Monthly Archives: December 2013

Lifter of the Month: Barry Bryan

Barry Bryan at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup (left) with USAWA President Denny Habecker (right).

by Al Myers

The Lifter of the Month for October goes to BARRY BRYAN for his outstanding performances in Art’s Birthday Bash.   I am so glad to see Barry “back in action” in the USAWA.   Barry is a joy to be around at meets – always helping out lifters, the meet promoter, or just assisting in any way he can.   He is a LEVEL 2 certified USAWA official, and has been involved in many National Championships.

Congratulations to Barry Bryan for being Lifter of the Month for October!!!!

Lifter of the Month: John Wilmot

by Al Myers

As Tom Ryan performs a big Hip Lift in an All Round Meet in the late 80’s, John Wilmot looks on in the background.

The lifter of the month for September goes to our long-term USAWA Postal Meet Director John Wilmot.  The only USAWA competition held in the month of September was our 3rd quarter postal, the Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet.   Amazingly, since the USAWA Postal Series began – John has competed in EVERY postal meet.  That’s showing quite a commitment to the organization!!!

Congratulations to John Wilmot for being awarded USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for September!!!

Mike Jenkins: A Real Giant

by Thom Van Vleck

An autographed Photo Mike sent me being presented his Award for winning the Arnold Pro Strongman Contest by none other than Arnold himself.

When I was a kid I was fascinated by giants.  Fictional ones like the Irish Giant Finn MacCool and the Scottish Giand Benandonner (The Red Man) and real ones like my favorite Angus MacAskill.  I’ll have to admit, I wanted to be a Giant myself and if anyone could “will” themselves to be taller (actually, John Grimek claimed to have done just that using stretching exercises) then I did it.

I recently had the privilege to do a story in another real, modern day giant.  His name was Mike Jenkins (MILO September 2012 Vol 20 No 2).  Mike was 6’6″ tall and weighed over 400lbs at his competitive best.  He did not carry much fat, he was relatively lean.  He was just a big human being!  Mike had told me he was 225lbs when he was 10 years old and by the time he was 15 he was 300lbs!

Mike had been a football player at James Madison University where he won a National Championship.  He briefly played Pro football but soon found himself in Strongman.  He won the inaugural Amateur Arnold Strongman Classic in 2010 and quickly turned pro.  He shocked many in his first 2011 World’s Strongest Man when he made it to the finals and then won the first two events!  However, a back injury took him out and we were left to wonder “what it”.  He came back in 2012 to get 5th dealing with injuries.  He won the “Giant’s Live” in 2012 in Australia against top competition and he also won the Arnold Pro Strongman Classic in 2012.  I have always thought the Arnold Strongman contest was a much better measure of strength than the WSM as many of the events were more static, pure strength events in my opinion.  At that time I knew it was only a matter of time before Mike was the World’s Strongest Man officially!

Alas, it was not to be.  Thanksgiving morning he was found dead.  His wife said he died in his sleep and while I’m sure there will be much said about it but today I just want to honor the man and a friend taken much too soon.   When I did the article on him I interviewed him by phone and email.  Since then, I had kept in touch but I had never got to meet him face to face.  I try not to have regrets but I have to admit, I have a few. One I have was that I missed my chance to meet him in person earlier this year I was at the Arnold Fit Expo where Mike was acting as the color commentator as he was recovering from an injury.  At the time, I thought, “Well, there will be another chance”.

I know that often people will say nice things about someone after they have died.  Here’s the thing, when I say Mike was a good man, a good husband, son, brother, and friend…..a truly nice guy….it’s TRUE.  He always answered my emails,  he always asked about my training and how my competitions were going.  He was always posting on his facebook page the accomplishments of others, especially those he trained in his gym and his wife Keri.  He treated everyone as an equal when clearly, most of us were not his equal in the strength world!   I once asked him who he respected most in the strength world and his reply was “EVERYONE” because to him you deserved respect if you had the guts to get out there and put yourself on the line!

Mike will be missed greatly and I know his wife Keri is heartbroken.  I hope you will join me in sending a prayer their way and remembering Mike Jenkins….a true giant of a man.

Lifter of the Month: Denny Habecker

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker competing in the 2013 Presidential Cup, here performing a 165 pound Right Arm Ciavattone Grip Deadlift. Denny also promoted this meet in his gym, Habeckers Gym.

I know I’ve got a little behind on the Lifters of the Month – so I’m gonna take this week to catch up!  The Lifter of the Month for August was a pretty easy choice, and it goes to our USAWA President Denny Habecker.  Denny was the ONLY lifter to compete in ALL of the USAWA competitions in the month of August (World Postal Champs, Presidential Cup, Team Championships, and the Dino Days Record Day).   That’s a very busy month of competing!!  Denny is one of the most persistent competitors I have ever met – he doesn’t EVER take any “down time” from competition. 

We are very fortunate to have Denny as our President.  I regard him as the best President the USAWA has ever had, and that says a lot as there have been some excellent men in this position in the past.  A President should be someone who is very involved in the organization, and attends a wide range of events to interact with the membership and support USAWA promotions.  Denny goes beyond  the call of duty with this!!!

Congratulations to Denny for winning the USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for the month of August!!!!!

Grip Championships

by Al Myers


LaVerne Myers performing a 112# Dumbbell Walk at the 2012 USAWA Grip Championships under the watch of Denny Habecker (left) and Dave Glasgow (right). The Dumbbell Walk will be in this year's Grip Championships as well.

I will be hosting the USAWA Grip Championships again this year at the Dino Gym.  Last year this meet was a great success with many entrants – and hopefully this year will be even better.  This is one of the USAWA’s Championship events, and one of the signature competitions within the USAWA each year.  It is designed to recognize the top lifters in a selection of grip events, which are official lifts of the USAWA.  The USAWA has several lifts that are “grip oriented” and since this is a Championship Competition only official lifts of the USAWA are eligible to be in this competition. 

It is always a difficult thing for me to pick the lifts for this meet.  It seems no matter what I pick – there is always someone who doesn’t like my choices!  So this year I got myself “off the hook” by letting others chose a lift a piece for the Grip Champs.  The lucky participants for this assignment were Thom, Chad, Dave, and my Dad LaVerne.  I won’t reveal what each of their choices were – but it is pretty easy to tell by looking at the selected lifts in this meet.  Three of them picked their “pet lift” while the choice of the fourth was just being sadistic.

As with keeping with the traditional date of the Grip Championships, it will be held on the second Saturday in February (Feb 8th).  Put this date on your calendar and make it to the Dino Gym for a day of fun!!! 


Meet Director:  Al Myers

Meet Date:  Saturday, February 8th, 2014    10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Location:  Dino Gym, 1126 Eden Road, Abilene, KS 67410

Sanction: United States All-Round Weightlifting Association.  Individual USAWA membership is required of each participant. 

Weigh-ins:  9:00-10:00 AM the day of the meet.  Lifting will start at 10:00 AM

Divisions:  Juniors, Women, Masters, and Open

Awards:  Championship Certificates

Entry Fee:  None – but please notify me ahead of time if you plan to enter


Dumbbell Walk
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells
Deadlift – One Arm
Deadlift – Middle Fingers

Rules: USAWA General Rules and Scoring Apply.

This will be a DRUG TESTED event.

Registration: No Entry Form, but please contact me ahead of the meet if you plan to attend at

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