Big T’s Birthday Bash OTSM

by Thom Van Vleck

As many know by now I turned 50 years of age.  When this was coming up my wife asked me what I would like to do on my birthday.  I have two interests and from those interests come most of my friends.  They are the Scottish Highland Games and Weightlifting.  I thought about it long and hard and I knew that if I could have anything I wanted it would be to have my friends at my home and throwing and lifting being a part of that.  So, the first Saturday after my birthday (my actual birthday was May 28th and the meet was May 31st) I hosted a Highland Games and an Old Time Strong Man USAWA meet.

The Highland Games came first thing in the morning.  Like the USAWA there are age groups in the Highland Games with records for eight traditional events.  Moving up a class gave me an opportunity to do something that I had not done in nearly 10 years which was set a World Record.  I had a group of 4 masters that included myself, 8 time Master’s World Champ Jim Spalding, 8 time Master’s World Champ Bill Leffler (who broke his own 60-64 age group record in the 28lb Weight for Distance at the meet), and USAWA member Dean Ross who is a 2 time MWC Champ himself!

Now, bear with me as I do a little self promotion.  I spent the last two years trying to rebuild my strength base with an eye on setting the Weight Over Bar World record as well as going top ten in all the events.  So here’s a not-so-short story on that:

My best event is the Weight Over Bar.  I love this event and it plays right to my strength.  I have done what seems like a million power cleans in my life and I think all that work paid off as the WOB event involves pulling a 42lb weight over a cross bar for height.  Much like the pole vault or high jump the bar will go up and the greatest height wins.  I broke and rebroke the WR in this event in 2005 when I was in the 40-44 age group.  In the 45-49 age group I ended with the 2nd best all time throw…but no record.  I made it a goal to work this event and try and break this record.  This was a two year plan.  When it came time for that event I had the beginning of a nasty callous tear on my right throwing hand.  If it went I knew it would seriously screw up my goal as my grip would be compromised.  So I decided to not do as many warm ups and jump to a higher starting height which was 17ft.  I started with the standing style (they keep records for the standing style and the “open” or spinning style) and easily cleared 17ft.  I then jumped to 17ft 10in which was a half inch better than the current best by Mark McDonald of Scotland.  You get three attempts at each height and I missed my first two!  Disaster!  Not warming up on the event was causing me some problems!  I took a moment and got dialed back in and rolled it over!  So, one record down and one to go.  Had I missed that I would NOT have been able to attempt the second one so that was very critical.  I then moved the bar up to 18ft 6in which would at least give me the second best all time WOB with the spin style and it would give me a warm up before going up to the record attempt.  This was usually an easy height for me but my grip was giving me problems.  It was hot and muggy and my grip just felt “greasy” and that didn’t make me feel confident.  Usually this height would be a cinch but instead I missed it two times and again found myself behind the proverbial “8 ball” needing to get my third throw to even have a shot at the open WOB record.  I got some words of encouragement and was able to make that third throw but now I had to jump a foot to 19′6″ to set the break the record held by Jeff Loosle.  That’s a huge jump and I was not real confident after my struggles.  I went through my mental approach, visualizing my throws, going through my mental check list of what points to hit and lined up for the toss.  I hit it perfectly and knew it, but I also wondered if this would be enough!  I looked up and watched as the weight literally rolled over the bar!  I then felt a searing pain in my hand and looked down to see I had blown my callous wide open!  Glad it waited!  A two year journey had been fulfilled.  Thanks for bearing with me in that “totally unrelated to the USAWA” news.

Now on to the meet report!

We started with the new “unofficial” lift of OTSM which is “Thor’s Hammer”.  I was curious how this event would play out.  Would it be too dangerous?  Would it be too hard to judge?   When you have a new event you just don’t know until you test it out.  Art Montini was the brave soul that started us out.  I had a warm up bar set up as well and everyone was trying out different things.  You quickly realize that you can’t handle as much as you think and adjustments were being made.  Dean Ross jumped in next followed by Mike Murdock and Denny Habecker.  Art ended with 15lbs, Dean and Mike at 20lbs, and Denny at 25lbs before John O’Brien and Eric Todd jumped in at 30lbs.  I had done 40lbs in the one time I practice this event and figured I’d just start there.  John made 35lbs and Eric finished with a successful 40lb attempt.  I felt a little sheepish jumping in after those two were done and was wondering if I had made a tactical error in not taking an earlier attempt.  However, my nerves were calmed when I hit the 40 and I was able to finish with 45lbs.  Not often I lead over those two guys at any point in a meet and I knew they’d crush me later but I have to admit it was a nice birthday present to beat two guys I have so much respect for even if it were just one lift!

We next went to the Cyr lift.  Again Art led us off and got the party started.  Again Art, Mike, Dean, and Denny took their turns.  Art and Mike finished with 30lbs, Dean with 65lbs, and Denny at 85lbs.   I started with John’s starting lift which was 125lbs.  It was so tough I decided to end there.  John went on to tie his own USAWA best in this lift with 140lbs before missing 150lbs on a third.  Eric stole the show at this point and opened at 150lbs.  He then jumped to 170lbs and then made 180lbs.  This is special as he’s had an injured elbow that needed surgery.  So it was nice to see Eric pushing big weights again!

We ended with the Dumbbell to the shoulder.  I love this lift and had to fight Al Myers to even consider it.  I think it’s a really unique event and the small crown of spectators really seemed to enjoy watching this lift.  I think for spectators the slow, methodical style of this lift and the simplicity of the rules allows them to cheer and follow along as the lifter struggles to complete the lift.  However, for the lifter, this is one of the more painful lifts I have ever done and my sternum was sore for days after!  Art edged out Mike Murdock with a 60lb effort to Mike’s 50lbs.  Dean edged Denny with 130lbs to a 100lbs effort.  I opened with 200lbs then jumped to 235lbs which would be a personal best for me in competition.  After getting that I retired and set back to watch John and Eric battle it out!  They both made my best attempt of 235lbs look easy and jumped to 265lbs.  Both made it with some effort and then both jumped to 300lbs  This would tie the all time best in this event by Chris Anderson.  300lbs would also be a 35lb contest PR for Eric and 30lb contest PR for John.  So quite a jump.  Both athletes looked like they were wrestling a bear but both ended up successful!  Eric called for 305lbs which was all I could fit on my bar.  This was twice Eric has maxed out my equipment with the last time being on the Dinnie Stones.  John said he’d had enough so it was just Eric for the 4th and final attempt.  By now the Highland Games were completely over and my gym was filled to over flowing.  Eric  pulled the Dumbbell in and then tried to get a solid set on his belt to continental it up.  He seemed to slip on this a couple times and I was wondering if he were going to get it.  As soon as he got a solid set up on his belt I think we all knew that Eric was not going to fail but there was this little detail of finishing a very painful lift!  Eric bounced it up until Mike Murdock gave him the down signal.  I mention the fact Mike was judging as he is one of the toughest judges I’ve seen and if he says you got it….YOU GOT IT WITHOUT QUESTION!

It’s always nice to end a meet on a successful lift that breaks a record!  Several records were broken and I believe the Thor’s Hammer is an OTSM event that’s here to stay!  Everyone seemed to like it and after we were done the highland games throwers came to the platform to give it a go and this went on for another hour!

I had said I was going to crown two champions.  The overall weight lifted regardless of age or bodyweight and then the formula winner.  Eric Todd won the overall weight lifted with 525lbs.  John O’Brien was 2nd and I was third.  The age and weight adjust rankings go like this:  Eric 410.97 and still first, John 374.65 and still second, Thom 340.31 and still third.  Now we have a change.  Dean and Denny now flip at 4th and 5th with Denny at 251.33 and Dean at 220.92.  Art and Mike maintain their placings with Art’s adjusted total at 149.14 to Mike’s 128.23.

Results:

(age/weight/class)   Thor’s Hammer    Cyr Lift   Dumbbell to Shoulder   Total

Mike Murdock (74/180lb) 20lbs            30lbs (record)     50lbs (record)      100lbs

Art Montini (86/175lb)       15lbs             30lbs (record)    60lbs (record)      105lbs

Denny Habecker (71/195lb)25lbs            85lbs (record)     100lbs                   210lbs

Dean Ross (71/266lbs)         22.5lbs        65lbs (record)    130lbs (record)  217.5lbs

Thom Van Vleck (50/275lbs)45lbs        125lbs (record)    235lbs (record)  405lbs

John O’Brien (45/285lbs)   35lbs          140lbs                  300lbs (record)   475lbs

Eric Todd (39/257lbs)            40lbs          180lbs (record)  305lbs (record)    525lbs

Thanks to everyone that came and made my Birthday so much fun and a success.  I appreciate the guys being patient and waiting on the Highland Games to be over before we started the lifting.  A special award to Dean Ross who was the only guy that did both other than me!

The rest of the story….

by Eric Todd

Growing up, when we listened to the radio, it was always 61 Country (an AM station out of KC) or KMRN (a local AM station). On both of those stations, I enjoyed listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”. Last year, I wrote an article called “Where Do We Go?” that detailed some of the reasons that I feel our membership in the USAWA is not terribly substantial. Well, in this article, I would like to discuss “The Rest of the Story”, benefits of all-round that draw lifters to the USAWA.

The USAWA offers something for everyone. Everyone has their own strengths. There are a multitude of lifts in the USAWA across many different aspects of strength. There are grip lifts, heavy lifts, 2 man lifts, dumbbell lifts, and barbell lifts. There are eccentric lifts and very standard lifts (variations of the Olympic and powerlifting movements). So there are many different ways to demonstrate your strength. One should never be bored doing all-round. Even if you have an injury, or are limited in some way, you should be able to find some way to excel in the USAWA.

Secondly, the USAWA is drug tested. If you are new to the USAWA, you will probably be tested. IF you have dramatic increases in your lifts, you will probably be tested. Please take no offense. It is how we maintain the integrity of our drug free organization. I, for one, take a great deal of comfort knowing that I am lifting on an even playing field with other drug free lifters.

There is definitely camaraderie, a brotherhood, whilst lifting in the USAWA. It is a small enough organization that you get to know most of the good folks lifting within it. Because of this, the meets are not only competitions, they are like family reunions. I want to out lift the other competitors, but I am rooting for them all the while to lift their very best. It is the best environment to be lifting in.

Then there are the Heavy Lifts. No other organization has them, to my knowledge. If you want to inflate your ego a little, and swell up in the chest, do some Heavy lifting. Through no other means will you lift as much. I have done a ton or more in 4 lifts now, and I am not close to being the best of the best.

There is nothing more old school than lifting all-round. Because of that, you will get to lift in some of the coolest old school gyms you have ever seen. If you love the history behind weightlifting, some of our old school USAWA gyms are wealthy is weightlifting history. I know I have not been to all of them, but if you want to experience strength training and weightlifting history, visit Al’s Dino Gym, Clark’s championship gym, or the JWC Training Hall. I am sure there are many others in the USAWA.

The USAWA is a very unique organization for strength training. Sometimes it can be humbling, but is always a great time. For any strength enthusiast who has not tried competing in a USAWA meet, you are missing out. I suggest coming out. You will meet some great people and get to challenge yourself in ways you never had before.

Big T’s OTSM (First Update)

by Thom Van Vleck

I have some more information on OTSM being held at the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  Entry info and a link to the first story on the meet can be found under the USAWA Future Events section.

This meet will be held outside weather permitting.  If the weather is bad, we’ll move it inside.  Each lifter will be given the chance to look at the records and attempt one record attempt on a lift outside the competition once the meet is completed.  Additional records will be up to there being time.  I wanted to mention this in case there was anyone coming that planned on trying some record attempts.

I thought I might catch some flack regarding my decision to have two champs.  One based on the formulas and the other based solely on most weight lifted.  So far not a peep.  I think it will be interesting to see if they are different!  Just so you know, it’s not my plan to do this with the OTSM Championships.

In addition, This meet will happen regardless of the turn out.  The idea of having this in conjunction with a Highland Games meet is I hope to get some new members to sign up.  You will notice I don’t have a deadline.  All comers!  So don’t worry about the meet being cancelled due to low turnout.  THIS WILL HAPPEN!

Finally, bring some shade, sunscreen, and a folding chair.  It’s pretty wide open at my place so shade is tough to find.  I don’t sunburn and don’t notice it….but we’ve toasted a few of the fair skinned lifters and throwers at my place!

Hope to see you there!

OTSM Wrap Up for 2013

by Thom Van Vleck

Mike McIntyre, of the Jackson Weightlifting Club, lifts 315 pounds in the Anderson Press at the 2013 USAWA Old Time Strong Man Championships.

2013 was a great year for Old Time Strong Man (OTSM) in the USAWA.  We saw four meets and 38 total lifters.  Here are some highlights:

Eric Todd won two of the meets while Chad Ullom and Dan Wagman won one apiece.

Two of the meets included women lifters with Ruth Jackson and Whitney Piper being crowned as Champs.

As we look to grow in 2013 I hope that we can expand on the lifts we have.  It’s not as easy as you might think to come up with a lift for the OTSM.  First, it must be a lift or variation of a lift done by a great lifter of the past.  Second, it must not duplicate a lift already in the USAWA.  Finally, it must be a “loadable weight” event (you must be able to increase or decrease the weight so that attempts can be increased).  So, do some research and submit a lift to me or Al Myers and maybe you can lay claim to adding an event to OTSM someday.

Please consider hosting, competing in or attending an event.  If you like lifting, and like Strongman….then OTSM combines the best of both worlds.  The rules are flexible, making events easier to judge and easier for spectators to follow.  It is also easier for newcomers to catch on to the events and not find themselves losing a lift to a technicality.

OTSM Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

2013 USAWA OLD TIME STRONGMAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Group picture from the 2013 OTSM Championships.

The 3rd annual Old Time Strong Man (OTSM) Championship capped off a great year for OTSM in the USAWA. This year saw FOUR OTSM meets with 38 total competitors. I will try and do around up of the four meets at a later time, but for now here’s the lowdown for the OTSM Championships at the JWC Training Hall.

