Author Archives: Al Myers

Take the Test!!

By Eric Todd

There was a time, many moons ago when it was permissible for unqualified, uncertified, inexperienced individuals to officiate USAWA meets. At the time of my first USAWA meet, I had done one bench press meet and 2-3 strongman meets.  I was unqualified, uncertified and inexperienced.  Technically, I could have walked into Clark’s Gym and served in the capacity of an official for the 2003 Deanna Springs Memorial.  I was not called upon to do so, as we had two competent officials in Hall of Fame members Bill Clark and Joe Garcia.  However, as there was no official’s certification process at the time, it was fully permissible for any derelict off the street munching on a handful of licorice whips to step in and sit in the official’s chair

Fast forward a few years, and an initial rules test was drafted by Bill Clark. With the exception of those who were grandfathered in as a USAWA official for their vast experience in officiating these meets, anyone wishing to become a certified official would have to take and pass this examination.  This was certainly a step forward in cementing the credibility of the USAWA organization.  I believe I was one of the first to take, and pass this original test.

Since that time the rules test has been revamped by Al Myers and his confederates. It is a good test that requires you to have a decent foundation of knowledge of the rules, or at least the capacity to look them up in the rule book, as it is an open book exam.  Once you have taken the test, you send your answers into Joe Garcia, who is our USAWA Officials Director.  Then wait to find out if you have passed.  If you do not pass the first time, you can take it until you pass.

The next step I am taking directly from the website. You can find all of this information here: :

After passing the Open Book Rules Test, the next step is to complete three practical training sessions. This process requires an applicant to officiate unofficially alongside a Level 2 official in the One Official System, or judge officially in the Three Official System in three competitions within a year. A combination of using either of these two systems is allowed in order to fulfill the three practical training sessions. If judging as part of the Three Official System is used, the other two officials must be certified officials, of which one must be a Level 2 official.  A practical training session form will be available for the applicant to document this process.  A Level 2 official must provide authorization that the applicant was competent as an official by signing the form after each event. The same Level 2 official may provide authorization on all practical training sessions for an applicant.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit this form to the Officials Director Joe Garcia once completed in order to apply for official certification.

At this point, you are considered a level 1 official. As a level one official, you must retake the rules test every three years to maintain your status as an official in good standing in the USAWA.  Once you have documented officiating in at least 25 all-round events, you are considered a level 2 official, and you are an official for life in the USAWA.

So, that is the process by which you would proceed in becoming and staying a USAWA official. Maybe it sounds like a lengthy, complicated process?  I can assure you, it is not.  I, for one, always reference the rule book when preparing for a meet that I am competing in or officiating in to be sure I have full understanding of the lifts we are contesting.  You see, as we have so many lifts in our organization, it is difficult for any one person to memorize the minute details of all the lifts within it.  So, I reference the rule book to know what I am lifting or what I am judging.  That being said, it is valuable for any member to peruse the rule book from time to time.  And that is pretty much all you do while taking the test.

As far as the practical training sessions, it is a minimal expectation. Our organization is such that lifters are often called to the officials chair during a meet.  It is part of pulling your weight at these meets.  So, just ask to be a part of that at meets you are competing to get those training sessions in.  All the promoters I know would be glad to have the help, and all the officials I know would love to help you out.

We, the USAWA, are a small organization with an important purpose – to keep the non oly and non powerlifting lifts alive. With our small numbers, we each must do our best to be a contributing member.  So, while not all of us have what it takes to be president, secretary or on the executive board, we can all lift, load, and sit in the officials’ chair.  So, take that first step.  Print off the test.  Open up the rules book and answer some questions.  You certainly do not have to do it at one setting.  I, for one, did not.  Answer some more in a few days.  When you come to one you cannot find or do not understand, holler at one of us.  I find discussion of the rules is just as valuable learning took as reading through the rule book.  At the end of it all, you will be proud to know you are helping out to make the USAWA the best organization it can be.

