duo for Team Nationals. They were a formidable team! As they did the team lifts neither one of them wanted to let the other one down so they pushed themselves as hard as I have seen! I’m hoping they will form a team again this year at Team Nationals. In fact, I’m going to hold onto Mike’s award till then so maybe I can finally get my picture of them together as Co-Sportsmanship Award Winners of the year!