Let’s do something different and lead off with those that make the meet happen. John O’Brien and Laverne Myers were my loaders and this is no easy task at an OTSM meet, especially when it comes to the Dinnie lift where you have to load one implement at 75% of the other…John O’Brien manned the calculator and I think he needed his Ph.D to figure that out! Not a single mistake! Al Myers was on hand as the scorekeeper and supplied the lifters with information on the current records for the lifts. I acted as the head judge and I think I did a good job as almost every lift was passed and I got no dirty looks!

We had 7 lifters brave the bad weather to come to meet. I had a few cancellations due to the weather but I totally understand. The Dino Gym was well represented with Scott Tully and Mark Mitchell. Al Springs came up for the meet. Mike McIntyre was there to represent the JWC for me while Lance Foster and Eric Todd represented KC Strongman while Denny Habecker was there representing his own “Habecker’s Gym”.

We started with the Anderson Squat and it became apparent that Eric Todd was going to be the man to beat as he topped all the lifters by a wide margin going over 800lbs. It also became clear there was going to be a fight for 2nd and 3rd.

Eric Todd used a 355 pound Anderson Press help him to Overall Best Lifter at the 2013 OTSM Championships.

The second lift was the Anderson Press. Again, Eric Todd was the top lifter. But Mike McIntyre put up a great effort and after the results were entered Mike was in 2nd overall and Denny was 3rd. Mark Mitchell was a very close 4th. Eric was going to have to bomb the last event to lose but it was turning into a very exciting finish with the Dinnie lift coming up.

In the Dinnie Lift Al Springs opened at 185 and did something I don’t think I’ve ever seen. He jumped 200lbs for his 2nd attempt…and MADE IT! He also went on to make 405 for his third. Lance Foster his several PR’s and the Dinnie lift was a big one as he jumped over 50lbs from his last meet. Mark Mitchell lost his grip on his last attempt and then struggled through several attempts and with the clock ticking down finally found the groove. It’s always impressive to me when a lifter struggles mightily and then comes through in the end. Denny went three for three which ended up being important to him as he barely ended up edging Mike McIntyre in points….it was a fraction of a point in the end. Mike did all he could to hang onto 2nd including pulling a 710lb lift…impressive because he had NEVER done the lift before. Eric pulled the 710 for his second and wanted to try a PR….the only problem was we couldn’t fit enough weight on the bar! Eric had easily won the meed so it was inconsequential to the meet but I still felt bad that Eric couldn’t take a crack at his own USAWA record.

All the lifters got the “famous” JWC anvil trophies and also a long sleeve JWC Club shirt. Everyone seemed to have a good time and it seemed to be one of the most friendly meets I’ve been to as the lifters seemed to be joking and laughing a lot and there was a lot of encouragement when it was time to lift. It is times like those that I am proud to belong to the USAWA! I am already thinking about next year and I hope we can continue to grow. If you have any ideas for lifts, let me or Al Myers know. See you next year!

MEET RESULTS

2013 USAWA OTSM Championships
December 7th, 2013
JWC Training Hall, Kirksville, Missouri

Meet Director:  Thom Van Vleck

Announcer and Scorekeeper:  Al Myers

Official (1-official system used): Thom Van Vleck

Loaders: LaVerne Myers and John O’Brien

Lifts: Anderson Squat, Anderson Press, Dinnie Lift

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ PR DINN TOT PTS
Eric Todd 38 261 810 355 710 1875 1455.9
Denny Habecker 71 194 365 180 440 985 1182.0
Mike McIntyre 29 308 630 305 710 1645 1179.6
Mark Mitchell 53 307 550 250 600 1400 1146.1
Scott Tully 37 328 500 280 630 1410 981.8
Lance Foster 48 328 450 160 550 1160 880.4
Al Springs 71 196 190 100 405 695 828.7

EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORDS:

Denny Habecker: Anderson Squat 410 lbs.
Mike McIntyre: Anderson Press 315 lbs.
Lance Foster: Anderson Press 170 lbs.
Lance Foster: Dinnie Lift 575 lbs.

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  All lifts recorded in pounds.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS is adjusted points for age and bodyweight correction.

THE TRUTH MAY HURT (BUT IT’S STILL THE TRUTH)

BY DAVE GLASGOW

I LOVE WORKING WITH METAL.  CUTTING, GRINDING, FITTING, MELTING.  IT’S ALL FASCINATING TO ME.  HOWEVER, MOST OF ALL, I LOVE TO WELD.  NOW, I WILL GRANT YOU, I AM NOT THAT GREAT A WELDER.  I LEARNED MANY YEARS AGO FROM A MAN WHO WAS PRETTY DAMN GOOD AT FABRICATING THINGS.  HE COULD ‘EYE-BALL’  A BENT PIECE OF STEEL, AND IN NO TIME, HAVE IT BACK TO VERY NEAR PERFECT.  I ALWAYS MARVELED AT THAT AND ASKED HOW HE GOT SO GOOD AT IT.  HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID, ‘PATIENCE, PERSISTANCE AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT CONSISTANTLY.’

THE OTHER DAY, I WAS ATTEMPTING TO GET MY WELDER STARTED TO MAKE UP SOME STANDS I HAVE WANTED FOR A WHILE NOW.  TRY AS I MIGHT, I COULD NOT GET THE DAMN THING TO RUN.  I AM NO MECHANIC.  I KNOW THE RUDIMENTARY CONCEPTS BEHIND A COMBUSION ENGINE AND THAT IS IT.  I FINALLY PINNED IT DOWN TO A FUEL PROBLEM.  THAT ENGINE HAS NOT BEEN RUN ENOUGH OVER THE YEARS FOR IT TO PERFORM CORRECTLY!  BUILD UP IN THE FUEL TANK HAS CAUSED ALL SORTS OF CRUD AND SCALE TO BUILD UP IN IT AND HAS GOTTEN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK AND, THUS, INTO THE FUEL SYSTEM ITSELF.  NOW, I STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN THAT BLESSED THING TO GO, YET.  BUT, I WILL.  IT MAY TAKE SOME TIME BUT I WILL.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE POINT OF THIS WRITING.  I ACTUALLY HAVE TWO POINTS, HOWEVER, BARE WITH ME.  ONE THING AT A TIME.

I AM GUILTY OF THE BIGGEST SIN IN WEIGHT TRAINING(LIFTING).  I AM NOT VERY CONSISTANT.  SUBCONSCIOUSLY, I HAVE KNOWN THIS FOR YEARS.  ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE WAS TALKING TO ME ABOUT TRAINING AND HE SAID, ‘YOUR MAJOR PROBLEM IS YOU DON’T STAY WITH IT LONG ENOUGH TO DO YOU ANY REAL GOOD!’  BUSTED!!  THERE IT WAS.  THE TRUTH WAS SHOOVED DIRECTLY DOWN MY THROAT.  I KNEW IT, IT DID’NT FEEL REAL GOOD BUT SOMEONE ELSE HAD TO SAY IT TO ME FOR IT TO REALLY SINK IN. 

THAT THOUGHT POPPED INTO MY HEAD, AS I WAS STRUGGLING FUTILLY OVER THAT WELDER ENGINE, ‘THIS DAMN THING IS JUST AS I AM.  IT WOULD BE A PRETTY GOOD WELDER IF IT WERE USED MORE OFTEN!’  HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE HEARD, ‘DON’T USE IT, LOSE IT?’  WELL, HERE WAS A MECHANICAL AND HUMAN EXAMPLE, INCARNATE.

THE OTHER POINT I WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT IS THIS.  IN ORDER FOR THINGS TO WORK CORRECTLY IN OUR LIFTING, WE HAVE TO BE PATIENT AND PERSISTANT, WHICH MEANS WE MUST HAVE CONSISTANCEY OF TRAINING.  THIS MEANS YOU HAVE TO, SOMETIMES, ‘WILL’ YOURSELF TO THE GYM, WORK HARD AND ACCEPT THE SMALL GAINS THAT COME YOUR WAY.  AND BE GLAD FOR IT!!

THIS PAST YEAR, MY OWN TRAINING HAS BEEN MORE CONSISTANT THAN ANY OTHER TIME IN MY LIFE.  I HAVE A TRAINING PARTNER THAT NEVER MISSES A WORKOUT.  THERE ARE DAYS I AM SURE I WOULD JUST GO HOME IF I KNEW HE WAS’NT THERE, WAITING FOR ME.  GOOD TRAINING PARTNERS ARE AS IMPORTANT AS ANY EQUIPMENT YOU COULD EVER PURCHASE.

AND, GUESS WHAT?!  LAST SPRING, I POSTED A LIFE TIME BEST SQUAT!  EVEN AT MY AGE!!  I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THAT.  HOWEVER, IT WAS JUST PROOF POSITIVE THAT YOU HAVE TO BE REGULAR IN YOUR TRAINING.  VERY SIMPLY PUT,  ………..‘SHOW UP, SHUT UP, GET TO WORK’!

‘PATIENCE, PERSISTANCE AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT CONSISTANTLY’.  THAT OLE MAN KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT!

I SURE DO MISS HIM.

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT -

DINO GYM CHALLENGE
“Presenting a Challenge Left by Warren Lincoln Travis”

The Coney Island Strongman, Warren Lincoln Travis.

Warren Lincoln Travis has always been one of my favorite Old Time Strongmen. WLT was the consummate circus Old Time Strongman, performing strength shows at the World’s Circus Side Show in Coney Island for over 25 years. He was one of the few strongmen of that era to keep his strength exhibitions in the United States.  In an interview with Sig Klein, Travis told him that he had many opportunities to travel abroad and perform, but had made a promise to his mother that he would not travel overseas to Europe!  Showdowns with other famous strongmen of that era, like Sandow and Saxon, never materialized for Travis.  At one time a match between Saxon and Travis about happened when Saxon was in New York performing for the Ringling Brothers Circus. WLT trained hard for that encounter.  WLT declared that he knew he could never beat Arthur Saxon in the Bent Press or the Foot Press, but was confidant he could out do him in the Harness Lift, Back Lift, and the Finger Lifts. 

WLT was also a strongman who excelled in competitive all round lifting.  He loved the one arm lifts, and was truly an all round weightlifter in addition to a strongman.  Some of his best all round lifts were: Pullover and Press 290 pounds, Bent Press 270 pounds, Clean and Jerk with Dumbbells 229 pounds, Dumbbell Curl 170 pounds, and two dumbbells Continental Jerk 260 pounds.

Travis was most known for his endurance lifting.  He set several records for repetition-lifting in the Back Lift and Harness Lift.  Part of WLT’s legacy is that he left a 10 lift “Challenge to the World” that he completed.  This challenge was left in his will, with the first person to accomplish it after his death receiving his prized jewel-studded belt!  No one has accomplished this “challenge” yet!  It has some hard stipulations – in addition to performing the 10 challenge lifts one must do the entire challenge in under 30 minutes and succeed with it for 10 straight years!!!  The basis of  the lifts for this year’s Dino Challenge comes from WLT’s “10 Lift  Challenge to the World”.

Warren Lincoln Travis – Challenge to the World

1. Take a 100 pound barbell from the floor with both hands, and press it overhead 10 times while seated (must be done in 30 seconds)
2. Take a pair of 90 pound dumbbells from the side of the body to the shoulders, and press it to arms length overhead.
3. Teeth lift from the floor, hands behind neck, 350 pounds.
4. Finger Lift from the floor 350 pounds with one finger, eight times in five seconds.
5. Finger lift from the floor 560 pounds with one finger once.
6. Two hand grip lift, straddling the weight, 700 pounds twenty times in ten seconds.
7. Hand and Thigh Lift 1600 pounds once.
8. Back Lift 3660 pounds once.
9. Harness Lift 3580 pounds once.
10. Back Lift 2000 pounds, 250 times in seven minutes.

Warren Lincoln Travis was born as Roland Morgan in Brooklyn (he was adopted), New York on February 21st, 1875.  He died July 13th, 1941.

MEET DETAILS:

Meet Director:  Al Myers, phone #785-479-2264
Meet Date:  Saturday, January 18th, 2014, 10 AM – 4 PM
Location: Dino Gym, 1126 Eden Road, Abilene, Kansas, 67410
Sanction: USAWA, must be a member to compete
Weigh-ins: 9-10 AM day of the meet
Divisions: Mens and Womens
Awards: None
Entry: There is no entry form and no entry fee, but I must be told a week in advance if you plan to attend. I will have a teeth bit available for use – but it will shared by all and may not be to your mouth size. I recommend you bring your own to use if this is an issue to you.

Lifts:

Teeth Lift
Finger Lift – Middle Finger
Kennedy Lift
Harness Lift
Back Lift

These were 5 of Warren Lincoln Travis’s favorite lifts.  This meet will allow you to see how you “stack up” against one of the best U.S. Old Time Strongmen in history.  If anyone wants to attempt to duplicate the “10 Lift Challenge” that WLT left as his legacy – please let me know and I’ll make arrangements for it.

Top 4 Questions to Ask a Strength Athlete

by Eric Todd

I have been competing in strength sports for a number of years now.  Anyone who knows me knows that is what I do.  Though the people I associate with outside the strongman and weightlifting community are for the most part a well-meaning group of people, I sometimes have gotten some interesting questions from them.  Here are some of my favorites:

1)      Why do you do that?  I usually get this when a person first finds out the arena in which I compete in, or find that I lifted x amount in a certain lift.  Definitely when I set the necklift record.   The arrogant response is “If you have to ask, you would not understand anyhow.”  The fact is, many people cannot understand this, because they cannot understand the quality of being competitive, or the drive to be the best at something.  They are satisfied with living in mediocrity.  That is fine for them, just not for me.

2)      Aren’t you afraid of hurting your back or Aren’t you afraid of getting a hernia? (these both kind of fall under the same category)  No.  I am not.  I choose not to live in fear.  As it turns out I have done both and continue to lift pretty heavy, so I guess there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place.

