Category Archives: USAWA Daily News

Warren Lincoln Travis and the Back Lift

by Al Myers

Warren Lincoln Travis Back Lifting. His best Back Lift was 4240 pounds.

Discussion this past week on the USAWA Discussion Forum involved discussing our favorite Old Time Strongmen. One who was brought up was Warren Lincoln Travis. I have always been a fan of Travis – he always did his own thing and didn’t follow the crowd of other strongmen. He obviously was most famous for his Hip Lifting, Harness Lifting, Back Lifting, and Finger Lifting. These lifts were not exactly the fortes of other strongmen. I would have to say that Warren Lincoln Travis is the reason that we do the Heavy Lifts in the USAWA today.

Travis would always challenge other lifters to contests involving Total Poundage. With his specialty on the Heavy Lifts and the large amount of weight that he could lift this way – he never found any takers!!

I recently found this video of Warren Lincoln Travis Back Lifting (Thanks to Abe Smith!!). On his platform, he used people as weight. Unbelievable!! Watch how he twists his body when he has his Back Lift locked out. This video can be viewed using Windows Media Player. Plus – watch how he likes to reward himself after a hard workout. This is classic!!!

Art’s Birthday Bash is Tomorrow!!!

by Al Myers

Art Montini doing a Clean and Press - Behind Neck at the 2009 IAWA World Championships

Art Montini, who is turning 82 this weekend, always celebrates his birthday by hosting a weightlifting meet. This is the 19th year for Art’s Birthday Bash! What a great birthday present Art gives himself – he gets to lift weights and set a few records in the process.  The meet is tomorrow  so it’s still not too late to make it.  This meet is a record day – which means you pick the lifts and records you want to break!!  It’s YOU against the USAWA Record List!!! Art puts a maximum limit of 5 records per lifter.

Art’s Birthday Bash is held at the Ambridge VFW Barbell Club.

Minutes from the IAWA World Council Meeting

by Steve Gardner

Picture left to right: IAWA President Steve Gardner, Meet Directors Judy and Denny Habecker

IAWA World Council Meeting

Held at 4pm on Saturday 3rd October 2009 – Lebanon PA. U.S.A.

Present: England: Steve Gardner Karen Gardner Mark Haydock Josh Haydock Roger Davis and John Kavanagh Scotland: George Dick USA: John Vernacchio Al Myers Chad Ullom Dennis Vandermark John Monk Frank Ciavattone Art Montini Bill Spayd Scott Schmidt Howard Prechtel Bob Geib Dennis Mitchell Denny Habecker

Apologies: Frank Allen (UK)

The Meeting was chaired by IAWA President: Steve Gardner

A discussion on the minutes of the World Council Meeting held in October 2008 at Burton on Trent, England, revealed two points that were due to be re discussed:

The Continental to the Belt

There had been a request for the lift to be considered as two different lifts … performed using an Olympic style pull…alternativley using a Zercher style. Dennis Mitchell reported that the Technical Committee were unanimous in their recommendation to the meeting that the lift be left as it is. This was reasoned as being a lift performed in the ‘Continental’ style meaning anyway or how. After further discussion on the matter a vote was taken, it was felt that part of the excitement of the lift was the fact it can be done in different ways. The proposal to the meeting being that the lift be left unchanged and just one lift …this was carried unanimously.

Age percentage for Master Lifters at the World Championships

It was suggested in 2008 that maybe the age percent allowance for Master lifters is not sufficient. A study was conducted by Steve Gardner and Graham Saxton from the UK and also by Al Myers from the USA. Both camps agreed that the current allowance sees the Master lifters fall away from the level playing field, after 60 to 70 years of age, and quite significantly after 80 years of age. Many different ideas and proposals were discussed, in the end a proposal was formulated that everyone present seemed happy with. The majority of the Technical Committee were present and also in agreement, and the proposal was passed. Proposal was that percentage starts at 40 as at present but at 66 years of age the lifter gets 2 percent per year instead of just 1 (only for those years over 66). It was noted that if it is felt in the future that this system does not work, we are at liberty to change back or change otherwise.

