Monthly Archives: March 2010

Deanna Springs Meet

Garcia Wins Deanna Springs Memorial  Meet

by Al Myers

Deanna Meet Participants (left to right) in front of the Heavy Bar Al Myers, Joe Garcia and Thom Van Vleck

A slimmed down Joe Garcia still shows he has the mastery of the Heavy Lifts, and won this year’s Deanna Springs Memorial Meet. Joe has won this meet hosted annually by Bill Clark numerous times in the past. He had two challengers – Thom Van Vleck of the JWC and myself of the Dino Gym. The meet was about canceled this year due to lack of entries, but when Bill found out there were interested participants he graciously opened his gym up to another year of the challenging lifts contested in the “Deanna Meet”. Missing this year was Al Springs, who often attends in memory of Deanna.

Joe has been busy with starting his new business, but it was obvious he hasn’t let his training slack and looked in great shape. This was Thom’s first exposure to the Chain Lifts and did quite well his first time out – and with time no doubt will become very proficient in them. The meet started out with the Crucifix and I had the top lift, matching my personal best of 90 pounds. The next event was the Cheat Curl and Thom ended up with the top Cheat Curl at 195 pounds. I usually consider these first two events as warmups because at this point the Heavy Lifts start – and it’s time to get serious. The next event is the Deanna Lift – which was invented and named after Deanna Springs. It is the meet’s signature event – and has never been contested outside of this meet. It combines two of Deanna’s favorite lifts – the Zercher Lift and the Hand and Thigh Lift. This lift is very painful as it involves the Hand and Thigh bar positioned on the arms like a Zercher Lift, but with MUCH more weight involved. I had the top lift at 775 pounds.

The fourth event was the Hand and Thigh Lift. It is always a great privilege to compete in this event against the ALL-TIME record holder Joe Garcia. Everything I know about the Hand and Thigh Lift I have learned from Joe. Well, the years of tutelage finally paid off for me as I put it all together in this lift and broke 1500 pounds for the first time. My final lift was 1505 pounds, which broke Joe’s overall record in the 115K class. Joe was a class act about me breaking one of his Hand and Thigh records (not that he doesn’t have many others!!!) and sincerely congratulated me on my efforts. This meant a lot to me, and even more when Joe said, “this is the first time in 20 years that I have been beaten in a meet in the Hand and Thigh and I am glad that it is by you”. He then reminded me that he was at his Hand and Thigh peak when he was 43 years old (the same age I am now)! I’m still trying to figure out what he meant by that – but regardless, thanks Joe for all the help you have been to me in this lift!!

The meet ended with the Hip Lift. Thom got an easy 1205# lift (and had MUCH more in him) and Joe and I both ended at 1685 pounds. We were both capable of much more, but I made a huge jump on my last attempt as a strategic move to put the pressure on Joe for the overall. He made the jump with me but this big jump was just too much for both of us on this day. When it comes to a meet like this, that includes an assortment of Heavy Lifts, Joe is about impossible to beat. I was just glad to be able to push him a little on this day – something I haven’t done in previous Deanna Meets.

We concluded the day by filling up on the buffet at the Golden Corral – a Clark’s Gym post meet tradition. I also want to mention the All-Round celebrity guest we had in attendance – Wayne Jackson. Wayne is Thom’s Uncle, and one of the founders of the Jackson Weightlifting Club. Wayne told me that he first met Bill in 1962 while attending a meet hosted by Bill. They both enjoyed “reminiscing about the old days”. I want thank Bill for putting this meet on – EVERYONE had a great time!!

Below is the full meet results:

Deanna Springs Memorial Meet
Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri
March 28th, 2010

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Official (one used):  Bill Clark

Lifts:  Crucifix, Cheat Curl, Deanna Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, and Hip Lift


Lifter Age BWT Crucifix Curl Deanna H&T Hip Total Adj. Points
Joe Garcia
56 215 70 155 575 1285 1685 3770 3611.64
Al Myers
43 251 90 175 775 1505 1685 4230 3487.68
Thom Van Vleck
45 299 80 195 485 885 1205 2850 2196.57

BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  Total is total pounds lifted.  Adj. Points is adjusted Lynch Points for age and bodyweight.

The Theft of the Championship Belt

by George Jowett

The Championship Belt of Warren Lincoln Travis, which now resides at the York Barbell Museum.

Talking about getting sore, can you imagine the even-tempered Warren Lincoln Travis getting sore? He did once.  He was giving an exhibition down in New England, and at the entrance of the show he had his diamond belt and some other trophies on display.  He had hired a man to watch them but Warren forgot to hire somebody else to watch the watcher.  The result was, the caretaker of the trophies beat it with the whole outfit, which is worth a snug fortune.  Did Warren camp on that guy’s trail? OH! boy, he didn’t wait for a train. The spirit of Achilles was in his heels, and he was traveling faster than any train. But, the best Travis could do was to locate the pawn shop where the smart boy had hocked the goods.  Warren wept for joy when he grabbed his cherished possessions, but the thief got away.  Luckily for him, for if Travis had ever got his hands on him, it would have been the parting of the ways, as Warren would have distributed him to the four winds. However, Warren still remembers it and is willing to laugh with you over the escapade.