Going Postal

By Eric Todd

One of the many benefits of lifting in all-round is the postal competitions.  These have been going on for as long as I have been involved.  When I first started in the USAWA, Bill Clark ran a three part postal series with a multitude of lifts contested.  Later John Wilmott took over being in charge of the postals in the USAWA, followed by our President Denny Habecker.  On the international front,  I believe it was Frank Lamp from Australia who ran a very nice postal meet in the early 2000s where he would send out medals and a booklet of results (to his financial distress, I would imagine).  Later Steve Gardner, and of late it has been taken over by Al Myers.

I would encourage everybody who is physically able to participate in these postals.  First of all, it allows one to maximize what they are getting out of their USAWA membership at no cost to the lifter.  They do not cost us a dime to lift in.  I happen to live in an all-round hotbed with plenty of USAWA meets to participate in.  But for those not so fortunate, the postal series allows for several opportunities for athletes to compete.  If you live close to a certified official, you can enter the Andy Goddard IAWA World Postal Championships (you must have at least one official for that one).  For the postals hosted by Denny and the USAWA you do not even have to have a certified official to enter (though you must use one for it to count for a record).  You can have your Uncle Ernie officiate, and it would count for the sake of the meet (certainly everybody’s Uncle Ernie would be happy to help them in this capacity).

Another fabulous benefit of competing in the postals is you get to challenge yourself against the best in the US (for USAWA postals) and the World (for the IAWA one) without extensive travel and cost.  I have competed against lifters from England, Scotland, China, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand (among other countries, I am sure), all from the comfort of my home.  And you are not restricted to a particular day.  If this Saturday you are occupied, you can compete on the following Thursday (or another day if Thursday is booked).  Just as long as you do the lifts all on one day within the competition window and get your results in on time, you are good to go.  I love looking up the results and comparing myself with lifters from far away both in formula and total.

Now, I have been as guilty as anyone else of missing a postal here and there.  Sometimes due to injury.  Other times it was lack of planning.  The end of the window came and me and Lance could not make a time work (I probably should have called Uncle Ernie). Sometimes life just gets in the way.  Otherwise, it was just laziness on my part.  But, I have made an effort to increase my postal participation percentages.  It just feels like a real easy way that we can support the USAWA to help keep the organization alive out of respect for those who have lifted before us, and for those who I hope will follow.

Art’s Birthday Bash

by John McKean



What does an original USAWA lifter do when he turns 90? Merely hefts the highest poundage lift of anyone attending his own birthday meet! Yep, ole Art snuck in an easy 450# hip lift to outdo the crowd of one of the most well attended big contests of the year, even besting 4 of the top USAWA record holders present (only one other out of the top 5 was claiming jet lag or some lame excuse, and stayed home!!).

It was a fitting birthday for the glowing Mr. Montini, super cheerful and looking fit and healthy thanks to his large family traveling up and throwing him a huge party the night before! Naturally many of those youngsters enjoyed lifting at the meet on Sunday morning; between the kids & parents milling around, there were more Montinis than cockroaches in the old VFW gym!

Not that generations of Art’s family were the only long distance travelers – Dean Ross was his usual busy self, driving in from Oklahoma, finishing his record setting marathon early, then driving the huge mileage back so he could work on Monday morning! Our hard working president, Denny Habecker, hit the turnpike from across state, bringing with him the ever witty and tremendous long time lifter, Barry Pensyl. And from nearby Cleveland, Ohio, came Scott Schmidt (savior of this year’s National USAWA championships!) and the always dependable Dennis and Flossy Mitchell. Heck, I even coerced my grandson, Andraes, just turned 12, to travel down for the weekend and begin his “official” entrance into the record books (tho’ he actually thought it was merely going to be a donut eating contest between him & Art!).

Despite chalk dust flying, boundless youthful enthusiasm, and many records shattered, the meet wrapped up just around 1 PM. We’ve sponsored great birthday meets in the past, but this one may go down as the most FUN contest of all. As one visiting lifter was so amazed and excited over Art’s lifting & longevity, she requested to take a photo of him while he was so vital and alive; naturally some wag called out “better take it QUICK!”