International Venues

The World Championships for 2010 is already set as Glasgow, Scotland in early October

Promoter is George Dick

George proposed the lifts for the competition to the meeting, and they agreed and passed:

Day One – 2 Hands Clean and Push Press / 1 Hand Barbell Snatch / Cont. to Belt / Steinborn

Day Two – Cheat Curl / 1 Hand Dumbell Press (opp Hand)/ Trap Bar Deadlift

The Gold Cup for 2010 – A proposal was made for Frank Ciavattone to run the event in Boston

In early November. Frank said he would look forward to arranging the competition – All agreed to sanction the application BUT there would be no heavy chain lifts without prior consultation with Frank

The World Championships for 2011 – A letter of application was received from the Australian IAWA group via Justine Martin to run the Championships in late September. The Promoter would be Peter Phillips. After discussion the meeting accepted and sanctioned the proposal.

The Gold Cup for 2011, an application was received from Steve Gardner to run the event in early November in England, if another venue in England was nor forthcoming. All agreed and sanctioned.

Any Other business

Dennis Mitchell informed the meeting that he had received a letter from Bill Chapman, asking that at future World Championships could two best overall Masters awards be given, one for under 60 years an one for over 60 years. It was discussed and agreed that promoters can do this if they wish, but our current situation is that it is up to the promoters as to which awards they feel inclined to present, and is not mandatory.

Dennis Habecker appealed to lifters within the IAWA organization to be mindful of sending in entries for competitions before the said entry deadlines, so as to assist the meet directors to be able to run the competitions.

There being no other business – The President: Steve Gardner,thanked all for their attendance and closed the meeting.

World Championships

by Al Myers

Overall IAWA World Champion Mark Haydock 230 Kilogram Zercher Lift

“What we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality”, said IAWA President Steve Gardner at the World Council Meeting Saturday night. This quote really summed up this year’s World Championships. There may not have been alot of lifters present – but the competition was intense. Mark “Haystack” Haydock captured the 2009 Championship’s Overall Best Lifter on his last successful lift of the competition, by doing a monstrous 230 kilogram Zercher Lift!! This puts him in a small group of lifters who have exceeded over 500 pounds in the Zercher Lift throughout the history of the IAWA. The top four places were really close and decided by under 30 adjusted points. This competition had lifters of all age groups – from 15 year old Kohl Hess to 81 year old Art Montini. Denny and Judy Habecker did an outstanding job of making this event a special occasion for everyone. They even invited the lifters to their house Saturday and Sunday nights after the competition for food and refreshments. We were entertained by George “the Magician” Dick with his many card tricks. I am still scratching my head on the one where the card passed through Chad and ended up stuck on the glass on the shelf behind him. Denny and Judy know how to run a smooth meet. Everything went according to plan and both days finished in good time. The banquet was fantastic with a wide selection of food. Everyone left on a full stomach!! Steve Gardner worked the microphone and score table, and like always, kept the meet running efficiently. John Horn spent 2 full days loading and spotting and definitely deserves a big pat on the back. It takes people like John, who do the work behind the scenes, to make a meet successful.

Frank Ciavattone pulling a Ciavattone Grip Deadlift

It was a real pleasure getting to see Frank Ciavattone again. Frank has just recently had a hip replacement and wasn’t fully ready to compete in a meet yet. But Frank is a great Champion and made it to this meet to show support to the IAWA!! When he pulled his last Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, a lift named after Frank because of his amazing gripping power, he dedicated it to Karen Gardner in her battle in overcoming cancer – it was an emotional moving moment. Karen is the “First Lady” of All-Round Weightlifting and everyone has the utmost respect for her. It has now been 30 years since Frank has been cancer free himself.

