The Amazing Howard Prechtel
by Al Myers
This week is a sad week amongst the USAWA – with the news of the death of Howard Prechtel. I have invited the membership (especially those who knew Howard personally) to share some stories about Howard. I think this is the best way to deal with the loss of one of the true pioneers of the USAWA – by sharing stories that reflect how Howard influenced our organization and us as individuals.
I will go first (and I’m expecting MANY MORE to follow). I have only been involved in the USAWA for 10 years, and have met Howard only a few times, but each visit was memorable. When I became involved, Howard was winding down his days of active competition. I will say this – Howard has made a big of impact in our organization!! Besides being a great lifter (who often would do things other lifters would not even think of attempting), he was our leader. Howard served as President of the USAWA from 1993 to 2007. That’s 14 years out of our 24 year history!! Howard also served as President of the IAWA. He promoted countless meets – including big meets like the 1994 USAWA National Championships and the 1995 World Championships in East Lake, Ohio. Howard was the originator of the Gold Cup, and had the vision of developing this competition into a WORLD CLASS event that would allow lifters to “showcase” their best lifts in the spotlight of a prestigious World competition. Howard was a “lifter’s lifter” as I’ve heard the many stories about him utilizing his ability and understanding of anatomy and the human body by “providing adjustments” on meet days to lots of lifters, which undoubtedly helped many lifters achieve the lifts they wanted that day. Everyone liked Howard. I have corresponded with Howard though letters and he ALWAYS answered the questions I had. One of Howard’s favorite lifts was the Travis Lift. He not only established the the maximum record in it at the time (1815# at a record day in Ambridge in 1990), but he established many repetition records in it. His letter advice helped me my design setup for the Travis Lift. Now, in his honor, I plan to make the Travis Lift a big part of my training this coming year.
Howard STILL has many records in our USAWA Record List. I just did a quick count and he still holds 171 USAWA Records. Some of his BEST USAWA RECORDS are:
|Clean & Jerk, Right Arm||99||60||105||88 IAWA – Lecester|
|Clean & Press, DBs, HT||150||70||100||95 Art’s Birthday Bash|
|Clean & Press, Heels Together||182||65||110||90 Nationals – Akron|
|Continental to Belt||314||70||95||97 IAWA – Collegeville|
|Curl, Cheat||154||65||105||91 IAWA – Collegeville|
|Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells||344||70||105||96 Buckeye RB|
|Hand & Thigh||1050||65||105||91 U.S. Inlands|
|Harness Lift||2218||65||105||93 Gold Cup|
|Hip Lift||1550||65||110||Ambridge, PA|
|Neck Lift||408||70||100||98 Nationals – Mansfield|
|Pullover & Push||243||65||105||91 Nationals – Ambridge|
|Roman Chair Situp||738||65||110||Valley Forge, PA|
|Snatch, Right Arm||99||65||105||91 IAWA – Collegeville|
|Steinborn||259||65||105||92 Nationals – Walpole|
|Travis Lift||1815||65||105||Record Day – Ambridge|
|Zercher||331||65||105||91 Nationals – Ambridge|
|Zercher, Left Arm||220||70||100||96 Gold Cup|
All of these records were established when Howard was OVER 60 years of age! Can you imagine what his lifts would have been in these lifts if he had done them in his 20’s and 30’s?? Truly remarkable records – many of which will NEVER be broken! The USAWA is a much better organization because of Howard Prechtel! He will not be forgotten.