3)      Are all the guys that compete on steroids?  No.  I am not (I assume that is why you are asking).   I know there are others who are clean.  However, in strongman I kept getting surprised by how many dirty lifters there were. Even some that I assumed were clean that were not.  I guess they better find some better stuff.   That is one reason that the USAWA is a HUGE breath of fresh air.  It is nice to lift against other clean lifters.

4)      Why haven’t I seen you on TV?  This is one of the more absurd questions, in my book.  While I have competed with the best, and have beaten some of the best at one time or another, at 5’11”, with small joints and no drugs, there is really only so far my work ethic and genetics was going to take me in the strongman arena.  I went all out, but this is the reality.  Secondly, I always thought of it like this:  I do strongman events on Saturdays.  Other guys go golfing on Saturdays.  They even might be pretty serious about their golf game.    Would it make a whole lot of sense for me to ask them why I have not seen them on TV competing in the Masters or something?  Competing  in the Masters or World’s Strongest Man is for the truly elite, the best of the best.  He hasn’t made it to that point, and neither have I.  It is that simple, and not something it seems I would have to explain.  It is not like I am one of  only 13 guys in the world who do strongman and the other 12 are the ones who go to Worlds.

Anyhow, those are my top 4 questions that the layman feels necessary to ask someone who competes in strength sports.  Some are kind of funny, and some just sad.  Aside from the steroids question, I assume they don’t mean much by them.  It is just humorous sometimes to realize how we are perceived by those on the outside.

The Guy in the Gym

by Eric Todd

A number of years ago, when I was in my late teens, my sister was married to a real tool shed who fancied himself a bad mother. I  will from here forward refer to him as “Dick”.  He was always trying to impress us with stories about being some kind of a tai kung flung master whom his sensei considered one of the most dangerous men in the world.  A pretty big dude, but I later decided that while perhaps he may have been the baddest man in the dojo, it was one that catered to kindergarteners. Well, one day, my brother and I were wrestling in the yard as we often did for conditioning and fun, when “Dick” came up and grabbed me.  He clearly was in the mood to show who the alpha-male was, so I dug in with some underhooks and suplexed him to the ground.  He lay there whimpering, not wanting any more.

Another  time, when I was home on sebatical from college, I was lifting in my parent’s  basement.  I was warming up on bench with 225 and “Dick” came down the stairs.  He cockily indicated that he wished to lift with me.  I was fine with that, so I traded places with him to give him a spot.  Then, as I unracked the weight, it plummeted to “Dick’s” chest and pinned him down  to the bench.  I found myself deadlifting all 225 pounds off of him.  I was embarrassed for him and ashamed of him, so I suggested that he needed to warm up a little.  We dropped the weight down to 170ish.  Same result.  Finally, we dropped it down to one wheel, 135.  “Dick” was able to grind out a rep.  After that he made a hasty retreat upstairs.

From that time on, “Dick” no longer challenged me during the remainder of his tenure as my sister’s husband. On many occasions after that,however, I did get to hear about the proverbial “guy in the gym”.  This guy was amazing!  His arms were definitely bigger than mine.    When Dick found out how much I was benching, this guy was doing almost double.  I am pretty sure he could curl the whole stack on the nautilus machine.  When I asked how much he could squat, “Dick” really didn’t have a frame of reference, so I am pretty sure he said like 1000 pounds, which at the time was world record poundage. 

I have said it before, I like physical strength.  But in my eyes, it pales in comparison to what lies between your ears.  I really do not care what you can lift, if you give your all in whatever arena you are in, you are a strong individual.  If you are bested, you will continue to come back and try again and again.  Maybe winning, maybe losing, but you don’t give up.  Tenacity. 

Then there are those weak minded cowards  who, when bested, not only give up, they also try and find a way to bring he who has bested him down as well.   We have all heard about the guy in the gym.  The one at “Dick’s” gym may or may not have existed.  But it is for guys like “Dick” that I choose to while my time with doers.  Guys who enter the arena.  Those who tell themselves that the body can handle things that the mind tries to tell it aren’t possible.  Guys who believe.  Life is too short to listen to guys like “Dick”.

Founding USAWA Principles

by Al Myers

I’ve been appreciating the comments on the USAWA Discussion Forum recently in regards to ET’s editorial story the other day about problems and issues the USAWA faces in stimulating new memberships.   I have to admit – most of ET’s sentiments I have felt at some time or another.  Our organization is very unique in several ways compared to other lifting organizations.  Some of the comments in the forum suggested ideas that sure sound good on paper (and would mimic the policies of other established lifting organizations), but they go against the founding principles of the USAWA.  I know there are several new members to the USAWA that are not “in tune” to the historical philosophies of the USAWA, so I want to go over them today.  These were foundation Principles of the USAWA, established by Bill Clark and the initial founding members of the USAWA 26 years ago when the initial USAWA bylaws were written.  These ideas were the groundwork of the USAWA, and have been maintained throughout  the years.   Here they are – the 5 founding principles of the USAWA:

1.  Contest lifts not currently contested in other lifting organizations.

The concept of the “all -rounds” was to offer a competitive avenue for contesting lifts not being offered by other lifting organizations, ie powerlifting and Olympic lifting.  These means the Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift, Clean and Jerk, and the Snatch are not eligible to be USAWA lifts.  This statement is and has been the VERY FIRST rule in the USAWA rulebook since the beginning.  The intention here was to offer competition in lifts “outside” of the other forms of lifting – and to recognize what was called the “odd lifts”.  The idea of this is to have an organization that is not just another form of powerlifting or Olympic lifting.

2.  Drug Free Organization

From the beginning drug free competition within the USAWA was a goal.  Drug Free competition is only insured by actually having drug testing occur.  I know at times in the past this had to be questioned (adequate drug testing), but now we have one of the best drug testing programs of any lifting organization.  We test at many meets, and a wide range of lifters are tested. 

3.  Use of minimal supportive equipment.

The initial intention of the USAWA was to have an organization that only included the use of a belt. No wraps, no suits, no anything else.  But this principle was compromised with the addition of wrist wraps within a couple of years.  The argument for wrist wraps was for wrist protection doing one arm swings, not wrist support.  This “opened the door” to allowing wrist wraps for all lifts.  Next came the use of knee wraps for the squats.  However, the USAWA for the most part has maintained this original principle and has not allowed the wide range of supportive equipment that is now available to the lifters.  

4.  Age and bodyweight corrections.

From the beginning, the idea in the USAWA was to have all competitors competing against each other with formula adjustments.  This includes using the Lynch Formula to correct for bodyweight, and the Age Allowance Percent for age correction.   I won’t get into my views here on whether I feel these corrections are “fair” – but just making the point that this was an original principle that the USAWA was founded on.

5.  Affiliate with IAWA for World Competitions.

From the day of the official organization of the USAWA, the IAWA was formed as well to give international competition.  However, the USAWA has always had their own set of working bylaws separate from the IAWA.    With time things have “evolved” within the USAWA to have some differences between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK), but integrity was kept in the main rules and concepts which has allowed this peaceful union over the past 26 years.   It is important  that when changes are made in the USAWA, we must always remember our IAWA affiliation and how this may affect our relationship within IAWA.  Making changes about  ”little things” within the USAWA is one thing – but when “big issues” are addressed the decision is much larger than the USAWA.   The last thing we want to do is damage our IAWA affiliation.

I may not fully agree with  all of these founding principles of the USAWA – but I will support them because they are what our organization was formed from.  Much like the articles in the United States Constitution  – they were set for a reason by our founding fathers and should be respected and not changed or challenged.     I just wanted to write this editorial because I know people often wonder how I stand on these issues.  Well, the above Founding Principles are “set in concrete” in my opinion and should not be changed  EVER within the USAWA.  If we do change them we might as well change our name as well – because we wouldn’t be the same USAWA that our founding fathers envisoned for us.

Where do we go?

by Eric Todd

The USAWA has been around for 26 years.  To my knowledge, there is no other governing body for all-round lifting in the USA, and only a small splinter group in the UK outside of our world organization, the IAWA.  Anybody who is anybody in all-round in America is a member of the USAWA.  So why is it, that after 26 years we still have fewer than 100 members?  I believe there are several reasons behind this, which I will address in this essay.  So, we need to decide if we like the status quo.  If not, do we want to grow, and if so, how?

People do not like to get out of their comfort zone.  In most of the other strength disciplines, there are a handful of movements that you must become proficient at.  So, an individual may find one area that he excels in, and stick with that.  I would say the vast majority of competitors find one discipline they are comfortable in and then do not deviate from it  The USAWA has over 200 lifts to tackle, some of them quite unorthodox.  So, most lifters choose to stick to their bench press meets, or Oly lifting, or even strongman in order not to risk failure in competing at something they are not familiar with.  I would argue that the USAWA has something for everyone, so most anyone can find success in all-round.  In addition to that, I would argue that in order to be a true strength athlete, you need to get outside your comfort zone.  My forte was always strongman, but I would compete in powerlifting, all-round, highland, and even an oly meet just to challenge myself, to broaden my horizons, to grow, and to be a true strength athlete.  All-round pretty much affords you that opportunity all blanketed in one organization.

There is not a lot of glamour in all-round.  Our meets, including our championships and national meets are held in small gyms or  at people’s private facilities, and the crowd of spectators is a handful of family members.  There are no magazine covers, no opportunity to “go pro”, no money, no live streams, and often not even a cheap plastic trophy to lug with you when you go home.  Definitely not the place for trophy hunters. 

People in the US have not been exposed to all-round.  People recognize the benchpress, squat and deadlift of powerlifting.  They are familiar with the men in kilts “flipping telephone poles” in highland games.  They have seen the mighty men during the Olympics snatch and clean and jerk.  They have come across world’s strongest man on ESPN whilst flipping through channels.  So, if I compete in one of those disciplines, they have a frame of reference to what I am doing. The VAST majority of people have never heard of all-round.  Nor have they ever heard of a Steinborn or a harness lift.  Unfortunately, if they were to read the requirements of a few of our lifts, they would probably have no desire to try them.

Furthermore, we are a raw, drug tested organization.  There is no possible way to artificially inflate your numbers in the USAWA.  There are  people whose egos cannot handle lifting less than what they were able to do when artificially aided.

One last reason I will mention that I feel we struggle to draw competitors is “the formula”.  I know I have walked away from my share of meets irritated by it.  I have out-lifted people by 1000 and more pounds in a meet, only to be beaten by “the formula”.  If you are  a 300+ pound behemoth,  you will struggle to find great success in all-round.  Though I understand the need for a formula to compare across divisions, I feel that we lose a lot of the bigger lifters because  of ours. 

So, the question remains-do we want to grow?  I spoke with Al about this on an occasion or two.  My opinion is this, take it for what it is worth.  We do not want to grow at all costs.  Growth is good, but we don’t just need more lifters.  We need more of the “right” lifters.  When I started competing in strongman, it was a small organization.  The competitors knew and respected each other.  We competed hard against each other, but would root for the other guy because we respected him and wanted to beat him at his best.   We would travel to train with each other, eat dinner with each other, email or call each other about training, competitions, etc.  This is kind of how I feel all-round is in its current state.    You go to a meet, and it is like a family reunion.  The guys you are competing with have probably been tested, and even if it has been a while, you know their character well enough at this point to know they are clean.  You are treated with respect amongst the lifters as well as within the organization.  When strongman started growing, it eventually drew some individuals I did not like being around.  Not collectively, but there was a lot more than before.  There was a lot more narcicism, more ego-centrism.  It became much less a brotherhood, and more just a sport. 

So, growth can be a double edged sword.  I know I hate to see meets that get only 2 or 3 lifters or have to be cancelled for lack of competitors.  And with so few competitors in our pool, this is going to happen. I would like for every meet to have 15+ competitors, competition within the divisions, and awards for the competitors.  I would love to see increased membership numbers helping us increase our organization financially.  But do we want to sacrifice the integrity of our sport as well the great camaraderie within to accomplish this? 

I, for one, do not have any answers.  However, I am interested to see what you all say.  I am just hoping to create some dialogue that could potentially  serve to help guide our direction into the future.

JWC Redesigned Logo

by Thom Van Vleck

The New JWC logo.

The Jackson Weightlifting Club is one of the oldest Clubs in the USAWA…and that’s saying a lot because there are some old clubs!  To me, what sets the JWC apart is it very much is a family club.  Sure, there are lots of non family members, but the core has been my family and for over 85 years there has been a member of my family at the lead.  While I hope that continues, I just hope it’s around another 85 years regardless of who is running it!  I am pretty proud to keep the tradition going of lifting for not only strength of body, but strength of mind, spirit, and character.  That’s why on the logo below that adorns the front of the shirt it says “Strength, Faith, Honor, and Wisdom”.  I would say that lifting is more about life than winning awards for the JWC…..but awards are nice, too!

Logo that's on the front of the new JWC shirts

The anvil that is on the both sides is a silhouette of the Original “Grandpa Jackson” Anvil that sits in my gym.  Many will remember the story I’ve probably told too many times of my Great Grandfather lifting that anvil to impress his kids, then my grandfather turning to weight training to achieve that same feat….then that turning into a tradition of lifting in our family.  And yes, 1928 was the year my grandfather started lifting with his future brother in law and his friends that led to the formation of the the JWC.  While the name “Jackson Weightlifting Club” wasn’t coined until 1957, I consider 1928 as the date the idea was born…..which was more important than the name.  That idea was a man could use weights to make himself better in all ways….not just physical strength.

The "old" logo in use since the 90's.

The Logo drawn by my Uncle Phil in the late 50's that inspired all the future logos.

Here are the old logos just to let you compare.  I have tried to stay true to the original as I want to always honor those that came before me and paved the way.  I know I’ve shared the symbolism of it before, but since I’ve made an update, I wanted to share again.  I plan on having the shirts available at my Highland Games in October and the Old Time Strongman Championships this fall (looking at a December date).  So if you like them, come and compete and get one as a meet shirt!  I know a shirt won’t make my lift more (well….unless it was a bench shirt…but who likes those!)…but when I wear this shirt, I feel extra inspired to not let the tradition down!

