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!

Nice Rack!!!

by Thom Van Vleck

Rack of York Globe Dumbbells at Clark's Gym

I know a lot of guys will conjure up a different image when another guy yell’s out “nice rack”. But if you are a real ironhead like myself, a different image may come to mind (like the one in the above photo!). Of all the cool stuff at the “Mecca” of the USAWA, Clark’s Gym, this has got to be the coolest. There’s a small fortune there and if it weren’t for my fear of judgement day (both this world and the next!)…..I’d break in and steal those!

I don’t know what it is about globe DB’s, but I like’m. No, I love’m. Maybe it’s their resemblance to something you would find on a nice rack….this time I’m talking the metaphorical “rack” that any real man would admire (Ok, maybe that’s getting a little weird). Maybe it’s because every picture I’ve ever seen of an old timer they are lifting a globe DB (and by old timer, I don’t mean Bill Clark or Art, or Dale, or Denny….they are “new” compared to Saxon, Sandow, and my favorite, Louis Uni). Or maybe it’s just because form follows function and that is the perfect shape! Hex DB’s and Cylinder shaped DB’s just don’t look cool.

Last year, Al Myers and I made a crazy road trip to Denver to see legendary Highland Games Athlete Russ Murphy. Russ was getting up in years and selling his house, and needing to get rid of some equipment which Al and I bought. Russ also entrusted us with some of his “finer” possessions. Things he knew that we would appreciate and take care of and most people wouldn’t understand the value. While there, I spied a set of 95lb York Globe DB’s. I pulled Al aside and explained that a fight was about to break out. He asked why, and I pointed to them and said, I know you are going to want those…..but I saw them first!!! Al smiled, looked at me, and explained he had already “called them” and Russ had promised them to Al! Al had beat me to the punch!!!!! Russ did give me the original RMSA 22lb hammer and it is in a place of honor in my gym and for that I’m very grateful.

The sad part of that story is that Russ had bought them years before and was cutting them up to use the globe parts as throwing weights for the Highland Games!!!! OH, the humanity!!!! Only the 95’s remained and one 60lb DB….which I thought maybe Al would throw me a bone and let me keep that one….but evidently, he’s as greedy as me when it comes to Globe DB’s!!!

I do have one Globe DB, it’s a 40lber. A few years ago, I got a call from a friend who had a guy contact him about some “rare” equipment. Evidently, there was a female professional wrestler back in the day named Ada Ash. She, and her husband, traveled for many years and were also known as Mr. and Mrs. Wrestling. She had never had children and had given this guy her equipment when she was up in years in back in the 70’s. This guy had kept all of this stuff, most of it homemade, and now that he was getting up in years wanted someone to have it that would appreciate it and take care of it. That DB was in that stuff! It also occupies an place of honor in my gym!

So, every time I go to Clark’s I have to peruse the DB rack and if you make the trip to Clark’s Gym…..be sure and check out that NICE RACK!