Presidential Cup

By Al Myers



Group picture from the 2017 Presidential Cup (front Left to right): Barry Pensyl, Art Montini, Denny Habecker, Aidan Habecker, (Back Left to right): Cale Dunlap, Jenn Tibbenham, Al Myers, Collin Cortez

Group picture from the 2017 Presidential Cup (front Left to right): Barry Pensyl, Art Montini, Denny Habecker, Aidan Habecker, (Back Left to right): Cale Dunlap, Jenn Tibbenham, Al Myers, Collin Cortez

We just had another GREAT Presidential Cup last weekend! This is now the 6th year in a row this Championship Event has been held.  It was hosted by the President of the USAWA, Denny Habecker and held at Habecker’s Gym.

We had a number of newcomers to this meet as well as several past PREZ CUP winners were present.  The new lifters were Collin Cortez, Cale Dunlap, Jenn Tibbenham, and Barry Pensyl.  The past winners who were present included Aidan Habecker, Art Montini, and myself.

It was great to have Jenn from England compete in the Presidential Cup!  One of her lifts was the Reeves Deadlift.

It was great to have Jenn from England compete in the Presidential Cup! One of her lifts was the Reeves Deadlift.

The BIGGEST surprise of the meet was having an International lifter in attendance – Jenn Tibbenham.  Jenn lives in England and lifts for the IAWA(UK), but was here on vacation with her husband Graham.  She wanted to take part in a USAWA competition, and we were delighted to have her compete. I’ve seen Jenn lift before and she always really impresses me.  She gives 110 PERCENT on the platform and puts up huge lifts. She came to break some World Records and that she did.  Her 72.5 KG (and close miss at 82.5KG) with the 1 handed VB impressed me the most.

Also – it’s always nice to see new lifters in the organization.  We had that at the Prez Cup when Collin Cortez, a lifter and Navy man from Norfolk, Virginia entered.  This was the very first USAWA competition for Collin.  It didn’t take him long and he fit right in with the USAWA crowd. He put up a great  Cup lift in the Hackenschmidt Floor Press which won him the Presidential Cup!  I sure hope we see more of Collin in the USAWA.

Newcomer Collin Cortez (right) won the 2017 Presidential Cup Award, presented by the USAWA President Denny Habecker (Left).

Newcomer Collin Cortez (right) won the 2017 Presidential Cup Award, presented by the USAWA President Denny Habecker (Left).

It’s always a pleasure seeing and lifting with Barry Pensyl.  Barry has a long track record with the USAWA (close to 20 years), but due to injuries he is making his comeback in the organization over the past couple of years.  He’s “knocking on the door” of the Century Club and I predict he will be one of the next members. His PC lift with the Abdominal Raise impressed me the most of his lifts, and unofficially I would say it was the Runner Up lift for the Presidential Cup Award.  Maybe next year Barry the Cup will be yours?

Young Aidan Habecker came into this meet as last years Cup Winner. I think he had his sights on winning it again!  However, he opened a little too heavy on his Cup Lift with the 2″ VBar, and had to fall back on his second lift, the 1″ V bar Lift for his Cup Lift.  He then went on to set a couple more very impressive records.

The MAN OF STEEL Art Montini made yet again, another fantastic appearance on the platform.  Art worked in the Steel Mill all his working life, and is a tough as nails.  It won’t be long and he’ll be in the 90-94 Age Group and I’m betting he will still be setting records.  I don’t see any signs that he is slowing up with the weights.

Denny, on top of hosting this fine event, still performed a couple of record lifts himself.  He first filled his tank and got all “gassed up” with a big jug of chocolate milk, and then put up some fine lifting.  I was BY FAR the most impressed with his Steinborn Lift of 75KG. It took all he had, and then afterwards realized it was loaded to 75KG instead of 55KG which he thought it was!

I want to really thank Denny and Judy for hosting the event.  Judy prepared all of us a great breakfast after weigh-ins.  You don’t find that kind of hospitality everywhere, but you DO in the USAWA.

Meet Results:

2017 USAWA Presidential Cup
Habecker’s Gym
Lebanon, PA
August 5th, 2017

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Officials (3-Official System Used): Denny Habecker, Al Myers, Art Montini

Lifts – Record Day Lifts

Aidan Habecker – 14 years old & 146 pounds BWT
Vertical Bar Lift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand: 57.5 KG
Continental to Chest: 52.5 KG
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2″: 105 KG

Cale Dunlap – 22 years old & 164 pounds BWT
French Press: 55 pounds

Collin Cortez – 29 years old & 217 pounds BWT
Hackenschmidt Floor Press: 157.5 KG
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 117 pounds
Bench Press – Hands Together: 271 pounds

Jenn Tibbenham – 33 years old & 219 pounds BWT
Hack Lift – 2″ Bar: 105 KG
Reeves Deadlift: 223 pounds
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand: 72.5 KG

Al Myers – 50 years old & 231 pounds BWT
Bench Press – Hands Together: 105 KG

Barry Pensyl – 69 years old & 151 pounds BWT
Abdominal Raise: 21 KG
Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 127 pounds
Curl – Strict: 27.5 KG

Denny Habecker – 74 years old & 192 pounds BWT
Curl – Cheat, Dumbell, Right Arm: 55 pounds
Steinborn Lift: 75 KG

Art Montini – 89 years old & 163 pounds BWT
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Fulton Bar: 60 KG
Hack Lift – 50 KG
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 70 KG

Dinnie Stone Gathering

By Chad Ullom

Group photo of the Dinnie Stone lifters.

