Author Archives: Joe Garcia

Bill Clark’s Double Decathlon

by Joe Garcia


This meet is a tribute to the old days, before the USAWA, when the double Decathlon was an annual event.

Meet Director: Joe Garcia
Dates: October 10-11, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM each day
Weigh in: 4:30-5:30 each day
Location: Clark’s Gym, Columbia MO

USAWA membership required. Can register with the USAWA at time of meet.

Events – Day 1:
Deadlift, Reeves
Pinch Grip
Deadlift, Fulton Dumbbell, One Hand
Deadlift, Ciavattone Grip
Deanna Lift
Anderson Squat
Vertical Bar Deadlift, 2 bars, 1″
Kennedy Lift
Rectangular Fix, Fulton Bar
Saxon Snatch

Events – Day 2:
People’s Deadlift
Pinch Grip, One Hand
Dinnie Lift
Anderson Press
Vertical Bar Deadlift, 1 Bar, 1″, One Hand
Weaver Stick
Shoulder Drop
Ziegler Clean
Squat, Piper

Awards: none
Entry Fee: none
Entry Deadline: September 20, 2016
Phone: 573-289-3921

ENTRY FORM (PDF) – ClarksDoubleDecathlon

Deanna Springs Meet

by Joe Garcia


On October 5, 1995 Deanna Springs was killed in a car accident.  Her husband Al, a long time member of the USAWA, and also her coach, created the Deanna Springs Memorial Meet in her honor.  The first event was held March 30, 1996 in Al’s garage in St. Joseph MO.  There were 5 contestants who showed up, Amorkor Allennunking, Dennis Mitchell, Al Springs, Bill Clark and myself.  For the first two years the lifts were the Crucifix, Cheat Curl, Jefferson Lift, Zercher Lift, and the Hand and Thigh.  In 1998 a new lift was created, called the Deanna lift, which is a combination of the Hand and Thigh and the Zercher.  That lift replaced the Zercher and the Hip Lift replaced the Jefferson Lift, with the 5 lifts remaining the same for the event over the years.  This year three of those original participants, Al, Bill and myself were on hand though Bill was limited to the role of head Judge.  Rounding out the cast were Dean Ross and Lance Foster.  Mike Murdock was at the gym but elected not to lift in the competition.

Meet Results:

Deanna Springs Meet
Clark’s Gym
Columbia, MO
March 23rd, 2013

Meet Director: Bill Clark

Officials (3 official system used): Bill Clark, Joe Garcia, Mike Murdock

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

Lifter Age Bwt Cruc Cheat Dean H&T Hip Total Points
Joe Garcia 59 205 60 135 485 1200 1600 3480 3682.39
Dean Ross 70 262 40 95 355 500 755 1745 1772.06
Lance Foster 47 314 40 145 430 700 1050 2365 1815.00
Al Springs 70 195 40 65 325 425 525 1380 1639.12

Extra Lifts for Record:

Dave Beversdorf – HVT  – Age 46 – Left Hand Bench Press – 150lbs

All weights are listed in pounds. Points are adjusted points for age and bodyweight.

Bill Clark – Part 2

by Joe Garcia

Bill Clark performing his favorite lift, the Zercher Lift, at a meet in Leavenworth Prison in the early 1960's. There is 405 pounds on the bar.

Having looked at his role in the USAWA, and it is pretty easy to say there would not be a USAWA without his involvement; it’s time to delve into Bill’s life in general.  As we will see, Bill has been immersed in all sorts of sports, but the one in particular which has occupied the majority of his life is baseball. 

 His professional career as a scout began in 1956 when he became a ‘bird dog’, a person who finds talent for the scouts, for the Milwaukee Braves for $50 per year.  He performed at this level until 1962, meanwhile holding other jobs to support his family.  The Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966 where they are still today.  For a very short period of time he dabbled as an umpire in the Pioneer league, but stated that six weeks in the league cost him 3 years to recover.  In 1963 he became the Recreational Director for the city of Columbia and was also called by the Pirates who wanted him to run tryouts.  While doing tryouts, he first became a bird dog in their system, later becoming a part time scout and in 1967 was offered and accepted a full time position as scout.