Joe the Turk Meet POSTPONED!

by Thom Van Vleck

The Joe the Turk meet set for the Macomb Salvation Army Gym for this weekend has been postponed due to a terrible flood in the gym.  They are still cleaning up and the decision was made to postpone the meet.   Updates will be given regarding a “make up date” at a later time.

Here is a story on the devastation and how you can help our brothers and sisters out!

Last fall I went over to help judge a meet in Macomb, Illinios.  It was the “Macomb Fall Record Breakers” meet and was being put on my Tim Piper.  Tim needed some help and I was glad to help out.  He was also donating some weights to the weightlifting club I am the staff adviser for at the University I work at (the Osteoblasters Weightlifting Club).  I had never been to the Salvation Army Gym in Macomb and was quite pleased when I got there!  It was “Old School” with tons of old equipment, platforms to do “REAL” lifting off of, and tons of trophies and pictures from some 40 years of operation.  It was a gym that any USAWA member would have loved to train in and every “Planet Fitness” members nightmare!  The “Salvation Army Gym” is also a USAWA official club and are currently in good standing.  That’s why it was such sad news to hear that the recent heavy rains had flooded the gym which is located in the basement of the local Salvation Army.

At least 2 feet of water filled the gym!

There were plenty of pictures on facebook but sometimes when you have been somewhere you can appreciate just how bad something is.  This particular club had a huge number of photos that went from floor to ceiling in some areas and a lot of equipment that ended up under water.   Here are some photos to give you a “before” and “after” perspective.

Here is a "before photo" with Tim Piper spotting Whitney.

The same corner of the gym underwater!

The clean up has begun and the water has been pumped out.  I understand they are taking photos that were water damaged and trying to scan them to make new ones.  There will no doubt be a lot of work left to do and I’m unsure if there was any insurance.  Most insurance won’t pay for flooding anyway unless you have a special flood policy and most don’t as it’s expensive and I’m sure a Salvation Army couldn’t afford it.

The water has been pumped out, leaving a huge mess!

Keep these guys in your thoughts and prayers.  This isn’t some fancy, high dollar gym….it’s a Salvation Army!  If you can help them out by either providing labor or sending a donation I’m sure it would be appreciated!  This gym needs to go on as it provides a workout area for many who couldn’t afford it otherwise.  It’s the type of place I got started in when I couldn’t afford the fancy gym membership!  I’m sure many of you can relate.  Plus, Tim and Dawn are such great people who work so hard to bring meets and weight training to others.  Let’s help’em out!  You can send a donation to Tim Piper at: Tim Piper, 15401 E. 1750th Street, Macomb, IL 61455 or you can call him at 309 221 0276.

Wilbur Miller

by Al Myers

Wilbur Miller pulling a 725# deadlift in York in 1965 (above), and then close to 50 years later pulling a 457# deadlift in 2012 at the Dino Gym (below).

Anyone involved with the All-Rounds in the midwest knows “the name” of Wilbur Miller.   I am very fortunate to know Wilbur personally, and he has been to my gym several times now.  He is an ICON amongst past strength athletes in the state of Kansas, and if I was voting,  I would vote him as the GREATEST ALL ROUND STRENGTH ATHLETE ever from the state of Kansas.  I know that’s saying alot, as there have been several others worthy of this distinction as well.  The reason I’m “putting my vote” on Wilbur is his diversity in strength and how he excelled in each discipline, whether it was Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting,  Grip, or All Round.  Recently, Wilbur was at the Dino Gym when some of the guys were doing Strongman, and he  commented to me how he wished that was around when he was younger.  I’m betting if it was, and Wilbur competed in Strongman – he would have excelled in that as well!

I’m glad to see Wilbur back into “action” in the USAWA.   The USAWA has alot to thank Wilbur Miller for.  He was a big part of the “grassroot movement” that started the USAWA and the IAWA.  At the time (late 60’s to mid 80’s), there were no organized associations for All Round Weightlifting like we have now with the USAWA, and the only option for this type of lifting (then known primarily as Odd Lifting) was within the Missouri Valley Region IV by Bill Clark promotions.  Wilbur often took part in these, and set at the time many Region IV records.   These records did not transfer into the modern day USAWA record book.   But if they did – many of Wilbur’s records would STILL be standing.

A little over a year ago, Thom Van Vleck wrote a nice biography about Wilbur for MILO (December 2011, Volume 19, Number 3).   I’ve told Thom that I thought this was one of his best Milo stories ever, but I know I am biased because of the respect I have for Wilbur and what he has done for All Round Weightlifting.  I want to highlight just a few of the things that Thom revealed about Wilbur in that story. However, if you are interested I recommend you order that issue of MILO, and it is worth it just for Thom’s story alone.

Wilbur was born in 1932 in Cimarron, Kansas.   That is the reason he acquired the nickname of “the Cimarron Kid”.  He was a gifted High School athlete – excelling in all sports.  It’s hard to believe but Wilbur ran the mile in Highschool.  He ran a best of 4 minutes, 33.6 seconds. In the state finals, he placed third behind two runners, Wes Santee and Billy Tidwell, who both went on to International Fame as World Class milers (that tidbit of trivia was not in Thom’s story, but rather told to me by Bill Clark).  Wilbur became interested in lifting at the age of 23, after injuring his back in a horse riding accident.  What started out  as physical therapy to recover from an injury turned into passion that lead to lifting greatness!  Wilbur was always known for having outstanding technique.  Thom titled his MILO story this way “Wilbur Miller: Lifting Perfection” because Wilbur was well-known for having perfect lifting technique.  Wilbur had a “story book” lifting career that propelled him into the Powerlifting Hall of Fame and the Weightlifting Hall of Fame.  My feeling is the only thing missing is that he should also be in the All Round (USAWA)  Hall of Fame!  After all, it was lifters like him (and a few others) that set the “groundwork” for the future of the USAWA.  Wilbur stills trains on York bars and plates that he purchased when he was a young man. I have a picture displayed in the Dino Gym that is “personally autographed” by Wilbur.  It is one of my favorites.  One of the reasons for this is that is because the bar is “fully loaded” with straps holding the plates on because there wasn’t enough room for the collars!  At the time the main plates available were Deep Dish York 45’s with wide-flanged rims which took up a lot of room on the bar.  Thom made this comment in his story which I think is worth repeating, “Some have claimed that the reason York quit making the deep-dish 4 and went to a thinner, sleeker version was because of Wilbur’s ability to max out the amount of weight on the bar with his monster deadlifts.”   Thom then went onto to say, “How would you like to be the reason the biggest maker of weights in the US had to change its design!”

This is that "autographed picture" in the Dino Gym that shows the plates loaded to the end of the bar!

Wilbur’s best lifts in competition were: 725# deadlift, 320# clean and press, 320# snatch (split-style), and a 385# clean and jerk.  Wilbur often competed in the 240-250 lb bodyweight range, which often put him as very light heavyweight because this was at the time that the heavyweight class started at 110 kilograms.  He often gave up over 100 pounds bodyweight to his competitors!  His 725 pound deadlift was an All Time Deadlift record at the time, and was done in 1965 in York, Pennsylvania.  He weighed 245 pounds in that meet.  I did some research on his best All Round lifts and this is what I found from an old Region VI Missouri Valley Record List.  Below is just a few of his records at the time:

LIFT RECORD
Middle Fingers Deadlift 320 pounds  (1983)
Hack Lift 650 pounds (1963)
Jefferson Lift 650 pounds (1963)
2-Dumbbell Deadlift 520 pounds (1984)
Strict Curl 180 pounds (1964)
Abdominal Raise 105 pounds (1962)
Miller Clean and Jerk 135 pounds (1979)

That last lift mentioned, the Miller Clean and Jerk, was named after Wilbur by Bill Clark in 1979.  It is that “dreaded lift” where a Clean and Jerk is performed by the middle fingers only!  It is a very painful lift!   Someday I will get Wilbur to demonstrate this lifted named after him for a picture.  I asked him to do it for me this past year, but he said it’s been awhile since he did it and he wanted to “train it” for a while before the photo op! I bet he’ll match his “bar and two plates’ for me like he did over 30 years ago!!!

Wilbur Miller (left) and USAWA President Denny Habecker (right) at the 2012 Dino Gym Challenge.

Wilbur currently has 7 records in the USAWA.  Like I said, those earlier Mo-Valley records didn’t carry over so these are records he has set recently.  All of them are in the 75-79 age group, 100-105 kg weight class.  I would like to see the lifter that can break these marks!!!

LIFT RECORD
12″ Base Deadlift 457 pounds (100kg class)
12″ Base Deadlift 450 pounds (105kg class)
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 397 pounds (100kg class)
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 350 pounds (105kg class)
Deadlift – Heels Together 419 pounds (100kg class)
Deadlift – Heels Together 400 pounds (105kg class)
12″ Base Squat 320 pounds (100kg class)

I have MANY MORE things and stories I could tell about Wilbur here, but I don’t want my story to be longer than the one Thom did for MILO (another reminder – BUY that issue!).  I want to close this by saying a few words about Wilbur as a person.  He is an extremely modest and humble person and it takes a bit to get him to talk about his accomplishments in the lifting game.   It is very obvious that he truly loves weightlifting and the people involved in it.  When he’s been at the Dino Gym, he’s “all smiles” and just loves to be part of day.  He’s always offering words of encouragement to the other lifters. In today’s world of BIG EGOS and SELF PROMOTERS, there are  few around anymore like Wilbur Miller who lifts  for the “love of the sport”.  I consider him a great weightlifting role model and I try everyday to have the attitude and character that he has shown.

REMINDER – Joe the Turk Meet

by Tim Piper

The date is quick approaching for the “Joe the Turk” OTSM meet in Macomb IL.  Because I know you are all going to need to refuel at the meet the Salvation Army will be selling lunch at the meet.  They haven’t decided what they will sell yet but last meet we hosted they had pulled pork and homemade cookies and brownies.  All the funds go directly to supporting the Salvation Army programs and they typically sell for FAR TOO LITTLE in my opinion. 

 We have our unique awards already in and I think they will be not only interesting but useful as well. 

Please send entries soon so they can plan their food purchases.  Hope to see you all there.

Ronnie Coleman vs. Roy Mason

by Al Myers

The other day on Facebook I saw this YouTube Video for the first time.  Actually I was surprised I hadn’t seen it before as I like to watch YouTube Videos of any type of lifting. It featured an unlikely duo competing in a deadlifting competition   - Ronnie Coleman and Roy Mason.  EVERYONE knows 8-TIME Mr. Olympia (1998-2005) Ronnie Coleman, but I bet just a few have heard of the elder deadlifting machine Roy Mason.  I’m going to start this story off with the video (which you MUST WATCH) as a teaser, then I’ll give a little USAWA history lesson as it applies to both of these great strength athletes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeGZOmtXpBU&feature=player_embedded

Under the caption of this video you will notice that mention was made that this was Ronnie Coleman’s first powerlifting competition. I have no idea how many more he ever did as his future in Bodybuilding fame was about to ignite.  He sure looked the part in that meet.  Also, you will notice by the date of the video the meet was contested on 1/29/1994.  You may ask “what’s the significance of that?” . Well, to most “not much” except if you are interested in the history of the USAWA, then it becomes a very important trivia question that you can quiz your workout partners on during an evening training session.  That meet was the Fourth Annual Texas Deadlift Classic held in Alvarado, Texas directed by the famed All Rounder Joe McCoy and SANCTIONED THRU THE USAWA! I checked back through old memberships rosters and Ronnie Coleman is indeed listed as a USAWA member for that year of 1994.  This was also the only USAWA meet that he competed in. His 728# deadlift from that meet is listed as the overall record in the 12″ base deadlift for the 120kg class.  It is the TOP 12″ base deadlift listed in the USAWA record list.  This came from the meet report published in the Strength Journal, “All lifts were done with the 12 inch maximum heel spacing and done with two hands.  All were judged by USAWA officials Howard Prechtel, Noi Phumchaona, Bob Cox, Phil Anderson, and Joe McCoy.”  After watching this video, I would question “how much” the 12 inch heel spacing was really adhered to – but I’ll let you make your own decisions on that!!

Now onto the story of Roy Mason and his ties to the USAWA.  Credit to getting Roy involved in the USAWA goes to Joe McCoy.  This was said by Bill Clark in an edition of a 1994 Strength Journal, “Roy Mason is a deadlifting wonder. At the age of 76, he beats most men 40 years younger in the regular deadlift.  The Red Wing, Minnesota resident has long thrilled powerlifting crowds with his rare ability. Joe McCoy has twice brought Roy to the platform in sanctioned exhibitions to join the USAWA record list – and Roy has done so in amazing fashion.  Roy not only lifts amazing poundages, but he preaches a sermon and excites the crowd as he lifts.” 

Roy Mason currently holds 3 individual USAWA records: 485 lbs. in the 12″ base deadlift in the 75 age group/70 kg class from the meet in the video (this is ALSO an overall record in the 70 kilogram class -  SIMPLY AMAZING!) and a record in the middle fingers deadlift of 237 lbs. in the 75 age/70 kg BWT class from a meet on 4/10/1994.  He also holds one TEAM RECORD.  This was done after the deadlift competition from the video in which he teamed up with Bill Decker to pull a Two-man Deadlift of 661 pounds in the 75 age group/75 KG BWT class.  This was covered in a past blog I wrote ( http://www.usawa.com/summary-of-usawa-team-records/) and contains a great picture of their record setting effort, which is a record that I think will be a long  while before anyone EVER BREAKS.  Following that Texas Deadlift Classic, Roy also performed these finger deadlifts for exhibition:  330.5 lbs. in the two fingers deadlift (ring and middle), 381.5 lbs. in the three fingers deadlift (no thumb or little fingers), and finally 463 lbs. in the deadlift with all but the little fingers.

Roy Mason's book, "The Life of a Truck-Driver Preacher and Weight Lifter for Christ".