Duss Ave Ambridge,PA
Ambridge VFW Barbell Club
Oct. 15, 2017

Meet Director: Art Montini

A 3 Official (IAWA/USAWA registered officials used) judged contest. Officials in attendance : Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, Art Montini, Scott Schmidt,  John McKean

Lifters’ results:

Jason Montini II    bwt 52 K   age 11  (55k, under 13)
teeth lift  25 pounds
crucifix  30 pounds
jerk behind neck from rack  25#
One arm clean & jerk dumbbell right arm  30#
one arm dumbbell clean & press left arm  20 pounds

Dennis Mitchell  bwt 147#  age 85 (70K, 85+)
Left hand deadlift 60K
Right Hand Deadlift 60K
Thumbless deadlift  70K
Straight arm pullover  42.5 Pounds

Barry Pensyl  bwt 150# age 69 (70K, 65+)
hands together bench press  120 pounds
2″ vertical bar lift right arm  99#
dumbbell swing right arm  55#
straight arm pullover  60#
Thor’s Hammer  24#

John McKean  bwt 150 1/2 pounds age  71 ( 70K, 70+ )
right arm dumbbell deadlift  182 pounds
left arm dumbbell deadlift  152#
2″ bar (Fulton) hack lift  178#
2″ bar (Fulton) Jefferson lift  258#
Kennedy lift  410 #

Art Montini  bwt 178#  age 90 ( 85K, 90+)
abdominal raise  30 pounds
Zercher  120#
teeth lift  130#
hand & thigh  300#
Hip lift  450#

Annabelle Montini  bwt 178 1/2 #  age 10 (85K, under 13,female)
trap bar deadlift 165#
Arthur lift  20#
hand&thigh  160#
Right hand clean & jerk (dumbbell) 15#
2 hand deadlift  88#

Andraes McKean  bwt 179#  age 12  (85K,under 13)
left hand dumbbell deadlift  86#
right hand dumbbell deadlift 102#
bentover row (power row)  118 #
2″bar (Fulton) hack lift  108#
2″bar (Fulton) Jefferson lift 128#

Robyn Montini  bwt 179# age 17 ( 85K,16-17,female)
Hand & thigh 180#
Trap bar deadlift 175#
Arthur lift 20#
Dumbbell clean& jerk right arm 35#
2 hand deadlift  154#

Denny Habecker  bwt 191#  age 75 (90K,75+)
bench press alternate grip  155#
crucifix  50#
Ciavattone deadlift 258#
One Dumbbell press left arm 45#
press behind neck from rack  110#

Benson Montini  bwt 93K  age 13 (95K,13-)
trap bar deadlift 275#
hand & thigh  250#
crucifix 30#
dumbell press right arm 25#
jerk behind neck from rack  50#

Dean Ross  bwt 233#  age 74  (110K,70+)
bent arm pullover  75#
straight arm pullover  55#
one arm hack lift,left hand  80#
half Gardner 18#
good morning 115#

Scott Schmidt  bwt 235# age 64 (110K,60+)
2 hands clean and seated press behind neck 55K
clean&jerk  2 dumbbells 40K
continental clean  72K

Beth Bulebosh  bwt 280# age 49  (130K,45+,female)
Jackson press 75#
Left hand dumbbell press 35#
right hand dumbbell press 35#
2″ vertical bar lift, left hand 114#
2″ vertical bar lift , right hand  114#

Jason Montini  bwt 141.5K  age 38 (145K,open)
2 hand seated dumbbell press  90#
middle fingers hack lift 108#
ring finger hack lift 88#

Christopher Montini  bwt 148.5 K  age 39 ( 150K ,open)
Teeth lift  135#
trap bar deadlift 425#
jerk behind neck from rack  135#


By Al Myers

(Webmasters Note: Over the next month I will be running a series of biography blogs covering all past USAWA Hall of Fame members.  These bios will be added to the history section, under Hall of Fame.)




Deanna Springs and Al Springs performing a Team Cheat Curl.

Deanna Springs and Al Springs performing a Team Cheat Curl.

