Monthly Archives: December 2009

Goerner Deadlift Meet

by Al Myers

Group Picture at the 2009 Goerner Deadlift Dozen Plus One Left to Right: Chad Ullom, Al Myers, and Rudy Bletscher

Only three lifters attended the Goerner Deadlift this year – and all were representatives of the Dino Gym.  However, despite this small turnout, the competition was fierce for the overall.  I was able to pull the win out over my good friend and training partner Chad Ullom.  This was my 4th Goerner win – which is the most by any individual in the history of the Goerner Deadlift.  It has taken me several years but finally my finger deadlifts don’t let me down at the end of this meet! They still have a long ways to go though, but they are not near the embarrassment they used to be for me (like the time Mary Mac beat me in poundage on ALL the finger deadlifts at this meet!).  Chad had an outstanding performance – by far his best ever in this meet. I looked back at the results of past Goerner meets and Chad posted the second highest adjusted points of All-Time, with my adjusted points this year being the highest. So any other year Chad would have won – and this says a lot since many great lifters have lifted in the Goerner Meet throughout the years. Outstanding deadlifters such as Rex Monahan, Kevin Fulton, and Mike McBride have all lifted at the Goerner in the past. Chad’s One Arm Deadlift has been really improving lately (he got 410# with his right at a record day a few weeks ago) and he was hoping to go over 400# again, but had balance issues on his last pull, causing him to miss it.  He then tried for a record 445# One Arm Deadlift and had it up high enough – but just couldn’t hold it long enough to satisfy Bill’s two second count.  Give Chad some more time with this lift and I think you will see him pull over 500#!!  Rudy again turned in a solid meet.  At 74 years old, Rudy is very muscular for his age – and he doesn’t even spend much time training with weights. Most of his training involves doing bodyweight exercises – like pushups, deep knee bends, and situps.  He can still quickly drop to the floor and pound out the pushups!   He does the work around his farm the “hard way” and in return, reaps strength the old-fashioned way. I’m talking about such things as carrying buckets by hand, cutting down trees with a hand saw, and hand loading bags of feed – tasks that most farmers use mechanical assistance for. But it has paid off for Rudy – and I only hope when I’m his age I can be in the shape he is now.  I enjoyed getting to meet James Hockemeyer, of Fulton Missouri,  who came to watch this meet and to see Bill. James is an old Olympic Lifter/Powerlifter and has been a supporter of the Strength Journal for years, but has never tested himself in the All-Rounds. I was glad to see Tom Powell there.  Tom always shows up to load at Clark’s meets.  This time, he brought his step-son along to help also.  Loaders often don’t get thanked enough – so I brought along a Dino Gym T-Shirt for Tom as a token payment for all his efforts!  Thanks again Tom!!

I could go on and on about this meet, but I’m going to cut it short.  This has always been one of my favorite meets for a lot of reasons – and many thanks goes to Bill Clark for hosting it.  When the meet was over, I told Bill that I will always make sure the Goerner Deadlift continues, and when the day comes that he is ready to pass it along to someone else, I will be ready take it.


Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One
Clark’s Gym
Columbia, Missouri
December 5th, 2009

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Official: (One Official System) Bill Clark

Loader:  Tom Powell

Lifts:  Deadlift – Heels Together, Jefferson Lift, Hack Lift, Deadlift – 2 Bars, Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm (right and left), Deadlift – One Arm (Right and Left), Deadlift – Reeves, Deadlift – Index Fingers, Deadlift – Middle Fingers, Deadlift – Ring Fingers, Deadlift – Little Fingers


Lifter Age BWT DL-HT Jeff Hack 2 Bar
DL -NT, Right
DL – NT, Left
DL – Right
Al Myers
43 254 550 550 500 590 250 250 365
Chad Ullom
37 230 495 500 475 500 225 185 365
Rudy Bletscher
74 219 275 225 225 270 155 155 175