Howard Prechtel and Bob Geib

Another great surprise this weekend was the return of Howard Prechtel. The meet about stopped when in walks Howard and Bob Geib!!! Howard spent many years as the IAWA President and has done as much through the years for the USAWA as anyone. Howard seemed to really enjoy himself at the meet, and even picked up a loaded barbell a couple of times. A person may forget a lot of things in life – but you never forget how to lift weights!!! Welcome back Howard!! Also – thanks to Bob for bringing Howard to this meet.

Group Photo of the IAWA World Championships

I had a great time – got to see alot of old friends, and even made a couple of lifts that I had to push myself on. Thanks again to Denny and Judy for hosting this Championship and I’m already looking forward to Scotland in 2010!!

Top Three Individuals at the 2009 IAWA World Championships Left to Right: Chad Ullom, Mark Haydock, Al Myers

FULL MEET RESULTS:

2009 IAWA World Championships
Lebanon, Pennsylvania
October 3rd & 4th, 2009

Meet Directors:   Denny and Judy Habecker

Lifts on Day 1: Hack Lift – One Arm, Clean and Press Behind Neck, Straight Arm Pullover, Deadlift                         -Ciavattone Grip
Lifts on Day 2: Snatch – One Arm, Pullover and Press, Zercher Lift

Officials (3 official system used):  Karen Gardner, Frank Ciavattone, Al Myers, Dennis Mitchell, George Dick, Art Montini

Loader: John Horn plus others

Scorekeeper:  Steve Gardner and Judy Habecker

Emcee:  Steve Gardner

Results:

Name BWT Class Age Division Hack C&P Pullover Deadlift Snatch
P&P Zercher Points
Mark Haydock ENG
122.9 125 34 Open 145 R
105 57.5 227.5 80 R
157.5 230 764.3
Al Myers USA
114.7 115 43 M40+ 150 R
90 60 210 70 R
160 190 763.1
Chad Ullom USA
104.3 105 37 Open 140 R
90 55 205 70 R
145 200 749.7
Roger Davis ENG
81.6 85 39 Open 117.5 R
80 45 185 60 R
120 170 738.4
Denny Habecker USA
86.1 90 67 M65+ 90 R
65 32.5 140 35 R
95 95 661.1
John Monk USA
79.8 80 43 M40+ 100 R
75 47.5 122.5 50 R
125 137.5 658.2
Bill Spayd USA
107.9 110 35 Open 110 R
90 55 200 60 R
120 170 655.2
Scott Schmidt USA
119.7 120 56 M55+ 100 R
92.5 40 182.5 40 L
92.5 115 598.5
Art Montini USA
78.2 80 81 M80+ 60 R
32.5 27.5 105 20 R
60 77.5 588.9
Josh Haydock ENG
66.9 70 19 J18/19 72.5 R
55 25 132.5 37.5 R
70 137.5 582.1
John Kavanagh ENG
94.3 95 21 Open 80 R
82.5 30 170 52.5 R
105 140 577.1
George Dick SCT
127.4 125+ 60 M60+ 102.5 R
60 30 175 40 R
90 120 559.7
Dennis Mitchell USA
72.1 75 77 M75+ 50 L
20 20 90 15 L
35 85 484.4
Dennis Vandermark USA
92.5 95 56 M55+ 75 L
30 130 22.5 R
60 110 442.0
Kohl Hess USA
118.8 120 15 J14/15 82.5 R
42.5 27.5 120 30 R
60 80 394.4
Frank Ciavattone USA
127.0 125+ 54 M50+ 90 R
20 15 182.5 20 R
25 20 321.3


BWT are bodyweights on day 1. All lifts are in kilograms. Points are age and bodyweight adjusted.
All lifters except Bill Spayd weighed in the second day for records. All lifters were in the same bodyweight class as Day 1.