I first met Roy in the mid-90’s when he stopped at our gym in Salina to give an evangelistic strength performance.  Roy Mason spent his life as a long haul truck driver and traveling evangelist spreading the word of Christianity. He used his God-given deadlifting skills to reinforce his testimony.  Certainly he made an impact on everyone in the room while he delivered his message -  and we listened in awe.   He was a gifted speaker and had a high degree of modesty.  I never remember him once bragging (or even mentioning) his lifting accomplishments during his testimony. As he went across the country on his truck runs, he would stop at many places along the way to spread his Christian beliefs.  I bought his book, “The Life of a Truck-Driver Preacher and Weightlifter for Christ” on that day and I have read it several times since then. These are some of Roy’s words from  the introduction of his book,” I am very proud to be called the truck-driver preacher.  I consider it a great honor that God has called me to be a spokesman of his. Also, what a privilege to proclaim the word of God to each and everyone that I am privileged to meet.”   His book contains a reflection of his life experiences, interactions he had with other people he met giving his testimonies,  and how it all has affected him spiritually. He spends very little time in his book talking about his weight lifting accomplishments, and it’s only at the very end.  I have no idea if this book of his is still available.  It’s a simple book with no color photos and bound with a plastic binder, but a great source of Christian inspiration.

However, I already knew of Roy’s great lifting accomplishments when I heard him speak.  When I started lifting in the early 80’s I remember reading his name from National Masters Powerlifting Championship meet results and other big meets and his unbelievable deadlifts at an age of over 60.  I’ll never forget seeing him on the cover of the July, 1986 issue of POWERLIFTING USA.  In that U.S.P.F. National Masters, he deadlifted 562 pounds at 68 years of age!!  I had to do “some digging” but I found that issue of PL USA so I could include that “cover shot”  in this story so you would believe me!

Roy Mason on the cover of July, 1986 issue of POWERLIFTING USA.

Take the time to watch that video again.  I heard Joe McCoy several times yelling encouragement in the background for both lifters. I also think that YouTube Video clip came from a video that was taken by Joe during the meet.   That meet will go down as “one of the classics” in USAWA history.  Thank you Joe McCoy for making it happen. 

Roy Mason died in 2005 at the age of 87 years – but he will not be forgotten.

Championship Entry Reminders

by Al Myers

I just want to remind everyone that the entry deadlines for the Heavy Lift Championships and the USAWA National Championships are coming up.   Frank Ciavattone is hosting the 2013 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships on May 4th in Boston, MA  and Denny Habecker is hosting the 2013 USAWA Nationals Championships on June 29 & 30th   in Lebanon, PA. However, both of these MAJOR COMPETITIONS require prior registration to enter so you need to get your entry in by the entry deadline. I know I’ve “harped” on this issue before, but here I go again.  It takes considerable planning and upfront expense to promote a major event and a meet director needs to know in advance how many to “plan the party for”.  I consider it disrespectful to think you can enter at the “last minute” when there is an entry deadline in place.  That’s why I’m reminding everyone of these dates now.

ENTRY DEADLINES

Heavy Lift Championships  – April 19th

National Championships – May 28th

The entry forms for these meets are located in USAWA Future Events on the right column of the website.

USAWA Signature Events

by Al Myers

One of the terms that Bill Clark often used in his Strength Journals was the expression “Signature Events”.  What exactly is meant by this?  I always took it to mean events/competitions that were the most important ones in the USAWA.  Obviously, this changes with time.  In the past few years the USAWA has began to offer yearly CHAMPIONSHIPS that recognize specialities within the organization.  I would say that these Championships are the signature events in the USAWA today.  These events symbolize the BEST of the BEST – and gives each lifter the chance to prove to the USAWA that they are indeed a champion.

The USAWA offers 8 different Championships.  With the USAWA Grip Championships being held tomorrow, I want to remind everyone of it’s importance and why if you are an all-rounder who excels in grip lifts this is a meet you should be at so you have the opportunity to be in the running for the USAWA Grip Champion!!!

USAWA SIGNATURE CHAMPIONSHIP  EVENTS

CHAMPIONSHIP YEARLY DATE LOCATION DIRECTOR
Grip Championships 2nd weekend of Feb. Dino Gym Al Myers
Club Championships 1st or 2nd weekend of March Ambridge John McKean
Heavy Lift Championships 1st or 2nd weekend of May rotates rotates
National Championships 3rd or 4th weekend of June rotates rotates
Presidential Cup 1st or 2nd weekend of Aug Habeckers Gym Denny Habecker
Team Championships 3rd or 4th weekend of Aug Dino Gym Al Myers
Old Time Strongman Championships November JWC Thom Van Vleck
Postal Championships December Postal John Wilmot

 

The DADDY of all these Championships is the USAWA National Championship.  The reason  is that it recognizes the best ALL-ROUND lifters in the organization.  It contains a selection of ANY lift within the organization (out of around 200), and often contains a good balance of all types of lifting.  A few years ago I had a good discussion with Dale Friesze (and we ALL KNOW Dale doesn’t mind sharing his opinions! LOL), and he felt the name NATIONALS should just be used for the National Championships to identify its significance as the only “true” Nationals in the USAWA.  Well, I couldn’t argue with him so from that point on I have been referring to our yearly BIG MEET as the National Championships and the rest of these important meets as the Championships. This hasn’t always been the case, and in years past meets like the Heavy Lift Championships was called the Heavy Lift Nationals. But from now on it will be called the Heavy Lift Championships.

Each of these other Championships represent unique areas within the USAWA.  The Grip Championships only includes official USAWA lifts that test the grip, the Heavy Lift Championships contain only Heavy Lifts, and the Old Time Strongman Championships only include OTSM lifts. The Club Championships is unique in that it recognizes the top performing USAWA club, as it scored using a team score of 3 club members added together. The Presidential Cup is hosted by the USAWA President to recognize a top Record Day performer. Think of it as the Championships of Record Days.  The Team Championships is the championships that recognizes Team Lifting (2-man, 2-women, 2-person).  The Postal Championships recognizes the top performers in the postal meets.  The beauty of having these different Championships is that if you have special skills in lifting you can find an avenue in which you can compete in a specialized Championship.  It’s just one of the ways that the USAWA gives opportunities to lifters who like to specialize in the different areas of all-round strength.

As secretary, it is my job to sanction events/competitions.  Since these are our organizations most important events (ie Signature Events) I try not to allow other meets to be sanctioned on the same day as one of our Championships.  I know this hasn’t always been the case, but from now on I will try to make sure there are no other USAWA meet conflicts on the same day as one of these Championships.  Now since I have announced the “yearly dates” of these Championships, the Championships have “first dibs” on those dates for sanction.  This way no one will have any USAWA reason NOT to attend any of the USAWA Championships!

My Training Adventure in Graduate School

by Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre, of the JWC, pulling a 604 pound Peoples Deadlift at the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge, his first USAWA competition. (caption courtesty of the webmaster)

I am a graduate student at A.T. Still University, an Osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri. I have had the pleasure of meeting many great people while working on my master’s degree. I have also found the time and motivation to re-discover my passion for weightlifting. This is something I had been away from for many years prior to moving to Missouri. One of the people I have formed a great friendship with is Thom Van Vleck. Thom has written a story about the Osteoblasters before and I’d like to extend upon it. Thom has introduced me to the USAWA and Highland Games, both of which I have come to love for the competition and camaraderie. A few weeks ago I was able to experience my first USAWA event at The Dino Gym and this was just awesome! Well, that’s a little about me, now, on to my story.

“You are your own first healer”… “I am my own first patient”… These principles are repeated hundreds of times throughout the educational adventure known as medical school. However, the time crunch and fast paced learning environment make it very difficult for students to truly embrace this attitude. It seems as though one of the first things to be put on the back burner is personal health and wellness, especially when it takes so much time, commitment, and energy to stay afloat in such a demanding curriculum. Motivation quotes are plastered throughout the internet but one of the easiest to believe, and one of my favorites is that “a one hour workout is only four percent of your day, no excuses.” This is the very attitude that is pushed at A.T. Still University by the Osteoblasters Weightlifting Club (OWC). I put in so much time and work to officially establish the OWC as a University club because I honestly believe that the benefits of exercise go far beyond the body; to the mind and spirit. This trifecta, “Body, Mind, and Spirit” is another principle that is mentioned countless times at any Osteopathic medical institution. With the help of Thomas Van Vleck, the director of counseling, Dan Martin, the director of the Thompson Campus Center and Jared Nichols, a medical student, I was able to see my dreams for this club come true.

Mike performed a 410 pound Hackenschmidt Floor Press. He was one of only 3 lifters who exceeded 400 pounds at the meet. (photo and caption courtesy of webmaster).

With the New Year (2012), came the beginning of the Osteoblasters. I started to design a fitness approach that would be fun, effective, and fit within the confines of about an hour. Even if I could reach out to only a dozen students I was going to consider this a successful endeavor. I designed a blend of circuit training, powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman training, Crossfit, and I even incorporated exercises to promote the maintenance of basic movement skills, and what I came up with has evolved into the “Osteoblasters.” If people who cherish time so much are willing to devote an hour to me several times a week I figured I owed it to them to make every minute worthwhile.

At the end of my grueling workout, with several people near complete exhaustion, some people seemingly in pain, I walked around to ensure that everyone was okay and get some feedback. What I got back were “high-fives”, some “wows”, and even some comments that are inappropriate to put in print. Thinking I may have scared some people away I prepared for the next class to be smaller and have less energy overall. What actually happened was over 50 people showed up! It did not take more than a few days for the word to spread about how great this “Osteoblasters” program was and how much everyone enjoyed the challenge. I was in no way prepared for this influx of people and was forced to scramble to adapt a workout that would accommodate fifty or so people. It was not easy but I made it happen.

This blend of so many exercise styles seems to be appealing to everyone. We are not training for a competition, a race, or even to get better at a sport, we are training for life. Everyone can find at least a few things they are good at, and I force them to work through things that they may find difficult. One of the things that I never imagined would become part of this workout “class” was the camaraderie most people experience when being part of an athletics team. The majority of people do not continue competitive athletics after high school so this is an area that is easily lost as we “grow up.” The Osteoblasters are just that, a team. We are a team of individual working towards a common goal, not to win a competition or break a world record, simply to get better. Everyone is always looking to break their own personal records whether it is the number of pull ups, weight of a deadlift, or the duration of a hand stand, everyone shows up to get better. This camaraderie extends far beyond the gym as well. I see these people studying together, working together, and hanging out together. This makes all the time and work that I put into this program completely worth it.

I have been able to reach beyond the student population as well and have members of the faculty, staff, and even significant others of students as members of the OWC. We have established a great program that I hope will last for many years. Sometimes people need a push to remember that you are your own first patient. It is extremely important to study and do well while in school but it is also very important to remember your own personal health and wellness. The OWC takes this responsibility to the core of its mission statement: “The OWC will work to improve the well-being of its members through strength training and conditioning. The OWC aims to reach out to people of all levels of experience and offer a safe and structured platform for physical health and wellness.”

Hope you all enjoyed this little story of how I am keeping weightlifting and competition alive and well, even in the demanding environment of a medical school!

Writing Contest

by Al Myers

It’s been awhile since I have had a writing contest for the USAWA Daily News – so I think it’s time for another one!  The topic I’m going to choose for this contest is a “report on an unusual training implement/device that you use in your gym for training”.  The more unique the better.  I would like to hear about the purpose or function of the implement/device, as well as its history.  Every club gym I have been in has a few pieces of unusual equipment that is not seen in most other gyms – so pick something you like and write a little story on it.   The deadline for story submission is by the date of the USAWA Grip Champs – February 9th.   The stories will run on the USAWA website.  I have not decided yet on prizes – but there will be nice prizes for the winners. I promise!

Rules for Contest

1.  Submit story by February 9th
2.  Must include a picture with story
3.  Story length between 500 and 1000 words

You may submit your story to me by email, through a letter, or by writing it yourself on the USAWA website.  If you want to write it on the website and you  don’t have “author status”, send me an email and I’ll make the changes to give you this access.  It’s not hard.  My goal with doing this is to increase future writing contributions to the USAWA website.  I want to keep reminding everyone that this website was set up to represent the viewpoints and contributions of the membership, not just mine.  Now get to work!!!!!

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.

LIFTERS OF THE MONTH FOR 2012

MONTH LIFTER STORY
January none  
February none  
March none  
April Chad Ullom http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-chad-ullom/
May Eric Todd http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-eric-todd/
June Al Myers  
July Bryan Benzel http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-bryan-benzel/
August Dale Friesz http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-dale-friesz/
September Barry Bryan http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-barry-bryan/
October Dan Wagman http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-dan-wagman/
November Denny Habecker http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-denny-habecker/
December Ruth Jackson  

A MERRY CHRISTMAS FOR A LOSER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

THIS MAY SEEM A STRANGE TITLE FOR A HOLIDAY STORY, HOWEVER, LET ME SAY THIS IS MORE A STORY OF ONE MAN’S DISCIPLINE AND MORAL FIBER THAN THE STORY OF A “LOSER”. OH, AND MIGHT I ALSO MENTION KARMA?? LET ME EXPLAIN.

I AM, BY TRAINING, A PARAMEDIC AND AN EMERGENCY NURSE. I ALSO HAVE A BACKROUND IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, BUT THAT IS ANOTHER STORY ALL TOGETHER!! A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, I WORKED AT A LEVEL I TRAUMA CENTER IN A LARGE CITY. WE SAW ALL TYPES OF PATIENTS. SOME OF THEM WERE EVEN SICK (THAT’S AN INSIDE JOKE)!!

GENE BRODY (NAME HAS BEEN ALTERED FOR OBVIOUS REASONS) WAS A REGULAR. IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON FOR GENE TO HIT THE E.R. WITH SOME COMPLAINT OR ANOTHER, THREE OR FOUR TIMES A WEEK. HOWEVER, HE WAS JUST, GENREALLY, DRUNK AND OBNOXIOUS. EVERYONE, DOWN TO THE CUSTODIAL CREW, KNEW GENE. NOBODY WANTED TO DEAL WITH HIM.