Lifter DL -Left
Reeves DL-MF
DL-RF DL-LF Total Pts ADJ Pts
Al Myers
365 335 305 225 225 155 4665 3672.29 3819.18
Chad Ullom
385 305 300 225 225 100 4285 3550.12 3550.12
Rudy Bletscher
175 185 135 135 115 65 2290 1947.19 2628.71

All lifts and bodyweights were recorded in pounds.
No records were set on extra attempts.
BWT – Bodyweight     Pts – Lynch Points    ADJ Pts – Age adjusted Lynch Points

The Dino Gym’s Replica of the Apollon Wheels

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym's Apollon Wheels Replica

The Apollon Wheels have a mythical attraction to them.  What makes a better Challenge Barbell than TRAIN WHEELS!   I have  heard  the stories of Louis Uni (Apollon) lifting these giant  Train Wheels is his performances, and can only imagine how impressive he must have looked doing it. I only wish there were some pictures of him lifting them!!

Several people have made replicas of the Apollon Wheels (AW).  I have seen lots of pictures of them. What I don’t understand is why most replicas don’t resemble the original Apollon Wheels in the slightest.  Just look at the pictures of them and you will see what I am saying.  Most have rims that are way wider than the original Apollon Wheels. The hub design is not even remotely the same with some. Some replicas are plated with shiny chrome. The spokes are even turned wrong in some!  Sometimes I question whether they even used the original’s AW measurements! Most replicas that have been made look much bigger than the original AW.

I have wanted to undertake this project for quite some time – ever since I read in MILO several years ago (September 2004) an article  about the Hollie Brothers  and their quest in making an Apollon Wheel replica. They did it right, and tried to make a replica as close to the original as possible.  I had decided then, that when I took on this project, that would be my goal also.  Several design issues immediately became a problem.  First, only a “handful” of measurements have been recorded for the original AW and published. I read all the resources and tried to use what I considered the most accurate information.   I have several pictures of the original AW – and had to extrapolate from these pictures  and estimate some measurements – like the length of the gussets and width and diameter of the hub.  The one thing I did NOT want to be the same with my replica as the original AW was the weight.  The original AW weighed 366# (or 365# as some sources report).  I did not want to make it that heavy.  I don’t need any more heavy doorstops!  I wanted to make a replica that I could lift and train with!  So I decided my design weight goal would be around 250 pounds. The final weight of my AW replica turned out to be 240 pounds – which is ideal.

This project turned out to be a big success.  I was very pleased how my Apollon Wheels Replica turned out.  It’s nice to have something like this in the gym – when new lifters join their eyes are immediately drawn to this huge 2″ bar containing railroad car wheels as the plates.  It’s at that time I ask, “Have you heard the story about Apollon and his Challenge Barbell?”

The Apollon Wheels

by Al Myers

Norb Schemansky lifting the Apollon Wheels

The Apollon Wheels were made famous by the legendary French Professional Strongman, Louis Uni AKA Apollon, in the late 1800’s. Apollon used these in his strongman stage shows and billed them as the UNLIFTABLE Challenge Barbell. The Apollon Wheels were an old set of railroad car wheels connected by an axel. The Apollon Wheels weigh 366 pounds (total weight). The diameter of the Wheels are 26 inches and the diameter of the axel is 1.93 inches. The width of the Wheels are 4 inches wide and the length of the axel is under 6 feet (several sources report different lengths).

Who has lifted the original Apollon Wheels?

Besides Apollon himself, only three individuals have ever lifted the original Apollon Wheels. The first to lift the Apollon Wheels was Charles Rigoulet on March 3rd, 1930. Rigoulet, a Frenchman, was a World Weightlifting Champion and is credited with the first 400 pound Clean and Jerk in history!!! The next to lift the Apollon Wheels was John Davis, of the United States, on September 13th, 1949. Davis was also a World Champion Weightlifter and was the first man to Clean and Jerk 400 pounds under official meet conditions. Norb Schemansky, of the United States, was the third to lift the Apollon Wheels on October 17th, 1954, just one week after winning the World Championships. After Schemansky had the Wheels to his chest – he jerked the Apollon Wheels three times in a row!!!