Credit:  The Key to Might and Muscle by George Jowett

Get Out and Compete in the USAWA

by Al Myers

Dr. Charlie Scott, at age 74, competed in his first USAWA National Championships last year. Dr. Scott was previously an Olympic Lifter and Gymnast, and now a great addition to the USAWA!

I have often heard this answer in the gym when I have asked guys if they compete or not, “I’m not strong enough yet to enter a competition”.  It’s amazing how this time never comes for them.  It seems the expectations of what they want to lift in order to enter a competition is not EVER enough – and in the mean time they lose out on having enjoyable experiences challenging themselves in a competitive meet environment.  That is one of the great things about weightlifting – your competition is the bar and weights laying in front of you on the platform. You have full control on whether you are successful or not.  It’s not like boxing or the UFC, where you may be at the top of your game, and the “other guy” is just better than you, and you end up with your face smashed in!   I would understand it, if in those sports, someone says they are not ready for competition!  But competitive All-Round Weightlifting – give me a break!  The challenges are always there to get stronger, or maybe just get better at a lift no matter what your age is.  I have come to the conclusion and accepted that I have probably reached (or passed) my physical peak.  At age 43, I know my best years are behind me.  But I still enjoy training and “giving it all I have” in competition.  All-Round Weightlifting has been a blessing for me – the multitude of different lifts provide unique opportunities to get better at lifts for a long time.  I am constantly learning new techniques in particular lifts that make me better.  Just at this past World Championships, Frank Ciavattone gave me a tip that put 20 pounds on my Ciavattone Deadlift immediately!  Last year at the Heavy Events National Championship, Dale Friesz and Art Montini told me “the secret” on the Neck Lift which has translated into over a 100# increase in my Neck Lift.  Bill Clark has given me numerous training advice through the years that has helped me tremendously – which I only got because I went to the meets that he hosts. Joe Garcia has helped me in the Hand and Thigh Lift  – I was doing it totally wrong until Joe showed me the correct technique.  Now if I was staying home training by myself waiting for the day to enter a competition, would I have learned these things?  Not much of a chance.

For those of you that have never tried a weightlifting competition, or just want to try something different – give the USAWA a try!  You will find out that the competition is fun. The lifters involved in the USAWA are a special breed – everyone involved is down to earth and just enjoys challenging themselves with weights. Everyone is very helpful and supportive to each other at meets. They are no EGOS in this organization – mainly because everyone involves knows that even though there may be lifts that you can excel in, there are also ones that humble you.  But even with those lifts  – if you work at them you will improve. Don’t be one of those gym lifters that really would like to compete – but just doesn’t.

Give All-Round Weightlifting a try – and Get Out and Compete in the USAWA.

John Godina and the Worlds Throw Center

By Thom Van Vleck

John Godina and Thom Van Vleck at the Godina World Throws Center

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Athletes Performance in Phoenix, Arizona.  It is a world class training facility that is home to the John Godina World Throws Center.  I was there to do an interview with Mr. Godina for a publication I write for.

I really like throwing as a sport (shot, discus, Scottish Highland Games) and I especially like John Godina because he just may be the greatest drug free thrower of all time.  He has adamantly spoke out against performance drugs and made no secret where he stands on them and those who use them.

As for the Center, well, it was quite a place.  I have been to Clark’s gym, Big Al’s Dino Gym, and of course, the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  I have heard about other USAWA clubs and there seems to be a theme.  That theme is perhaps best described as “Old School” or maybe “Dungeon” might be a better word.

If you are like me, that’s how you like it.  Godina’s digs were of a different nature.  They had a kitchen that specially prepared food for each athlete, there was training room with massage available, there was a snack bar that only had healthy foods and drinks, a film room to study films on your sport, and of course, a pretty amazing gym.

I’m not talking a “Gold’s Gym” or one of the fancy pants gyms that most of us would probably agree….well…they SUCK!  But the Throws Center had lifting platforms to do pulls from the floor, heavy Dumbbells and kettlebells, and a row of power racks that stretched the length of the gym.  There were all kinds of equipment, but none of them focused on biceps!  This was a place to lift and get strong, explosive, and powerful. Not a place to admire yourself in the mirror!

I still prefer old school, and to be honest, I don’t think I could ever afford Godina’s place, but still, it was quite an experience.  John Godina was a genuinely nice guy and I’m excited to be doing a story on him, and his training facility blew away the Olympic training center in quality all the way around.  Quite a place and one that I think any USAWA’er could enjoy.

Quiz of the Week

by Al Myers

Name these two lifters from the “Golden Era of Weightlifting”.  The first correct answer emailed to me wins. You may only give one answer per day.  The winner will receive a USAWA patch.

Scott Schmidt, of Westlake Ohio, provided the correct answer. Scott gave the “fastest answer” yet to the Quiz of the Week, with me receiving the answer ONLY 1.5 hours after putting the Quiz up!!! Way to go Scott!!

A pair of the best lifters of all time. On the left is STEVE STANKO who officially snatched 310 1/2 pounds and officially clean and jerked 385 pounds. STEVE STANKO was the first man to total over 1000 pounds. On the right is JOHN GRIMEK, who weighing only 180 pounds officially pressed 285 pounds in National Competition. Credit: Strength and Health, March 1947

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