The Seattle Pilots started up as a franchise in 1969 and took Bill on as one of their scouts.  The following year they went bankrupt, were purchased and moved to became the Milwaukee Brewers with Bill still on the team.  He stayed with them through the 1970 season and in 1971 got on with the Cincinnati Reds, again as a full time scout.  In 1984 Marge Schott took over as owner of the Reds.  Well known for both her cheapness and her dogs, she had the scouts in for a meeting, charged them 25 cents for leftover donuts from an event the previous day and had them all troupe down to meet her dogs.  Needless to say, Bill neither paid for the donuts nor met the dogs.

Probably due to his distain for her dogs, in 1989 Marge fired Bill who then went to work for the Atlanta and stayed with them for ten years.  After two years, in 1991, he was promoted to International Director of Scouting, a position he held till 1999 when he was relieved by new management.  In 2000, he joined with the San Diego Padres at the same position, where he finished out his scouting career in 2003, again being let go when new management took over the franchise.

During the course of his 36 year tenure in scouting, Bill signed 18 players into the league including Rafael Furcal (Atlanta – $8000) now with the Cardinals (6M), Andruw Jones (Atlanta) now with the Yankees and Bruce Chen (Atlanta) now with the Royals and past Pitcher of the Year.  As a member of the teams, he also received World Series rings, and has a total of eight rings, three for the champions; Cincinnati twice and Atlanta once.  These are kept in a bank vault, but hopefully he can be persuaded to bring them out sometime to gaze upon.

Way before his scouting and before the Pioneer league, Bill was a Semi-Pro official.  In 1949, at the age of 16, he officiated his first ball game for the Kansas City Monarchs, with the immortal Buck O’Neil playing First Base.  They kept a friendship going over the years until Buck’s death in 2006.  In 1950 he went to officiating school while still a teenager.  The last game Bill officiated was in 2009, between the Columbia Firemen and the media All-Stars for an Honor Flight fund raiser.  That last game put him behind the plate for a total of 7 decades.

He has worked in twenty two different sports from the local level through international, including an exhibition season in the NBA, National Junior College Wrestling, and State High School basketball.  As an athlete, he has competed in 6 decades, with the seventh just around the corner as he turns 80.  He was also co-owner of a trotting horse stables for a few years.

Bill received a Writing degree in Journalism in 1958 from the University of Missouri and has been at it ever since.  That same year he became the president of the MO State Sportswriters Association, and also accepted a position with the Lexington Kentucky Leader, whom he worked for briefly.  For over twenty years, he was on the staff as part time writer for both the Columbia Tribune and the Missourian, writing bowling columns, sports columns and general high school coverage.  Currently, he started writing in 2004 for the Columbia Tribune as their lead columnist, and to date has written approximately 1400 articles.  During his traveling years, he visited over 50 countries, logged more than 2000 international birds and has written numerous birding articles.

Over the years, Bill has started, created or revamped numerous organizations and events.  Here is a list he was able to think of during our interview:

  • In 1960 he wrote his first lifting news letter for the Missouri Valley AAU, expanded to write for the Region 8, and finally the USAWA finishing up in 2009.
  • Reorganized and revitalized the dormant Missouri Valley AAU.
  • Organized prison weightlifting.
  • Ran the prison postal championships for 20 years in Weightlifting, Powerlifting and track.
  • Created and wrote the constitution for the National Corrections Recreation Association.
  • Held the first sanctioned prison meet at Fort Leavenworth Prison city.
  • Along with Jim Witt, Homer Brannum and a couple of other ‘goons’; organized Powerlifting into a separate sport from weightlifting.  The ‘goons’ is a reference to comments made at the AAU meetings during the discussions.
  • Got prisoners full AAU Membership with 100% approval in 1966.
  • Responsible for the creation of the National Masters Weightlifting program.
  • In 1976 held the first all women’s sanctioned lifting competition.  Judy Glenney, a pioneer in women’s weightlifting and many time National champion, got her start at this meet.
  • Started up the USAWA and the IAWA.
  • Founder of the Heart of America Marathon – at 52 years the fourth oldest continuous Marathon in the country.
  • Originator of the Columbia Diamond Council, the largest youth baseball org in the county.
  • Creator of the Columbia Track Club, originally for kids now an adult league.
  • Organized the Hawthorne Native Plant Society.
  • Organized the Columbia Bowling Hall of Fame.
  • Help organize Society for American Baseball Research Scouts committee.
  • Organized the Columbia Basketball Officials Association.
  • Organized the Columbia Baseball Officials Association.
  • Tried and failed to organize the professional baseball scouts into a union.

