OTSM Championships

By Eric Todd


Group picture from the 2017 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships.

Group picture from the 2017 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships.

Another installment of USAWA’s Old strongman Championships has now passed, and what an event it was. This is the 7th annual championship event in one of the most recent additions  in the USAWA.  The first three constested were at the JWC training hall in Kirksville, with the last 4 being at my facility.  In terms of competitors, this was the best turnout the organization has seen at this event with 12 competitors.  We also has a certified judge who was not also a lifter in Thom VanVleck.  We had many seasoned competitors ( I believe Denny was with the organization since around it’s inception) along with some relative newbies (John Douglas and Chris Todd are in the first year of competing in the USAWA-It is GREAT to get new blood into the organization).

The Contest started off with the Thor’s Hammer. I said it before, and I will say it again, this one is a fickle mistress.  You saw a number of times where it appeared the lifter had stuck the lift only to have it start moving before they could get the down command. When this lift was first contested a number of years back it seemed like 40-45 was about the top number to hit.  At this meet half the field was at that mark or better.  Some lifters preferred the snatch and some the swing.  In the end, just like last year it was Ben Edwards and I battling it out for the top spot, with both of us landing on about the same number we did last year.  Like I said, a fickle mistress.

The second discipline contested was the Hackenschmidt Floor Press. Abe Smith impressed me the most in this lift by hitting 345 at a bodyweight of 180.  As the lightest competor in the meet, this was the third highest mark hit on the press.  Scott Tully also hit a big mark of 360.

Once the pressing was completed, we moved the bar to the 18” boxes for the Kennedy Lift. This is the lift where one should be able to lift the most weight.  And there were a few lifters who did not disappoint!  Heather Tully kept pace with many of the fellas by hitting a big 400.  Chad Ullum hit a 725 in the meet, but then Greg Cook called for 755, which would break the all-time record, regardless of age or weight.  After a herculean effort, and the weight was locked out and still, VanVleck gave the down call for a good lift and a new record!  Chad came back to match it with a 4th attempt for record.  Dean Ross and Chris Todd also hit records on their fourth.

The last event in the contest was the Dumbell to shoulder. Because you can basically get it to your shoulder by whatever means you can, we got to witness some interesting techniques, from just cleaning it, to swinging it, to excruciating series of movements in the form of a continental.  John Douglas did kind of a combination swing/continental to result in a big 200# lift. I was pleased to surpass my old record with a 313# lift, though I am suffering for it now.

After the meet was over and we were tallying scores, lifters had the otion of trying out an exhibition lift, the Lurich Lift. It is basically a Hack Lift from 18”.  This lift was the brain child of Lance Foster, so I kind of let him take the reigns on this one.  Several lifters took part.  I took one attempt that failed at an embarrassing weight due to form issues, anatomical difficultied, or a combination thereof.  Denny hit 185, Dean Ross hit 205, and John Douglas hit 225.  Lance hit 315 on his pet lift. Ben Edwards managed a 405 lift on it, but Chad ullum amazed and insulted everyone with a massive lift of 605.  So I guess this lift is possible.  At the end, here are my thoughts on the lift is this going forward.  I did not enjoy this lift for obvious reasons.  With that being said, I see no reason why this lift would not be considered a valid OTSM lift and be presented for inclusion in our rule book.  Feel free to chime in on this in our forum.

Wow! I felt like this was the  tightest, fiercest competition this Championship has seen.  Watching the scores unfold, I could not have told you if I won or got 7th or last.  There was some big hitters at this meet, hitting big weights.  I was hard to tell how it would all fall.  In the end, it fell like this:


Meet Promoter: Eric Todd

Head Official (1-Official System): Thom VanVleck

Loaders: All competitors

OTSM Lifts: Thor’s Hammer, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, Kennedy Lift, Dumbbell to Shoulder

Meet shirts provided by Metabolic Technologies

Hostess and Sandwich deliverer: Jenny Todd


Heather Tully 38 213 25 175 400 100 700 603.5


Greg Cook 60 253 40 275 755 175 1245 1187.1
Eric Todd 42 252 60 385 650 313 1408 1145.3
Chad Ullom 45 245 40 315 725 250 1330 1128.8
Abe Smith 36 180 30 345 600 200 1175 1114.5
Scott Tully 40 354 45 360 660 200 1265 858.7
Ben Edwards 42 234 55 250 525 150 980 827.6
John Douglas 54 315 40 275 500 200 1015 827.4
Denny Habecker 74 195 25 200 325 75 625 764.1
Dean Ross 74 231 25 200 335 90 650 724.5
Chris Todd 38 272 30 275 365 175 845 642.4
Lance Foster 51 326 32.5 155 400 150 737.5 576.2

Notes: BWT in pounds. All lifts recorded in pounds. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are overall adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight adjustments.

Lurich Lift – Exhibition Lift

Ben Edwards 405
Dean Ross 205
Denny Habecker 185
Lance Foster 315
Chad Ullum 605
John Douglas 225

Extra Attempts for Record

Hackenschmidt Floor Press
Dean Ross 210

Kennedy Lift
Dean Ross 365
Chris Todd 405
Chad Ullum 755

Heather Tully became the third women’s champion last year, and this year becomes the first two time champion.  Greg Cook becomes the 6th Champion in seven years.  What made this the most impressive was that he did it against all but one former champs.  He bested Chad, myself, Denny and Abe, all former OTSM champs to achieve this goal.  Thank you to all who came out and helped or competed.  It was a great day to be an all-rounder!