Deanna Springs was born in Gallatin, Missouri, daughter of Ray and Gertrude Cook. Deanna was introduced to All-Round Weightlifting by her husband, Al Springs, in 1990. Having no prior sports experience, she quickly developed a love for weightlifting, and trained with Al at their gym. Together, they also promoted several local competitions. Someone else who inspired her to take up weightlifting was Bill Clark. Deanna and Al would often compete in the All-Round Weightlifting competitions that Bill hosted at his gym. Her best National placing was placing 3rd overall at the 1994 USAWA National Championships in East Lake, Ohio. Deanna’s favorite lifts were the Zercher Lift and the Hand and Thigh. Her best Hand and Thigh was 620 pounds. That is how the Deanna Lift, which was named in her honor, came to be – by combining the movements of the Hand and Thigh and the Zercher Lift. Deanna died in 1995. Every year Bill Clark hosts the Deanna Springs Memorial, a meet which features the Deanna Lift.

My World Champs Experience

By Al Myers

Group picture from the 2017 IAWA World Championships in Perth, Australia.

Group picture from the 2017 IAWA World Championships in Perth, Australia.

John did such a great job with his World Championships meet report this is not gonna be a report, but rather “my take” on my experience at the World Championships in Perth.  This meet was my third meet at the Belmont Sports Club in Perth, Australia, so I’ve been there before.  The WA Club is “centered” out of the Belmont Sports Club and they have a really nice set up there, with everything you need for All Round Weightlifting.  I let my wife Leslie make our travel plans for this one.  I never thought she would make that long trek across the ocean again with me to Australia, so I bribed her that we could do a “tack on” trip to Bali after the meet. Well, that plan didn’t work out with the Volcano on Mt Agung about ready to blow so we changed last minute to taking a vaca to Melbourne.  But much to my surprise (I should have looked at our flights before we headed to the airport!) but it had us getting into Perth Friday afternoon!  Normally I like a day or two to adjust to the travel lag, but not this time!

No sooner than we got checked into our hotel in downtown Perth it was time to head to the AGM of the IAWA. No rest for me! Upon reaching the club, it was great to see ole friends and familiar faces of the WA lifters.  John Mahon, the meet promoter and host, greeted me right away.  A small group of lifters and club members joined us for the meeting.  As Prez I had all the details of the meeting agenda lined out beforehand, but I was hoping the travel hadn’t affected my congnitive thinking. I didn’t want to be like Peter the year before in Lebanon where he was drifting “in and out” of consciousness during the meeting. Plus this was my first AGM without the ole pro Steve Gardner at my side which added to my stress levels.  But luckily, there were no debateable issues on the agenda so the meeting went super smooth.

One thing about the Aussie group – they know how to run a good meet. John and the WA crew had all of the details of the meet taken care in advance and were ready to roll! On Saturday the meet started right on time.  At the club they have a big room adjacent to the gym which is perfect for meets.  One thing was different from previous years – the platform was laid out on the other side of the room, which actually worked better as the stage was behind the lifting area giving a nice appearance with the WC banner hanging on the stage curtain and the trophies lined up on the stage.  I knew most of the lifters from before, but it was nice to meet some new lifters.  Another thing about this club, they are the most friendly group.   I announced the first session of lifters.  It was great to see the large group of women lifters entered.  Much more than most World Championships with 5 lifters, and every one of them very quality lifters.  I was super impressed with Monica Cook.  Monica was Best Overall Women’s Lifter at the WC in Perth in 2003, and she repeated that title again.  Australia has now hosted three IAWA World Championships (2003 and 2011 being the other two) during the history of the IAWA, with this one being the 30th year of the organization.  Miriam Phillips put up the highest total of all of the women lifters, and it was sure fun watching her lift.  She gave all out on her lifting attempts!  Sharni Clifford did all of the scorekeeping (with Mel assisting her) and those two did an excellent job. Having a good scorekeeper at your side when announcing makes everything go much smoother.  I greatly appreciated her efforts – plus when it was her time to lift she just “jumped out” of her chair and did her lifts between inputing the scores.