 When someone puts as much into sports as Bill has done, over time they have a tendency to be recognized for their efforts.  Below is a list of some of the honors bestowed onto Bill.

  • Inducted into the Midwest Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.
  • Received the Roland Hemond Award – from SABR for contributions to scouting and research.
  • Inducted into the Columbia Bowling Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the National Powerlifting Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the National Weightlifting Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the National Masters Weightlifting Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the Pan American Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame.
  • Received the USAWA Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Inducted into the Missouri Valley AAU Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen (AOBS) Hall of Fame.
  • Inducted into the Narcy Trass Volunteer Hall of Fame from the Show-Me State Games.
  • Won Joe Paul award.
  • Name Top Zebra by the Central Missouri Basketball Association.
  • In January will be awarded with the Legends in Scouting award out in Los Angeles.
  • Won numerous other awards.

There is no question that the world of sports has benefited from Bill Clark and his participation in it.  The two columns I have written about him have only touched upon the knowledge, trivia and stories from his years of involvement.  He has, in old terminology, ‘seen the elephant’.  I like to kid him that when he was born, they broke the mold, then beat the hell out of the mold maker, but all joking aside, there is no doubt that Bill is one of a kind man, the likes of we will never see again.  Thanks Bill.

Bill Clark, USAWA, and the rest of the story.

by Joe Garcia

Part One:  Our beginning.

Bill Clark (left) receiving the USAWA Lifetime Achievement Award from Joe Garcia (right).

Most of you probably know that Bill is the founder and creator of the USAWA.  Recently the organization decided to honor Bill, and a letter of appreciation and a Lifetime Achievement Award were presented to him at the Goerner Deadlift Dozen Plus One a few weeks ago.  I also thought it would be both fun and instructive to go over the history of the USAWA and some of Bill’s story.  We sat down the other day for a lunch and I interviewed him about both subjects.  Keep in mind that this is bare bones as it would take a book or two or more to get the whole picture.  We’ll start this story with a chronological line from the beginning as he tells it.

The whole entity that was to become known as the USAWA basically started in 1959 with the local boxing team that Bill coached.  The boxers wanted to lift weights, so an Olympic weightlifting team was created.  In November their first state meet was held at the Armory in Columbia. A common theme for most of the meets is that odd lifts were almost always performed whenever meets were held.

The next year 1960, Bill was appointed as Chairman of the Missouri Valley AAU.  They had eleven lifters including Wilbur Miller, Art Tarwater, and Bill Fellows.  At the same time, the prison system became a hotbed of odd lifting.  Bill worked the ‘home’ games of baseball in the prisons from 1956 through 1967, and so was very familiar to the recreation directors in the system.  He was contacted by the Feds to start a federal program of lifting which he agreed to do.  Two stories from this era:  First, at one of the prisons, they cut metal decking for the weight plates.  These weighed between 10 and 25 pounds and the lifters used a short steel bar that limited how much weight could be loaded, so for the lifters like Joe Bradford, they would load the bar with about 400 lbs, then attach another 100 or so with wire, which wouldn’t come off the ground until the bar was just under the knees. This same concept was used in later years when performing lifts like the Hip lift. The second story concerns the Federal pen at Leavenworth.  Bill had been told they made almost all of their equipment, but when he went there, they had 22 platforms with commercial looking bars.  It turns out that they bought one bar, then had the shop fabricate 21 more for the lifters.

Coming into 1961, Powerlifting and Odd lift competitions were being held in Missouri Valley. These competitions were sanctioned under the Weightlifting umbrella as there was no official Powerlifting or Odd lifting at that time.  If anyone has access to old Ironman magazines, they would be able to find results listed there from some of the meets.  Rules for the odd lifts were first created about that time and records were kept as Missouri Valley Odd Lifts.