Several modern day strength athletes have lifted Apollon Wheels replicas, but only these three lifters (or 4 if you count Apollon) lifted the original Apollon Wheels overhead. Today, the Apollon Wheels reside at the Musee National du Sport (a museum) in Paris, France.

Meeting Tommy Kono

by Thom Van Vleck

Tommy Kono and Thom Van Vleck

It is not often you get to meet a living legend, but earlier this year I did just that! I was at the Arnold Fitness Expo for the first time in my life. I got to meet a slew of legends, current stars, and I’m sure some future legends. This included Frank Zane, Lou Ferrigno, Phil Pfister, Derek Poundstone, even Arnold himself as well as many others. But I have to say, the one that I saw that literally gave me the biggest thrill was Tamio “Tommy” Kono. Growing up in a weightlifting family, Tommy was like a mythical legend to me. I expected to see Arnold there, as well as many others, but I didn’t know Kono was going to be there so when I literally ran into him in the hallway while talking to my wife on my cell phone…..well, my heart jumped in my throat and I literally hung up on her as I ran to him like some star crossed teen seeing a teen idol. At least I didn’t scream!

Some might wonder who Tommy Kono was. Well, let me tell you about the man that was voted the “Greatest Weightlifter of the 20th Century”. He represented the U.S.A. in the 50s and 60s. Tommy Kono is the only lifter to have world records in four different weightlifting classes from 149lbs to 198lbs. He won a Gold Medal at both the 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games, and a Silver Medal at the 1960 Olympics. He was world champion from 1953 – 1959 and set 21 world records. He was the Pan-Am Games champion in 1955, 1959, and 1963. In 1976, he coached the United States’ Olympic weightlifting team in the Montreal Games. He was also a successful Bodybuilder, winning the Mr. Universe title in 1955 and 1957. Of Japanese descent, Kono was born in Sacramento, California, on June 27th, 1930. Kono’s family was relocated to Tule Lake internment camp during World War II. Tule lake camp was in a very isolated area in the desert in northern California. Sickly as a child, the desert air helped Kono’s asthma. It was during the relocation that Kono was introduced by neighbors to weight training . After 3 1/2 years they were released and he finished high school at Sacramento High. In the 1970s he moved to Hawaii, where he has lived ever since and in 1993 he was elected to the International Weightlifting Hall of Fame.

Tommy was extremely cordial and allowed me to have my picture taken with him and a copy hangs with pride in the JWC gym. He made a glowing comment that I must be a champion myself and commented on how big and strong I looked as he sized me up. I was very impressed by him and he lived up to my lofty expectations. Tommy is a legend in the truest sense.

In Memory of Bob Cox

by Al Myers

Bob Cox, a longtime USAWA lifter from Cleveland, passed away last May.  Bob was very involved with All-Round Weightlifting in Ohio and participated in several All-Round Meets throughout the years.  He will be missed by everyone.  Dennis Mitchell sent me his obituary, which I would like to share here.

Robert P. Cox, age 84, passed away May 8, 2009.  Beloved husband of Shirley (nee Peterman), loving father of John (Sherry), Joyce Acord (Dennis Riggleman), and the late Dale, dear grandfather of Heather Cox (deceased), James Cox, Jessica Acord, Shayna Cox, Steven Acord, great-grandfather of four, dear brother of Marilyn, Doris, the late Barbara and Marjorie.  Memorial contributions may be forwarded to Lakewood Presbyterian Church, 14502 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 44107. Inurnment Thursday, May 14 at 12:30 p.m. at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. A memorial Service will be held at Lakewood Presbyterian Church, Friday, May 15 at 11 a.m.  Friends may call at the Busch Funeral Home.

Bob Cox currently holds 63 USAWA Records – with most of them set when he was over the age of 70!

Here are a couple of videos of Bob Cox from the 2000 IAWA World Championships – which was held in Mansfield, Massachusetts:

YouTube Video – Bob Cox performing a Continental Snatch
YouTube Video – Bob Cox performing a One Arm Deadlift

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