FORTUNATELY FOR THE STAFF OF OUR HOSPITAL, WE WERE ON EXCELLENT TERMS WITH THE LOCAL COPS. THEY ENJOYED COMING BY TO COMPLETE PAPERWORK FOR THE MULTITUDE OF CASES THEY CUT PER SHIFT, AS OUR HOSPITAL WAS LOCATED IN THE NOT SO ’GOOD’ PART OF TOWN, OR JUST CHAT WITH THE CREW. THEY WERE GOOD GUYS!!

ONE OF THESE COPS WAS A STRAPPING LAD, COLLEN MURDOCK(NAME CHANGED, AS WELL), WHO HAD BEEN ON THE FORCE FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS. HE WAS KNOWN AS A REAL MOVER AND SHAKER AND IT WAS GENERALLY CONSIDERED HE WAS ON A FAST TRACK TO SERGANT AND BEYOND. AT 6’4”, AND 285 POUNDS OF CHESLED IVORY, HANDSOME AND WELL SPOKEN, HE CUT QUITE A FIGURE AND THE FEMALE STAFF FOUND IT HARD TO GET THEIR WORK DONE WHENEVER HE SHOWED UP! IT WAS QUITE OBVIOUS HE WAS A ‘LIFTER’ SO WE BECAME PRETTY GOOD FRIENDS BECAUSE OF OUR MUTUAL INTEREST.

IN OUR DISCUSSIONS, AMONG OTHER THINGS, WE TALKED ABOUT WORKING NIGHT SHIFT AND HOW HARD IT WAS TO TRAIN AND TRY TO MAINTAIN ANY FORM OF FAMILY LIFE, NOT TO MENTION A REGULAR SLEEPING SCHEDULE. HE SAID, “DAVE, IT’S ALL A MATTER OF DISCIPLINE, MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU!!” I SAID, “YEAH, AND I STRUGGLE WITH IT EVERYDAY!” WE LAUGHED AND ENDED OUR TALK FOR THE NIGHT.

FAST FORWARD ABOUT 6 MONTHS, AND WHO SHOULD SHOW UP IN THE E.R. WITH OUR 2XXL COP BUT GENE BRODY! ‘FOUND HIM TEARING UP A FENCE OVER ON ST. FRANCIS. HE’S GOT A PRETTY NASTY CUT ON HIS HAND FROM A NAIL AND HE MUST HAVE BUSTED HIS LIP SOMEHOW. I CAN’T TAKE HIM TO JAIL CUT AND BLOODY LIKE THAT.” THERE WERE SEVERAL OF US STANDING AROUND IN THE ROOM WITH THEM AS GENE WAS IN A PARTICULARLY SURLEY, NASTY MOOD ON THIS NIGHT. YOU NEVER KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WITH GENE.

COLLEN WAS UNCUFFING GENE AND JUST FINISHED WHEN GENE SUDDENLY WHEELED AROUND AND SPIT A WAD OF BLOOD, PHELM AND CRAP THAT I WOULD RATHER NOT THINK ABOUT RIGHT SQUARE IN COLLEN’S FACE. NOW, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, COLLEN HAD EVERY RIGHT TO THROTTLE GENE AND THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NOT ONE PERSON IN THAT ROOM WHO WOULD HAVE SAID A WORD. WE IMMEDIATELY JUMPED ON GENE AND RESTRAINED HIM, WHILE PUTTING A PILLOW CASE OVER HIS HEAD TO KEEP THE REST OF US FROM BEING THE UNHAPPY RECIPIANTS OF GENE’S EXPECTORANTS.

COLLEN NEVER MOVED, NEVER SAID A WORD, HOWEVER, HIS FACIAL EXPRESSION CHANGED TO THAT OF ONE VERY PISSED OFF PUBLIC SERVANT. YOU COULD SEE THE ANGER IN HIS EYES AS THE SPITAL RAN DOWN HIS FACE. NONE THE LESS, HE CALMLY TURNED TO THE SINK AND WASHED HIS FACE WITH THE ANTIBIOTIC SOAP WE READILY PROVIDED. COLLEN KNEW WELL WHAT HE MAY, VERY WELL, HAVE JUST BEEN EXPOSED TO. WITH A WIFE AND NEW BABY, HIS THOUGHTS WERE OF THEM AND NOT HIMSELF.

AS HE HAD A NIGHTMARE OF PAPERWORK TO COMPLETE DUE TO THE ‘INCIDENT’, COLLEN WAS RELIEVED BY A PAIR OF JUMBO COPS THAT CAME IN NOT LONG AFTER.

LATER, ON THE HOUR COMMUTE TO MY HOME THAT MORNING, I REFLECTED ON THE AMOUNT OF DISCIPLINE AND MENTAL TOUGHNESS IT TOOK FOR COLLEN NOT TO MASH GENE INTO A WITHERING MASS OF PLASMA. THEN, I REMEMBERED OUR TALK ABOUT TRAINING AND IT’S RELATIONSHIP TO A POSITIVE MIND SET, MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND DISCIPLINE.

IT OCURRS TO ME, NOW, THAT EACH OF US BRING THIS ‘MIND SET’ TO THE TRAINING HALL EACH AND EVERY TIME WE HAVE A WORKOUT. IT ALSO WOULD MAKE SENSE THAT THIS THINKING GOES BOTH WAYS. WE DISCIPLINE OURSELVES TO PERFORM IN THE GYM AND THIS STRENGTH IS TWO FOLD; MENTAL AND PHYSICAL. YOU, REALLY, CAN’T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER AND THEY BOTH REQUIRE MAINTAINENCE. ALSO, THE MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND DISCIPLINE WE USE IN THE GYM IS CARRIED OVER DAY TO DAY, IN ALMOST EVERYTHING WE DO!!

SO, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS, YOU WANT TO KNOW?? HERE’S THE REST OF THE STORY…..

NOT LONG AFTER THE AFOREMENTIONED ‘INCIDENT’, A COP WAS PATROLING HIS BEAT, TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS ON A VERY COLD, WINDY NIGHT WHEN HE, QUITE BY ACCIDENT, SAW SOMETHING BETWEEN TWO ABANDONED HOUSES. SOMETHING JUST DID’NT LOOK RIGHT!

EXITING THE CAR, THE COP FOUND A VERY DRUNK AND HYPOTHERMIC INDIVIDUAL HE RECOGNIZED AS GENE BRODY! NEAR UNCONSCIOUNESS, COVERED WITH DIRT, URINE, VOMIT AND EXCRETEMENT, GENE WAS VERY NEAR DEATH. THE COP IMMEDIATELY CALLED FOR AN AMBULANCE, WRAPPED THE UNFORTUNATE MR. BRODY IN HIS (THE COP’S) ‘TUFFY’ JACKET AND WENT TO HIS CAR TO GET AN EXTRA BLANKET HE ALWAYS CARRIED.

I HAPPENED TO BE ON THAT NIGHT AND IT MADE ME PROUD TO SEE HOW THE STAFF SNAPPED TO, DOING THEIR BEST FOR THIS INDIVIDUAL THAT HAD GIVEN THEM NOTHING BUT GREIF FOR SO LONG.

AS WE WERE WORKING ON HIM, I ASKED THE EMS CREW WHO FOUND HIM. THEY JUST POINTED TO THE DOORWAY WHERE COLLEN WAS STANDING, WITH A GRIN ON HIS FACE I’LL NEVER FORGET.

COLLEN COULD VERY WELL HAVE SEEN WHO IT WAS AND JUST DRIVEN OFF. NOBODY WOULD KNOW AND, REALLY, NOBODY WOULD HAVE CARED. BUT, COLLEN WOULD KNOW AND HE DID CARE. FOR GENE BRODY, WHAT GOES AROUND DID NOT COME AROUND. I LIKE TO THINK IT ALL BECAUSE OF ONE COP’S MORAL COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE, SHARPENED IN THE WEIGHT ROOM EVERY TIME HE TOOK A WORKOUT.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!! HAPPY CHRISTMAS, GENE BRODY! WHEREVER YOU ARE!!

It’s Time to Renew Membership!

by Al Myers

Hard to believe that another year of the USAWA is coming to an end!  This has been a great year for our organization.  Now is the time to renew your USAWA membership so you can take advantage of a full year’s membership.  I want to remind everyone that membership in the USAWA is for “the calendar year”.  Thus the logical time to renew membership is at the beginning of the year – January FIRST!  

I have already started recording the 2013 membership on the membership roster (it’s at the bottom).  Also, I include the “date beside the name” to remind everyone when you joined.  I want there to be “special distinction” of those that register early.  Any registration before January 1st, 2013 will receive that date as their date of registering.  I hope this encourages early registration.

Individual Membership Applications are found at the top of the left-hand column under “forms and applications”.  It is the very top item so it should be easy to find!  Please fill out the application fully in ledge-able print, and sign it.  Make checks/money orders out to the USAWA and send them to me (address on form).  Once I receive the application (with the $25 fee), I will list your name on the Membership Roster.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!!!

Last Call for Postal Championships!

by Al Myers

The very last meet of the year is the USAWA Postal Championships.  The deadline for completing your lifts is the last day of December.   The Postal Championships is the “grand finale” of the quarterly postal meets offered by the USAWA.   John Wilmot has been the director of these Postal Meets for some time, and now has the OFFICIAL TITLE of Postal Meet Director in the USAWA. 

I want to remind everyone that the Yearly Postal Meet Series scoring will be done again this year to “crown” a Postal Meet Champ for the year in the USAWA.  Each postal meet generates points for a lifter, with the Postal Championships being worth DOUBLE POINTS!  Even if you have not competed in the previous postal meets this year, competing in the Postal Championships may earn you enough points to place in the TOP TEN.  All details of this meet is located under “USAWA Events”  in the middle part of the right column of the home page.

The EZ-Way Formula

by Thom Van Vleck

I like to read old weightlifting magazines….well….I like to read anything related to weightlifting!  Recently Wayne Gardner, an “old timer” in the Jackson Weightlifting Club, gave me a bunch of old magazines and books.  With this treasure trove was three issues of Dan DeWelt’s “Powerlifting News”.  Dan put this newsletter/magazine out in the 70’s for a time.  Mike Lambert who put out Powerlifting USA for 25 years was inspired by Dan.

As I was reading the February 1973 issue I found a very short article on the EZ-Way Formula to arrive at the best lifter.  It was written by Bob Shadron who seemed to be inspired to come up with something easier than the Hoffman Formula.   Shadron  said “….we can replace the Hoffman Formula for good”.  He also touts it to be accurate and fair at all bodyweights.

The formula is simple.  You divide the lifter’s bodyweight into their total or the lift.  Round that number to the nearest 100th of a percent (10.591 would become 10.59).  You end up with the the number of “times bodyweight” lifted.  You then add to this the lifter’s body weight divided by 100 (a 251lb lifter gets a factor of 2.51).  Shadron claims the second number “assures that a heavier lifter gets a little more credit….than a lighter lifter….in direct proportion to the increase in bodyweight.

So, using my examples, a lifter that lifted 10.59 of their bodyweight would add their factor of 2.51 to get a final coefficient of 13.1.

I’m not promoting this formula, just reporting it.  I know Al Myers enjoys “analyzing” these types of things (after all, he’s the “facts” guy and I’m the “fluff” guy!) so maybe Al will break this down or tear it apart!  Whichever the case may be.  I just found it interesting and thought I would share it.  Don’t worry!  I don’t plan on bringing it up to replace our current system…even it it does appear to favor the heavier lifter.

Wayne Smith: 1932-2012

by Thom Van Vleck

Wayne Smith deadlifting the front end of a Volkswagon. This was one of Wayne's favorite photos.

Got word that one of our USAWA brothers and long time Jackson Weightlifting Club member Wayne Smith passed away.  Wayne was a guy that goes way back.  He did the “Odd Lifting” back in the 50’s and 60’s when Ed Zercher kept the records.  Smith even predates Bill Clark in his lifting career.  There are a couple of good stories on Wayne Smith archived in the website if you’d like to brush up on this great lifter.

http://www.usawa.com/wayne-smith-part-ii/

http://www.usawa.com/wayne-smith-all-round-legend-part-i/

The last meet Wayne attended was last year’s USAWA Nationals held in Kirksville, Missouri.  Wayne had to enjoy the meet as a spectator but he told me at one point how he itched to get on the platform.  He even said he hoped to get back into shape to do so!

I have many stories on Wayne, he was a unique individual that loved his weightlifting.  He encouraged me a lot and since he never had kids of his own, I think in some way he adopted me.  He would take photos around bragging on me and it made me want to live up to his stories!   Which made me train harder as sometimes Wayne could make a guy look too good!  But he always spoke highly of his friends, that was just him.  The last time I visited him he insisted that I go around the nursing home to introduce me to everyone.  He was a friend to all.

Wayne will be missed.  His funeral will be next Monday in Kirksville.  I you have a kind word about him you would like to pass on, send it to me at tvanvleck@yahoo.com.  I will make sure his family and friends get it.  His legend will live on, not because he was the greatest lifter but because he was the greatest friend.

Building a Better Deadlift

by Roger LaPointe

Promotional poster for the Tractor Pull Championship Weekend Meet.

What is the ultimate measure of strength?

With the Olympics currently taking place, now is a good time to ask this question. Obviously, to many people it is the total of the two hand snatch and two hand clean & jerk, but to many people this is actually a question up to debate. After all, why have Powerlifting contests, if Olympic weightlifting is the ultimate measure of strength?

Then there are the old Odd Lift Contests, which evolved into the All Round Weightlifting Association, as well as the various strongman contests. When it comes to variations on the deadlift, I can come up with a dozen pretty quickly.