One of the key years was 1962. This was the year that the foundation was laid to make Powerlifting a separate event from Weightlifting. Lifters like Jim Witt, Homer Brannum, and Bill were some of the main forces to achieve this goal and they journeyed to the AAU Convention in Detroit, where they asked to make PL a subcommittee under Weightlifting.  At that time there still were no sanctions for either Powerlifting nor Odd lifting.  1962 was also the year of the first National Prison Postal Meet.  This first meet was an Olympic meet with subsequent years also having Powerlifting meets.  By 1968, they dropped the Olympic meets.  Typically the regular competition would be held, and afterwards the lifters would perform the Odd lifts. 

The first National Powerlifting Championships was held in 1963 by Bill at Jeff Junior High in Columbia even though it was an unofficial one as there was no sport of Powerlifting at the time.  One of the officials sitting in a chair was Bob Hoffman of York Barbell fame.  Another event that helped further our sport was Bill got the AAU to form a new committee – Correctional Sports and by 1966, convicts were granted full AAU memberships.  The following February one of the convicts won the National Flyweight Boxing Championship.  In 1968, Jenkins Hudson of the Maryland State prison defeated Bill March in Olympic lifting, Bill being a 5 time Senior National Champion.  That same year Otis Harrison won the North American title in body building.  By the time the correctional sports program ended, there were about 1000 participant lifters nationwide.

In 1964, at the National AAU convention at the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, Texas, a vote was held to allow Powerlifting to be a separate part of the Olympic Sport.  This motion was carried in a very close vote.  Later at the same meeting, Bill put in a bid to hold the National Championships which he won, beating Bob Hoffman by one vote.  Hoffman was able to get the AAU chairman to hold another vote on the bid, this time beating out Bill’s bid by one vote.  Due to this, Hoffman went into the history books as holding the first National Championships.

During the next decade, numerous Powerlifting and Odd lifting competitions were held in the Missouri Valley area and elsewhere.  Bill started having the Double Decathlon, a forerunner to the Zercher meet.  Twenty lifts were contested, with the Zercher lift and the Steinborn always being anchor lifts.  The Steinborn was originally known as the “Rocking Squat” but Bill renamed it to the Steinborn, in honor of ‘Milo’ and let him know that they had done so.  Years later, just before his passing, Henry sent $50 for a trophy.

In 1973 Bill brought forth another proposal to the AAU membership, that of having a Masters Program.  This was quite a contentious motion but did pass on a close vote.  The following year, Bill tried to host the first Masters Powerlifting and Olympic Championships. With only 4 entrants, Bill Fellows, Bill Clark, Jack Lano and Wilbur Miller, the meet was called off.  However, in 1975 the meet was held at Columbia College with a total of 15 lifters.  They also had a track meet afterwards where they ran the 880 and threw.  Today, the National championships have over 200 contestants and the Masters program exists in over 70 countries.

Around 1981, Tony Cook from England contacted Bill about holding a Postal Odd meet between English lifters and American lifters.  This meet was held in the US at Sailors Gym over in Kansas.  Twenty five lifts where performed in one day on three platforms and a single lifter might actually have been ‘up’ on multiple platforms at the same time.  Numerous meets have been held at Sailors Gym, and in the early years of the USAWA, the Missouri Valley records were held as the standard for the USAWA, with most of them having been set at Sailors.  Sailors was owned by Bobby Fulgroat who himself was a master powerlifter and bicyclist.  He would ride everywhere including to Columbia for meets.

Bill and Tony started making plans for an international organization in 1985, and Bill flew over to England in October, 1986 to meet with Tony and Frank Allen, where the IAWA was organized.  In 1987, the USAWA was formed and the first IAWA meet was held, albeit it was a postal meet.  In 1988 the first USAWA Nationals was held with John Vernacchio as the host and also the first IAWA Worlds were held at Leicester, England with Frank Allen hosting.  As a side story, at the same time Bill was over in England in 1986, Bill Buckner committed his infamous fielding error during Game 6 of the World Series, allowing the Mets to tie the series and go on to win over the Red Sox.