World Championship Banner.

World Championship Banner.

Some of the men also lifted in the first session.  It didn’t take long and I realized that Bill Kappel was gonna be hard for anyone to beat! Bill was the outstanding Men’s lifter in the 2003 World Championships (which was his last WC before this one).  Bill went on to win the Overall Best Mens Lifter again, which is quite an accomplishment to make his return to IAWA Worlds this way.  Of course, it was great to meet up with our USAWA President Denny Habecker again.  Denny always represents the USAWA in fine fashion, and has not missed a WC in many, many years.  “Uncle”  Denny lifted exceptionally, finishing 6th in the overall standings.  The ole veteran Tom Davies was solid in all events, and I swear he had a smile on his face the entire time!  He has been involved with WA All Round lifting longer than most (probably since the beginning).  John Patterson didn’t lift but was officiating.  I had to chuckle when John told me that he didn’t think he would see me again after last seeing him at the 2015 Gold Cup in Perth. I always enjoy my conversations with John as he has a wealth of lifting knowledge.  And John – before you know it – you will be seeing me again as the Gold Cup will be in Perth again in 2019 and I plan to make it!

The afternoon session was packed with great lifters. John “tag teamed” with me with the announcing duties which I was grateful for as it’s hard to be on the mic and the platform at the same time. However, often we were lifting “back to back” so it created some issues with the MCing, but we fought through it, sometimes out of breath as we were announcing.  But back to the lifters.  Super impressed with Javan “Jay” Waller – super lifter and great guy. Jay finished fourth in the overall standings which is tremendous for anyone’s first World Championships. A couple of the lifts he had the top lift of the day – the dumbbell snatch and the 2″ Straddle Lift.  Alex Biasin finished in fifth place overall, and won the title of being the “best dressed”.  Everytime I turned around he had on a new themed singlet of which I have never seen the likes of before.  This just reflected the personality of Alex, as he was as dynamic on the platform as he was in dress.  He put up the top feet in the air bench press of the meet.  Great to see Sam Trew again, as we have lifted together in several World Championships. Sam is a workhorse – loaded all day for two days plus lifted in the meet!  Add on to this set up and tear down work.  He had to be exhausted from the weekend.  I can’t forget to mention Peter Phillips in my report. It is always a pleasure to share a platform with Peter during a meet. Peter has been a perennial powerhouse all rounder from Perth and President of the ARWLWA.  Overall, Peter finshed in third place overall.

Al and Peter

Al and Peter

It was fun catching up with Robin Lukosius.  Robin is the “money man” of the ARWLWA, and responsible for making sure all fees are collected and bills paid.   He’s super efficient with these jobs which is a critical part of the meet success.  We had good times on the platform together in the meet as well, especially when we had to dual it out in the Clean and Press.  Both of us have worn out shoulders and lifted early in the flight, thus had to battle it out for the worse presser. We both gave our best efforts, and in the end Robin barely won the title this time around between the two of us. I do have to reveal the reason why – it was that “secret” Aussie liniment of Peter’s that he let me use on my achy shoulders before the lift that gave me the edge I needed.   Two newcomers to the sport, Steven Charles and Doug de Prada showed great ability, and I know without a doubt will be future superstars in IAWA if they keep after it.

Awards were given out right after the meet because a few of the lifters couldn’t make it to the evening banquet where often the awards are presented.  My WC Award was the most unique trophy I have ever recieved.  They were hand crafted awards made from railway spikes representing a lifter in action.  The base was made out of a native Australian wood. Really loved the award – except for the 5 pounds it added to my luggage on the way home!  The banquet was in a fabulous location and  a private room was reserved for our group.  It gave everyone time to relax, enjoy a few drinks together, eat a great meal, and reflect on the outstanding World Championships! These are the memories that I always remember from these IAWA trips.

In closing, I want to say that I am really proud to be part of such a great organization,  And a BIG THANK YOU to John Mahon and the rest of the WA crew for hosting such a great World Championships!

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