Extra Attempts for Records:
Dennis Mitchell –  Hack – One Arm 50 R, Straight Arm Pullover 22.5, Deadlift Ciavattone Grip 98
John Monk – Snatch – One Arm 55 R, Straight Arm Pullover 50
Kohl Hess – Clean & Press Behind Neck 45, Straight Arm Pullover 28.5, Zercher Lift 92.5
Denny Habecker – Pullover and Press 98
Mark Haydock – Straight Arm Pullover 61

Best Lifter Awards:

Josh Haydock – Junior 18/19 70 kg Champion and Best Junior 18/19
Kohl Hess – Junior 14/15 120 kg Champion and Best Junior 14/15
Dennis Mitchell – Masters 75+ 75 kg Champion and Best Master 75+
Art Montini – Masters 80+  80 kg Champion and Best Master 80+
John Monk – Masters 40+ 80 kg Champion
Roger Davis – Open 85 kg Champion
Denny Habecker – Masters 65+ 90 kg Champion and Best Master 65+
Dennis Vandermark – Masters 55+ 95 kg Champion
John Kavanagh – Open 95 kg Champion
Chad Ullom – Open 105 kg Champion
Bill Spayd – Open 110 kg Champion
Al Myers – Masters 40+ 115 kg Champion and Best Master 40+
Scott Schmidt – Masters 55+ and Open 120 kg Champion and Best Master 55+
Mark Haydock – Open 125 kg Champion
Frank Ciavattone – Masters 50+ and Open 125+ kg Champion and Best Master 50+
George Dick – Masters 60+ 125 kg Champion and Best Master 60+

The Mystery of Arthur Saxon’s Death

by Al Myers

Arthur Saxon (April 28, 1878 to August 6, 1921)

Arthur Saxon was an old time strongman who never left any questions about what weight he lifted – his lifts where often weighed and people who questioned his strength were silenced. Saxon preferred barbells and dumbbells in his strength shows and never performed show acts that included trickery or slight of hand. Even when the famous Scottish Strongman Donald Dinnie questioned whether Arthur Saxon could do what he said he could Arthur sought out Dinnie and preceded to prove himself by lifting on Dinnie’s equipment. He bent pressed 340 pounds using Dinnie’s weights!! Donald Dinnie became a believer that Arthur Saxon was a strong as he said he was.

However, despite living a lifting career that never left questions unanswered – his death was quite different – and clouded with mystery.  I have read three different accounts of how Arthur Saxon died – and I don’t really know which one is correct. All sources seem to be reputable. I am sure these accounts are debatable – and if anyone knows more on this please email me so we can discuss it.

Story 1: After WWI, Arthur resumed putting on Strength Shows by himself.  The war had caused the Saxon Trio to break up. Times were tough and Arthur continued to put on show after show to make ends meet. Due to his long hours and poor working conditions, he developed pneumonia but declined medical attention.  He continued to put on performance after performance until eventually the pneumonia overcame him.

Story 2: Arthur was at the height of his career.  During one of his strength shows, he was doing a support lift where he was supporting a heavy wooden bridge that a car was driven over. Apparently, the wooden bridge broke and the car and several people fell on him causing great injury. He was in the hospital a long time, and had operations where “iron bolts” were driven in at several places. He never fully recovered, and died from pneumonia as a complication of his weakened condition.

Story 3: Arthur was married to an English girl that he met while putting on his strength show tours throughout England.  However, he was in Germany while she was still in England when the war started. After the war, circumstances arose that prevented Arthur and his wife from being reunited. This caused Arthur to go into a deep depression, and on a cold winter night, he went on a drinking binge.  The police found him the next day, lying in the street dead. The cause of death was given as pneumonia.

Which story would you like to believe?
My pick is Story #1 – a mighty strongman never quitting until his dying breath!!

Which story is true?
Who knows. Even the whereabouts of Arthur Saxon’s  gravesite is unknown!!

Arthur Saxon died at the age of 43 – the same age that I am now. This is the reason that I am honoring Arthur Saxon at my 2010 Dino Gym Challenge by hosting the “Arthur Saxon Pentathlon”.

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