From the beginning of the USAWA until 2009, Bill served as Secretary/Treasurer and starting with his first Journal on Sept 10, 1989 until his last one on October 19, 2009 wrote just under 150 Strength Journals, keeping the membership informed about meets, events and any other odds and ends that he saw as interesting.  He was also President of the IAWA for the first couple of years.  While his travels today are limited, he still hosts a few USAWA meets at the gym, notably the Zercher, Deanna Springs Memorial and the Goerner Deadlift Dozen Plus One.

Part II will continue with background information about events Bill has held plus accomplishments and achievements over the years.

Goerner Deadlift

by Joe Garcia



Bill Clark, at 79 years young, pulling a 2-Bar Deadlift of 270 pounds at the 2011 Goerner Deadlift.

It is amazing the lengths that some people will go to in order to miss this event.  Al ran off to some little contest in Australia, dragging Chad with him,  Eric was chowing down on turkey, and from the looks of the website, Thom was writing more ‘fluff’ pieces. Everyone not here missed out on a fun day at Clark’s gym.  When I drove up in the morning, Dean Ross and Mike Murdock were already there as was Bill Clark.  Evidently, Dean and Mike had arrived in town around 3:30 AM, not wanting miss out on one of the coveted parking spots in front.  We all weighed in, including Bill, who was on the platform for the first time in over a year.  Even though his right shoulder would give him painful problems all day, he managed at least one successful in each of the thirteen lifts and sometimes a second and a third attempt.  There were no fourth attempts taken during the day.

The day started out with the Thumbless Deadlifts.  That is definitely a lift that you can go from greatness to humility in 5 lbs.  One thing we elected to do during the day was to allow the lifter to do any of the lifts that he wanted in the order he wanted with the exception that the finger lifts were contested last.  This way, the loading was kept to a minimum by the lifters-loaders-officials.  That’s right, more multi-tasking at Clark’s gym.  Next up was standard One-Hand Deadlifts, if any lift in the USAWA could be called standard.  After finishing up with the one hand stuff, attention was turned to the two hand lifts.  Dean pulled the biggest Reeves lift with a 275, could have done a bit more but took a little too big of a jump and was unsuccessful in his next attempt.  I was happy with my 225 as I don’t remember the last time I did a Reeves deadlift.  Not only did Dean do a great job of lifting, he also kept us entertained with his stories and jokes.  Problem is that I think he believes most of them.  After the Reeves, the 2 Barbell, Hack, Heels Together and Jefferson lifts followed.  Finally, the dreaded finger lifts commenced.  Everyone began with the Little Fingers Deadlift, then the Ring, Index, and Middle Finger, except for Mike, who had to go back and finish with an Index Fingers Lift.  Everyone was grateful that Mary wasn’t around to show us up.

Dean Ross had the top Reeves Deadlift of the day, with this 275 pound lift.

The organization had elected to present Bill with both a letter of appreciation and a Lifetime Achievement Award.  I was honored to read the letter to Bill and to present him with his well deserved plaque for everything he has done for the USAWA over the years.  Bill also wanted everyone to know how much he appreciated the honor.

Results of the meet are listed below.  Amazingly, I won the Goerner, a deadlift contest.  I suppose that means I will have to defend it next year.


2011 Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One
November 26, 2011
Clarks Gym
Columbia, Missouri

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

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

Officials: Joseph Garcia, Bill Clark, Mike Murdock


Lifter Age Bwt DL Heels 2 Bar Hack Jefferson
Mike Murdock 71 234 225 270 135 185
Dean Ross 69 266 315 300 185 315
Bill Clark 79 235 225 270 185 185
Joe Garcia 58 203 315 300 275 275
      1 Arm R 1 Arm L 1 Arm NT R 1 Arm NT L
Mike Murdock     135 135 115 115
Dean Ross     185 185 160 160
Bill Clark     160 160 115 115
Joe Garcia     275 275 205 205
      Index Middle Ring Little
Mike Murdock     75 135 65 55
Dean Ross     120 170 120 95
Bill Clark     135 135 105 65
Joe Garcia     185 205 135 120
      Reeves   Total Points
Mike Murdock     205   1850 2004.1
Dean Ross     275   2585 2584.9
Bill Clark     135   1990 2282.0
Joe Garcia     225   2995 3158.1

NOTES:  Bodyweights listed in pounds.  All lifting poundages listed in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted.  Points are adjusted points for bodyweight correction and age amendment.

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