In the days before the Trap Bar, guys were really trying to find a way to deadlift that would more closely replicate the upright body position of an Olympic weightlifter’s front squat. One method was the Jefferson Lift. The Jefferson Lift is also called the Straddle Deadlift. You literally straddle the Olympic barbell and have on hand holding the bar in front and one in the back. While this seems a little goofy, with potential danger to certain body parts if you lift the bar too high, there have been some really significant poundages lifted like this. For example, ask anyone in the USAWA 80 kg (176 pound) class about Bob Hirsch. Bob so totally dominated the various deadlift type events that his Jefferson Lift record is the absolute world record, regardless of weight class, at 318.5 kg (702.2 Pounds).

We will be contesting the 2 Inch Diameter Bar Jefferson Lift at the 2nd Annual Atomic Athletic Tractor Pull Championship Weekend Meet August 18th. It will be a three lift meet that also includes the Crucifix Hold and the One Hand Barbell Deadlift. Make sure to get your application in soon. Here is a link to the page:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=PICNIC2

If you want to see some incredible All Round Lifting, including some amazing Jefferson lifts, check out our Moore Muscle Classic:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID001

or the USAWA 2000 Nationals, which doesn’t have the Jefferson Lift, but does have the Hack Lift, Zercher Lift (off the floor) and 6 other great lifts.

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID004

Never let it get boring…

Today is a good day to lift.
Roger LaPointe

Nice Rack! Part II

by Thom Van Vleck

My "Babies!

Some time ago I wrote a USAWA story called “Nice Rack” and it was about a rack of York “Globe Style” Dumbbells that Bill Clark has at Clark’s Championship Gym in Columbia, Missouri.  I jealously admired those Dumbbells and wished I had a set of my own.

As luck would have it, I came across a set for sale through my USAWA friends, namely Larry Traub.  Larry had these and made me an extremely generous offer on them that I couldn’t refuse.  Soon enough, I had them in my possession (after a detour from South Carolina thru Indiana and back to Missouri….a small price to pay!).

The "Crown Jewels" of my collection, the legendary 100lb Globes.

I took off a layer of rust, then laid down a few coats of paint and white lettered the raised “York” and poundage numbers.

I am not a collector, these will be used in my training and by anyone who trains at the JWC!  But if you use them and drop them, you might end up with an Olympic bar as a necktie!   If you break them….notify next of kin!  So, next time you come by the JWC Training Hall…CHECK’em out!  Oh, and once again….Thanks Larry, you made me very happy and they will take these when they pry my cold dead hands from around them!

See everyone in Vegas!

by Al Myers

The weekend is approaching fast for the big event of the year – the USAWA Nationals in Las Vegas!!  I have everything “ready to go” and all plans have been made.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there and celebrating the 25 year anniversary of the United States All Round Weightlifting Association. 

See everyone in Vegas!!

This & That

by Al Myers

I have several topics I want to talk about briefly today to give everyone updates on USAWA issues.

NATIONALS

As most know, June 30th is the day for our National Championships in Las Vegas.  I have received a few entries, but would appreciate it if those planning on attending send me their registrations as soon as possible.  I have the tshirts and awards designed, but need to give an absolute count to the trophy shop before long so these things can be made.  Also, our host hotel is the Silverton and they still have good rates, so get your room reserved soon.

GODDARD POSTAL

The deadline for participation for the first leg of the Goddard Postal is the end of April.  This postal meet will be the World Postal Meet for 2012.  Let it be our goal to have the USAWA well represented.

ONLINE STORE

The USAWA online store has been a great success.  I have sent out many orders so far and I’m about ready to order a restock.  I am thinking of adding a line item or two, so if anyone has any ideas for a new promotional item please drop me an email.

CLUB CERTIFICATES

I have just added the 2012 Club Certificates for all member clubs to the Club Roster.  These are pdf’s that you can download and print off to hang in your club’s gym.

SANCTION REQUESTS

This is a reminder that ALL sanction requests must be sent to me AT LEAST 6 weeks prior to a planned event.  This is stipulated in the USAWA rules.  From now on I will make no exceptions.

JOE McCOY

Last night I had a long phone conversation with longtime all-rounder, Joe McCoy.  Joe has had some ill-health these past couple of years, but now he is back to good health and has moved back to his farm.   He told me that he plans to get back into weight training and start promoting meets again next fall.

Best Lifts in the Past Year

by Al Myers

Adam Glass made the number 2 spot on my list with this 822# Dinnie Lift at the 2012 Minneapolis Meet.

We have seen alot of great lifting in the USAWA during this past year.  It got me thinking about what lifts I would consider the BEST LIFTS of the year.  This was a very hard decision as I felt like I was leaving some lifters and their great lifts off the list, and it was a TOUGH DECISION to narrow the list down to only 10.  I was fortunate to have witnessed most of these lifts on the below list, and I can attest to the impressiveness of them.  I’m sure others would come up with a completely different list, but this is my story and my list!  Just for humor I ranked them, but that doesn’t really mean I found any more impressive than the others.  This list isn’t based on any formula or scientific calculation – just my opinion and view point.  I welcome anyone to make comments about this list in the Discussion Forum if your feelings are different.  Here it goes – from number 10 to number 1:

TOP TEN LIFTS OF PAST YEAR

10. Chris Anderson and his 300# Dumbbell to Shoulder at the 2011 OTSM Championships.

9.  David Dellanave and his 605# record setting Jefferson Lift at the Minneapolis Meet.

8.  Dale Friesz and his 122# Ring Fingers Deadlift at Art’s Birthday Bash.

7. Mark Mitchell and his 252# Pinch Grip at the 2012 Dino Gym Record Day.

6.  Bryan Benzel and his 355# Apollons Lift at the 2012 Battle in the Barn.

5. Art Montini and his 176# Zercher Lift at the 2011 World Championships, breaking the 80+  age group record held by Ed Zercher.

4.  Andrew Durniat and his 519# One Arm Deadlift at the Black Swamp Meet.

3. Chad Ullom’s 900# Neck Lift at the 2011 Heavy Lift Championships in York, PA.

2.  Adam Glass and his 822# Dinnie Lift at the the Minneapolis Meet.

1.  Wilbur Miller and his 457# 12″ base deadlift at the 2012 Dino Gym Record Day at age 79!

I do have one honorary mention lift, and that includes the 804# Team Deadlift done by myself and my daughter Emily at the 2011 Gold Cup in England.  I only mention this because I was extremely proud of her effort in being part of setting  the ALL TIME male/female deadlift in the USAWA & IAWA.  This past year has had MANY GREAT LIFTS done by the membership and I fully expect this coming year will even be better.

Reminder – Club Challenge

by Al Myers

One of the biggest and most prestigious meets of the USAWA is being held this weekend – the USAWA CLUB CHALLENGE.   This meet pits “club against club” in a team competition.   Each club provides three team members, whose scores are added up for a team score.  This is not an individual competition. 

It is still not to late to get your team entered this weekend.  Just send me (amyers@usawa.com) or John McKean a shout!!!

OTSM Championship

It doesn't get any more MANLY than Pro World Champion Dan McKim in his Kilt. Come to the Strength Weekend, put on a kilt and compete in the Games on Saturday, then the Old Time Strongman Championships on Sunday! Dan has competed in Kirksville before and I hope to have him back this year.

by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT:
OLD TIME STRONGMAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Last year we had our inaugural OTSM Championship at the JWC Training Hall (AKA “Modern Day Torture Chamber” or “My basement”).  I thought it went pretty well and as a result I want to make this an annual event.  The date will be October 14, 2012, with the start time being 10:00am (weigh in’s will happen at 12:00am the morning of the meet or between 9 and 10am before the meet).   The location for the meet will again be the JWC Training Hall.  However, there may be an exception.  Last year we had 10 strongmen show up.  This year if I get enough signed up before hand I plan on returning to the venue we used for the 2011 USAWA Nationals (the old Williard School Gymnasium).   I would say anything over 15 competitors would cause me to have to make that call as my gym was pretty crammed with 10 lifters.  That will be a nice problem to have!  

Now, a quick history lesson.   This event will be held the day after my Scottish Highland Games.  In 1999 when I first started that event I had a strongman contest the next day.  If you competed both days you won an “Iron Man Award”.  I did that for several years and at one point hit 33 competitors for the strongman event!   Then I had a sharp decline and then dropped it until Al Myers and I talked about me holding an OTSM event.  I thought “PERFECT”!  I can bring back the Iron Man weekend!   So, that is why this event will be held on a Sunday and on that date as my Highland Games will be held on October 13th.  Setting dates locally is a real challenge for me due to several big events in Kirksville around that time.  If I held it any other weekend there would be almost NO WAY anyone could get a motel room.  So, that’s why I was limited to that date. 

Since this event is the day after my Highland Games it’s a chance to compete in both!  You know you always wanted to dress up in a kilt!  Now’s your chance!   So sign up for both!  Special Iron Man award for those who survive both days.  This isn’t a “participation award” this is a SURVIVED IT award! 

Now, for the meet information.  I plan on having shirts and awards, plus water and drinks available to the lifters.  I plan on the following events:

Anderson Squat
Cyr Press
Apollons Lift
Bob People’s Deadlift

Lifts will be finalized after Nationals in June after the USAWA Nationals and the annual meeting.  Entry is $25, but if you enter both the Highland Games ($25) and the OTSM you get both entries for $40 (saving $10).   Three attempts per event, total poundage will determine weight class winners.  Overall best lifter will be determined by weight and age formula per USAWA rules.

OTSM entry form – 2012 Old Time Strongman Entry Form

Kirksville Games entry form – 2012 Kirksville Highland Games Entry Form

Contact Thom Van Vleck at tvanvleck@yahoo.com or 660 341 1755 for details.

Tourism Ambassador Award

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck accepting his Ambassador of the Year Award from the Kirksville Chamber of Commerce. (photo courtesy of KTVO)

Thanks to the USAWA, I was greatly honored by the Kirksville Chamber of Commerce the other night.   For the past 15 years I have held dozens of Highland Games, strongman contests, and helped the Irondogs with powerlifting and olympic lifting meets that have brought a lot of people to Kirksville.  I never really thought about it until this award came up, but many would have never come to Kirksville had these events not been held.  To be honest, I just wanted to host meets and have some fun!   My goal financially has always been to break even….and even that goal isn’t always met!  Those of you who have run meets know what I’m talking about!  I never thought about the fact I was bringing tourism to my hometown. 

So why do I want to thank the USAWA?  Because promoting the Nationals in Kirksville last year seems to be the event that got me recognized by the C of C!  Some of you that attended were kind enough to write a thank you letter to the C of C as they helped me out with the meet.   Those letters were so good, they put me up for the award and I won!  There were about 200 of Kirksville’s best at the annual banquet where I got my award.  Debi Boughton, head of tourism for the C of C introduced me, talked of the games and the meets I have promoted, and then read a couple of the letters send by USAWA letters.  The first letter was from Chad Ullom and the second one was from Denny Habecker and his wife.   These letters mentioned business that had several representatives in the crowd.   I gave a little speech, plugged my events for the coming year, and thanked the C of C for helping me as well as the local sponsors who’ve been so good to me over the years. 

Afterwards, I was interviewed by the local paper and the local television station.   I also was asked to speak at the local Rotary clubs (there are two in town) and do an hour long interview at a local radio station!  I have to say, I felt like a real BIG SHOT!  I was just a great opportunity to promote my Highland Games (that’s my real passion), but also to solicit new volunteers, sponsors, and competitors.  One of the people that approached me after the award ceremony wants to try his hand at the Highland Games!  New blood is always a good thing. 

Afterwards some friends took me to the Dukum Inn for a celebratory round of drinks and soon I was home in time to catch the evening news with a story on my.  Leave it to one of my kids to bring “Ol’ Dad” back down to earth.  After the news showed me giving my speech and talking about the award my youngest son said, “Yeah, Dad….now can we turn it back to my show”!  

So, thanks USAWA for “putting me over the top”.  I think a lot of good things will come out of this award, some new sponsorship, some new help, some new spectators, and maybe even a new competitor or two!  I am hosting the Old Time Strongman Championships again this year and the Chamber wants to help me on that one, too.   So come back to Kirksville, or come for the first time!  More USAWA events are to come! 

http://www.kirksvilledailyexpress.com/features/x1251827843/Kirksville-chamber-honors-Tate-others-for-local-service

2011 Wrap Up

by Al Myers

As promised, I will do a “wrap-up” story today on the highlights of the 2011 USAWA year.  This is one story I always look forward to writing, as it summarizes the past year of USAWA events and competitions, along with other top stories.  2011 was a great year for the USAWA – arguably one of the best years ever!  I’m going to “go out on a limb” here, and RANK the top 10 stories of 2011 as I see them.  I’m sure there will be those who don’t agree – but TOUGH LUCK cause I’m the one writing the story!!!  Here it goes, with the count-down beginning at number 10.

10.  NUMBER OF  STORIES IN THE USAWA DAILY NEWS

This website continues to grow at  a steady pace and accumulating information all the time.  Last year there were 305 blogs produced in the USAWA DAILY NEWS.  I have just finished the 2011 Year In Review, which contains all the information placed on the website within the past year. This book (or should I say novel?) is over 500 pages in length and contains over 20,000 words.  Numerous authors have written stories for the Daily News. These were the top 5 writers in number of stories contributed - Thom Van Vleck, John McKean, Dennis Mitchell, Dave Glasgow,  and myself. Next to myself, Thom had the most with 76 stories!  I want to thank EVERYONE who has contributed stories to the website, because that is what makes it an organization’s publication.

9.  NUMBER OF USAWA RECORDS

I have already reported on 2011 being a record year in number of USAWA records set.  A total of 758 records by 72 lifters were established in the USAWA record list, which is ahead of the second place year (2005) by 83 records.  A truly record record-breaking year! Also, 2011 saw the entry of two more lifters into the CENTURY CLUB (for lifters who have over 100 USAWA records) – Rudy Bletscher and Chad Ullom. This list now stands at 21 USAWA lifters of all time.

8.  USAWA ONLINE STORE

The development of the USAWA Online Store has been discussed for a couple of years now, but at the 2011 USAWA National Meeting the membership voted to allocate funds for its development.  Several items are offered for sale to promote the USAWA -tshirts, sweatshirts, patches, water bottles and judging shirts, and all of these items are available to be purchased online.  All profits go into the bank account of the USAWA. So far, several orders have been filled.

