Dino Gym Challenge

By Al Myers


“The Tom Ryan Memorial Meet”

Eric Todd (left) recieved his award from Thom Van Vleck (right) for being the Athlete of the Year Runner Up for last year at the Dino Gym Challenge. Eric went on to win the Overall Best Lifter at the 2018 Dino Gym Challenge.

Eric Todd (left) received his award from Thom Van Vleck (right) for being the USAWA Athlete of the Year Runner Up for last year at the Dino Gym Challenge. Eric went on to win the Overall Best Lifter at the 2018 Dino Gym Challenge.

It was another great year for the Dino Gym Challenge! Eight brave lifters made their way to the platform for an exciting day of lifting, honoring the late Tom Ryan. Many stories were told about Tom throughout the day, along with many great lifts made to honor him.  I hope he was looking down on us throughout the day with a smile on his face.

We had a celebrity official present, Thom Van Vleck.  Thom made the long drive to the Dino Gym from Kirksville, MO  just to officiate the Dino Gym Challenge.  I can’t express my thanks to him for doing this as it allowed my dad and I to participate. Usually one of us has to sit it out to judge. I picked lifts for this meet which were Tom Ryan’s favorites, and it was quite the variety! We started the meet off with the Weaver Stick. LaVerne showed us AGAIN his mighty grip by having the top lift in the Weaver Stick at 6 pounds.  I think he could have got 7 pounds, but when asked if he wanted a fourth attempt at record he said he would pass, as Tom Ryan has the top Weaver Stick record in the USAWA at 7 pounds and he wanted to let Tom keep that All Time record to himself (at least on this day!).

The next lift was the Rectangular Fix.  The youngest member in attendance, Calvin, did a fantastic lift of 80 pounds. Chad did 105 in competition and then did 120 as a fourth attempt which was easier than his 105! That was the top Rectangular Fix of the meet.

We then moved onto the One handed thumbless grip deadlift. Tom Ryan excelled at this lift, having done 254 pounds.  No one came close to that!  Dad must have still felt the sting from the loss to me in this lift at the Gold Cup last fall as he called for (and did) 201 pounds right after I did 200 pounds on my second attempt. Well, if I was a good son I probably should have just let him have his revenge victory and passed my last attempt but NOPE, I called for 202 pounds for a successfull third lift just to let everyone know that it wasn’t a fluke I beat him in this lift at the Gold Cup!

Next up was the Reeves Deadlift. Big John Douglas and Chad both hit 300 pounds for the top Reeves Deadlift of the day. It was at this point of the meet that I got a call for a work emergency, and I had to leave to take care of it and missed the rest of the meet.  I checked over the scorekeepers report and noticed that LaVerne was leading after 4 events and ET was standing in 7th place. I had a feeling that this wasn’t going to be the case after the final event, the Hip Lift. Well, when I got back and NOT TO MY SURPRISE Eric put up a HUGE hip lift of 2010 pounds to seal the victory in the Dino Gym Challenge. Chad came in second, and Calvin finished third for an outstanding finish in this tough field of all rounders.

I want to really thank everyone who attended, as it means alot to me when lifters show up to support my promotions. It was a great day of fun, and a fitting tribute to Tom Ryan.

Meet Results:

2018 Dino Gym Challenge
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas
Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Meet Director: Al Myers

Meet Scorekeeper: Al Myers and Chad Ullom

Official (1-official system used): Thom Van Vleck

Lifts: Weaver Stick, Rectangular Fix, Deadlift – No Thumb One Hand, Reeves Deadlift, Hip Lift


Eric Todd 43 260 3R 90 185R 265 2010 2553 2065.2
Chad Ullom 46 245 5R 105 195R 300 1540 2145 1839.6
Calvin Heit 15 150 3R 80 150R 180 940 1353 1657.4
John Douglas 54 315 5R 95 175R 300 1220 1795 1467.5
LaVerne Myers 73 234 6L 76 201L 230 520 1033 1136.0
Dean Ross 75 236 3R 70 135L 200 520 928 1031.3
Al Myers 51 230 5R 90 202R 280 —– 577 535.2
Lance Foster 52 330 4R 85 135R 200 —– 424 332.7


Chad Ullom Rectangular Fix 120 lbs.

Notes: BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All lifts recorded in pounds. R and L designate right and left arms. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are overall adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.


Al Myers – Age 51, Bodyweight 230 pounds
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand: 210 pounds
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand: 185 pounds
Saxon Snatch: 76 pounds
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Right Hand: 130 pounds
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Left Hand: 130 pounds

LaVerne Myers – Age 73, Bodyweight 236 pounds
Deadlift – No Thumbs, Overhand Grip: 250 pounds
Scott Lift: 70 pounds
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 255 pounds
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar: 255 pounds

Thom Van Vleck – Age 53, Bodyweight 280 pounds
Reeves Deadlift: 235 pounds
Deadlift – Ring Fingers: 165 pounds
Thors Hammer: 51 pounds
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right: 105 pounds
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left: 95 pounds