Monthly Archives: April 2014

Joe the Turk OTSM

by Tim Piper


“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet 2014

The Macomb Salvation Army hosted the “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet on April 19th. “Joe the Turk” was Macomb Illinois’ original “strongman” and holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army. At the turn of the 20th century Joe the Turk was in Macomb for a short time helping clean up the town of crooked laymen and henchmen. He did so by being unafraid of their tactics and standing steadfast in his belief that good would prevail. While he only spent a short time in Macomb it seemed fitting to name the United States All-round Weightlifting Association (USAWA) sanctioned meet in his honor.

The USAWA was formed over 25 years ago to continue the longstanding tradition of old-time weightlifters like Eugene Sandow, Louis Cyr, Apollon, Paul Anderson, and countless others. The organization hosts meets throughout the country and is a member of the International All-round Weightlifting Association (IAWA). The lifts contested in USAWA meets are often based upon lifts that were performed in traveling circus performance acts, side shows, and festivals. Many bear the name of the old-time strongman who made them most famous. The lifts are quite atypical; involving often rarely seen variations of squats, deadlifts, and overhead movements, employing primarily simple bars and plates without the benefit of spotters. Like the old-time strongman, the lifter is tested for maximum strength while maintaining control of the barbell at all times. This was a small but exciting meet with all lifters setting numerous national records.

The meet was held outside the Salvation Army gym in the warm sun. The first lift was the Cyr Press which involves taking a standard dumbbell to the shoulder and then pressing it overhead one handed. 34 year old January Rowland of Independence Iowa did well setting a new womens national record of with a lift of 25 kilos or 55 pounds. Twenty-eight year old, 250 pound Jared Abry from Good Hope Illinois set a new personal best of 127 pounds.

The next lift was the Anderson squat, named after the late Paul Anderson. This lift consists of a partial squat with the barbell starting at 2/3 the individuals standing height. Jan Rowland lifted 225 pounds for a new womens national record. Jared Abry set a new personal best with a squat of 540 pounds.

The next lift was the Hackenschmidt Floor Press which consists of a barbell press performed on the floor with the barbell starting at a height of not more than 15 inches of the ground. Rowland lifted 121.25 pounds for a new national record. Abry also set a new national record with a press of 275 pounds.

The final lift of the day was the Peoples deadlift, named after Tennessee powerlifter Bob Peoples, and is a deadlift that starts with the barbell at 18 inches off the ground. Rowland lifted 275 pounds for new personal and national record. Abry lifted a new personal best of 518 pounds.
All lifters received commemorative “Joe the Turk” mugs. For his efforts the best overall lifter Jared Abry received a set of Indian clubs similar to the sort that Joe might have recognized in his days in Macomb. While small, the meet was a lot of fun for me and I think Jared and Jan had a good time. Plans are already starting for next years “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman meet.


Joe the Turk OTSM
Salvation Army Gym
Macomb, Illinois
March 19th, 2014

Meet Director: Tim Piper

Official (1 Official System): Tim Piper

Lifts: Cyr Press, Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, Peoples Deadlift

January Rowland (F) 34 319 55 226 121 275 677
Jared Abry (M) 28 250 127 540 275 518 1460

Notes: BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All lifts recorded in pounds.  TOT is total pounds lifted.