7.  DALE FRIESZ RETURNS TO THE PLATFORM

Most of you know Dale “the Miracle Man” Friesz has faced probably the most difficult physical difficulty any lifter could be dealt – the amputation of a leg.  Dale did the “impossible” and returned to the lifting platform at Art’s Birthday Bash in October, and proceeded to break several USAWA records. His ring fingers deadlift of 122 pounds is exceptional, especially considering he did it on a prosthetic leg that has not been fitted properly yet!  Dale is has been the USAWA Award Winner for the Courage Award these past two years, and after this feat he has my vote again for 2012!!!!  If Dale is able to make it to Vegas for Nationals, he’ll make next years TOP TEN stories as well.

6.  THE USAWA FIRST GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

Grip competitions have been tested in USAWA competitions for many years, but till this meet there has never been a Grip Championships within the USAWA.  Kevin Fulton was the early promoter of many of the organizations grip competitions, with his famous grip challenges at his gym under the sanction of the USAWA.  In 2010, the Dino Gym hosted a grip challenge that was the precursor of this past year’s Grip Championships (notice I say “Championships” and not “Nationals”, because as Dale has said there can be only ONE NATIONALS, the GRANDDADDY of them all the National Championships, which I agree with him on).  Eight lifters took part this past year – Al Myers, Ben Edwards, Dave Glasgow, Denny Habecker, Mark Mitchell, Rudy Bletscher and Felecia Simms.   These lifters took part in the FIRST YEAR of something “big to come” in future years in the USAWA.  

5.  THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN KIRKSVILLE

Thom Van Vleck, of the JWC, promoted one of the BEST National Championships of ALL-TIME in the USAWA this past year in Kirksville, Missouri.  This, without a doubt, was a highlight meet of the year in the USAWA.  18 lifters took part from all parts of the country.  Team Ledaig Heavy Athletics walked away with the team title and most of the other main awards.  Team members Amber Glasgow won the Overall Womens Best Lifter Award and Larry Traub won the Overall Mens Best Lifter Award.  It was the first big win for both of these two lifters in the USAWA’s premier yearly competition (and from now on will be known as THE ONE AND ONLY NATIONALS).

4. BILL CLARK – LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

As has been covered in detail by Joe Garcia this week in the USAWA Daily News, Bill Clark receiving the very first Lifetime Achievement Award ranks “right at the top” of highlights during this past year.  This is an award Bill TRULY DESERVED, as without him we would not even have an organization.  No one knows the amount of time Bill has invested in the USAWA during his lifetime to make it the lifting organization it is now.  It is only right that Bill be the FIRST ONE to receive this prestigious award, and the honorary lifetime membership  in the USAWA that comes with it.

3.  HEAVY LIFT CHAMPIONSHIPS IN YORK, PA

I really felt like we hit “the BIG TIME” when we were able to be part of York Barbell’s Strength Festival last May.  We hosted our USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in conjunction with all the other activities that were going on at York Barbell that day.  It was a meet I will never forget – lifting on the “big stage” in front of strength athletes from all over the country. It was an honor for our organization to be part of something like that, and gave us National exposure like we have never seen before.  Of course Chad Ullom hitting that WORLD RECORD Neck Lift of 900 pounds was the highlight of the show!

2.  OLD TIME STRONGMAN

The year 2011 saw the introduction of Old Time Strongman within the USAWA.  It started with the first OTSM competition hosted by the Dino Gym in January, and ended with the OTSM Championships in Kirksville, hosted by Thom Van Vleck.  OTSM brought several new members to the USAWA this past year and I can see it continuing to grow. 

1. USAWA PARTICIPATION

This was a “no brainer” for the NUMBER ONE highlight of the year.  The USAWA would not be the USAWA without the participation of membership.  This past year we accomplished something we have not done for over 20 years, and that is to exceed 100 members.  The final count was 103 members in 2011.  On top of this, we hosted a RECORD NUMBER of events/competitions with 25, and now have more registered clubs at 14 than anytime in the history of the USAWA.  This is ALL BECAUSE OF YOU, and the the support you have given to the USAWA.   I personally want to thank everyone who has contributed to these numbers.  The USAWA is “alive and growing” , and I predict 2012 will even be a better year yet!!!

Ice it down!

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom enjoying a post-competition "hydrotherapy" session following last summers Ledaig Highland Games. A cold group bath with your sweaty buddies is a great way to enhance recovery following a hard day of competition! (photo courtesy of Al Myers)

Ok, I’m sure by now half of you are thinking I mean beer….but I mean your body!   I’m talking about what some call “hydrotherapy” or the used of heat and coolness to reduce inflammation, soreness, and recovery times between workouts.  Now, there’s a ton of stuff out there on the good, ol’ world wide web and if you found this, you can find that.  I’m just gonna give you some basics.

First, what led to this was me getting old.  After numerous injuries over the years, broken bones, etc.  it’s all catching up to me.  when I was young I just worried about working out, now I feel I have a pretty good understanding of how to develop a good work out routine so now I’m more focused on how I can recover more quickly….especially with age!  I remember Mickey Mantle once saying he wished he’d taken better care of himself when he was younger.  Well, Mickey was past his playing career when he said that but for those in the USAWA our playing career is never over.   You can make a big difference.

Before your workout, be sure and spend some time warming up.  My warm up time has probably tripled from my 20’s.  I have a special routine that I do and I pay attention more to my preworkout diet, load up on fluids all day, and I don’t push the time…..when I’m ready and I’m ready and not before.  I also use anti-inflammatory type medication (Ibuprofen, sodium naproxen, etc.).

After the workout, ice the areas you’ve worked out down.  My knees (especially my right one) tend to swell after my squats.  I have found that after the workout I have a heat pad and an ice pack that I alternate back and forth it does wonders.  I will also take a hot and cold shower, start warm, take it down, the up, then down.  I end it with cold water.  In the winter, I’ll take a snow bath alternating with the hot tube or sauna.  If you don’t have a hot tub or sauna, get a chair for you shower and do the “poor man’s sauna”.  Throw a large beach towel over you, you can get that water incredibly hot without burning and the hot steam will fog the mirrors for a square mile!

I also bought something called “the stick”.  Basically, it’s a human rolling pin.  I work the areas I can myself and then I recruit my wife to get the areas I can’t.  I use this thing to the point of it being painful, but afterwards I feel like a million bucks….kind of the poor man’s deep tissue massage.

Well, I hope these few things get you to thinking……and if all else fails…..ice that beer down while you ice down!

Time to RENEW MEMBERSHIPS

by Al Myers

It’s that time of the year that lifters need to think about renewing their USAWA memberships.  Membership in the USAWA runs for the calendar year, January 1st to December 31st  - so you might as well renew now so you can enjoy a full year of USAWA membership.  I plan to list the new 2012 membership roster on January 1st and if you send me your dues before that time you will be listed with the “join date” of January 1st beside your name.  That’s something to be proud of! So far I have recieved only a handful of 2012 membership dues: John Wilmot, Dean Ross, Dale Friesz, Jim Malloy, Al Myers, Bill Clark, and Dennis Mitchell. Last year I recieved 16 memberships before the start of the year.  Let’s try to beat that mark this year!

Membership applications are located on the left side of the homepage, under the heading “Forms and Applications”.

Wayne Smith Update

by Thom Van Vleck

Wayne Smith, long time USAWA lifter and even longer time member of the Jackson Weightlifting Club was recently featured by me in two part website article.  Wayne also attended the USAWA Nationals hosted by the JWC in Kirksville this year.  Wayne has many friends in the lifting world and I thought maybe some of you would like to hear the latest.

A couple of weeks ago Wayne was rushed the hospital.  He was having some problems and they were very concerning.  I went several times to check up on him and left with more questions than answers.  The doctors just didn’t know what was going on with him.

Well, I have good news.  I visited with Wayne yesterday and he is doing much better and appears to be on his way to recovery and has moved from the hospital to a rehabilitation unit.  He was his old self again and was enjoying visits from three JWC members in one day.  Wayne Jackson had made a visit, and then Wayne Gardner, then myself.

It is nice to know that we take care of our own and the friendships made on the lifting platform are often life time ones.  We hope that Wayne will be back home soon and if you have a message for him, just let me know at tvanvleck@yahoo.com and I will make sure he gets it!  He tells me he is not going to let this keep him from making his comeback in lifting!   You have to admire the dedication.

Your First Set of Weights

by Thom Van Vleck

One of my granddad's original York plates from his "first set" of weights

Do you remember your first set of weights?  When I was 10 I was in a terrible car accident and was injured pretty badly.  I broke both legs, both arms, my hip and various other injuries….I still hurt!!!!   As I recovered from that, I could not go to the JWC gym so my Mom bought me some plastic coated cement weights.  They were “Randy White” weights, he was a defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys.  I made it a goal to lift the entire set  of 110lbs overhead.

I also remember, around 1977, sitting with my Uncle Wayne Jackson as he ordered a brand new York set of weights, a 400lb set of the “top of the line” olympic weights.   A short time later, somebody STOLE that set and I remember being angry and heartbroken.  Luckily, insurance covered it’s replacement and soon we were back in business.  Although, I have to admit, I still wonder where that bar ended up!

I also recall my grandfather Dalton Jackson talking about waiting 10 YEARS to order his first set of weights.  Before that, he made weights out of buckets of cement and old metal rods and supplemented that by lifting anvils, rocks, whatever was around.  He had an assortment of flywheels and other scrap metal discs that had odd shaped holes in them he used for weights.  It was 10 years and he was even married by then before he could order his first weight set.  It was a York 1″ set, I think it was 110lbs.  I have a good portion of that set, and that’s a story unto itself as part of that was out of our family for over 40 years and only recently was reacquired!  I’m sure my Grandfather very much appreciated that first set!

Finally, my kids have all the best stuff.  When my daughter started lifting I bought her a “top of the line” 33lb women’s Olympic bar.  I try to make sure they have all they need, but I wonder, will they have an appreciation for what they have?  Will they have that feeling that comes with that “First Set of Weights”?  I hope so, it’s a good feeling, a special one.  And a feeling I get almost every time I get a new toy to lift in my gym.

Ramblin’

by Al Myers

One of my favorite sections of Bill Clark’s old Strength Journals was his “Ramblin” commentaries.  These often went “on and on”  about any significant or insignificant activity within the USAWA, or just his general viewpoints regarding an issue pertinent at the time.   So pretty much, Bill just rambled on about anything and everything, thus the name of the section – Rambin’.   Well, I’m no Bill Clark, but I got several things to announce or comment on today so I will be Ramblin’ a bit myself. 

First of all,  I want to wish Jarrod Fobes the best  of luck for his meet in Denver, Colorado on Saturday.  The meet is named “The Welcome Mat Meet” and will be Jarrod’s first promotion within the USAWA.  I really wanted to be there, and made plans to do so, but a family issue has interfered with my travel plans so I will be staying home dealing with that instead.  I believe this will be the FIRST EVER USAWA meet or event sanctioned in the State of Colorado.  I will need to do some checking to see for sure, but I don’t ever remember a meet in Colorado.  (If any of you “oldtimers” remember one please let me know.)  Of course, the most famous Colorado USAWA lifter is Rex Monahan.  Rex was a mainstay in major competitions for many years.  There is rarely a major meet where the conversation doesn’t turn to Rex, and a story or two is told in his remembrance.   But I don’t think Rex ever put on a USAWA meet in Colorado???? I can’t forget mentioning the Backbreaker this weekend as well.  This meet has been a mainstay at Clarks Gym for many years, and emphasizes all the heavy lifts – the Back, Hip, H&T, Neck, and Harness.  If you get a chance to make this meet on Sunday – DO IT!  More than likely you will get to meet up with the Heavy Lift PHENOMS Steve Schmidt and Joe Garcia, and they will very nicely give you the BEAT DOWN!

Before I forget, I want to congratulate  Jarrod for passing his USAWA officials test.  His name is now added to the list of Certified USAWA Officials.   This list is getting “longer and longer” and the USAWA Officials Program is growing.  I am glad we n0w have an Officials Program in the USAWA, after going many years without one.  I know the critics will always say that “passing a test doesn’t make a good official”, and I’m not going to argue that point.  But passing a test does do TWO THINGS that we didn’t have before: number 1, insures that an official has at least looked at the USAWA Rulebook once in their life, and point number 2, shows that the official at least cares enough to put a little time into taking the test to  become certified.   I don’t think we are asking too much!!!  Plus, every year I know we will do things to “strengthen” the officials program.  Last year at the National Meeting it was passed that an USAWA Official must also be a current member of the USAWA to be active.  Again, that is NOT TO MUCH TO ASK, but it is a small step forward.

BTW – the USAWA Online Store is making sales!   I just sent out a big order yesterday to Jim Malloy.   Thanks Jim for your order!  Jim has been a HUGE SUPPORTER of the USAWA for many, many years.   He always keeps his membership up to date and has supported practically every thing the USAWA has done.  Before I know it I will need to be ordering more merchandise.   Also, our inventory stock is very limited and it is VERY LIKELY that certain sizes of shirts will be sold out before I restock.   I will list this on the store item blog site as it happens.  PLEASE CHECK THIS before ordering items that may be out of stock.  Also, if anyone has ideas for other online store items just let me know and I’ll consider it (unless someone wants something silly, like say, USAWA labeled beer!). 

The IAWA World Championships in Perth, Australia is getting closer!  It looks like the USAWA will have a good representation of competitors present.  Besides myself and Chad Ullom, I know that Denny Habecker, Art Montini, and Dennis & Flossy Mitchell will be making the trip.   I don’t know of any other USAWA lifters that are going, and if you are, please let me know.  Come to think of it – this is the SAME GROUP that made it to the IAWA Championships in Glasgow last year!  Best of luck to all competitors and safe travels. 

I better call it quits before this gets too long.  After all, Bill usually kept his “ramblins” to only a page in the ole Journal!