Group photo of the Dinnie Stone lifters.

When I first heard from Stevie Shanks that he was hoping for a gathering of anyone that had lifted the Dinnie Stones to come together at Potarch I couldn’t have been more excited!  I got my Dinnie trainers back out and started working up to the full weight.  At some point in May, I saw that there were plans to walk the stones over the bridge!  I let my ego get the best of me and sent Stevie a message that I’d like to give the walk a shot! Just as I was thinking this was a bad idea, Stevie sent me the schedule with the rules.  A carry and drop would be allowed and you can continue as long as your hands don’t let go.

My wife and I really made a great trip out of this!  We did a great tour of Scotland, spent a couple of days on the Orkney islands and really had a great trip.  Even managed to lift the Dalwhinnie Stone a few days prior.  The night we arrived in Aberdeen we met a really nice American staying at our hotel who didn’t have a car or anything to do so we invited him to the Aboyne games with us the next day.  The Aboyne games were amazing!  As we were walking into the gate, we hear “and now her Majesty the Queen will douse the new caber with Scotch to officially dedicate the newly made Aboyne games caber…”  What???!!  The Queen was here??  The crowd was huge, so we never got a chance to see her, but on the news that night saw that, sure enough, it was Queen Elizabeth.

I knew the Dinnie stones were usually at the Aboyne games, but couldn’t see them anywhere.  We met up with Travis Willingham and decided to walk around after watching some the Highland Games comp and finally went to the overseas tent.  There they were!  We had walked right past them when we arrived but the crowd was too big to see.  The butterflies started right away!  Jim Splaine, Jack and Stevie Shanks along with James Grahame from Australia were posing for a pic right when we got there!

The morning of the gathering I could hardly sleep.   Our new American friend, Roberto, was really interested so we invited him along.  This really helped Tasha, because I wasn’t in much shape for conversation for the whole day!   As soon as we were ready to make the drive, the butterflies started.  We got registered and just started talking to old friends and making new ones.   It was great to see the people that showed up for this, Stevie did an outstanding job.  Terry and Jan Todd from Texas were there, David Webster, Bruce Aitken (maybe the greatest scottish hammer thrower of all time!) and many others.

Chad setting up for the Dinnie Stone walk.

Chad setting up for the Dinnie Stone walk.

The lifting started at noon and I was scheduled to walk at 2:50! The waiting was really tough!  It was even harder because a lot of people that had lifted the stones in the past were really having a hard time.  I was starting to second guess my walk attempt and thought seriously about just jumping in  for a lift.  As I was on my way to the car, Mark Haydock talked me out of it.

After the lifting attempts were finished, they moved the stones to the bridge.  They had us all line up and we paraded up to the bridge being led by a pipe band!  That was a great moment.  Luckily, I was second up so I didn’t have to wait too long.  There were mats laid out across the bridge and the first person to attempt, Brian Irwin from Northern Ireland, made it all the way!

Finally, it’s my turn.  To make sure I had enough energy to go as far as possible after talking to some people about, I was trying to pull just enough to clear the ground and move them.  For some reason, the light stone was giving me more trouble.  At one point, I dragged it to catch up and got a warning for this from Stevie.  If it happens a 3rd time, you have to stop.  I think I made it about 10 feet and my legs just gave out on me, I wasn’t getting any more clearance at all.

Travis Willingham, Stevie Shanks, Jim Splaine, Chad Ullom, Jack Shanks, and James Grahame at the Aboyne Games.

Travis Willingham, Stevie Shanks, Jim Splaine, Chad Ullom, Jack Shanks, and James Grahame at the Aboyne Games.

After two more attempts, Mark Haydock was up last and he really put on a show!  I had been watching his training leading up to this, and the only question in my mind was if he was going to try and carry them side by side the whole way!  In the end, Mark did the straddle like everyone else.  He completed the 17 feet in 1:40! About 2/3 of the way, he smashed the small stone into his right ankle and there was concern that he had really damaged it or possibly torn his Achilles.  In the end, it turned out to be nothing serious (thankfully).

This was such a special event to be a part of, I really wish Al and James Gardner could have been there, but each had other commitments.  I was extremely honored and humbled to be a part of it.  I can’t thank Stevie Shanks enough for putting this together.  It was conceived while they were making Stoneland.  If you haven’t seen that, put that on your list immediately!  It has been viewed over 16 million times on youtube.

New England Cup Record Day

By Rocky Morrison

On 7/22/2017, Frank’s Barbell Club hosted the New England Cup Record Day. It was a great turnout (11 lifters) and they did some outstanding lifts. I just want to say that at Frank’s Barbell Club a record day is more than just setting records. It is a fun event with a great group of people that encourage, motivate, and inspire each other.

NewEnglandCup1croppedMEET RESULTS:

July 22nd, 2017
Frank’s Barbell Club
East Walpole, MA

Meet Director: Frank Ciavattone, Jr

Host: Mark Raymond

Meet Officials: (3-official system used) Frank Ciavattone, Jr, Jeff Ciavattone, and Rocky Morrison


Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Kim Lydon 26 Open 151 70 kg F
Melanie Judd 37 Open 185 85 kg F
Julie Hartnett 50 50+ 115 50 kg F
Mike Vuno 28 Open 200 95 kg M
Jeff Ciavattone 37 Open 260 120 kg M
Mark Raymond 54 50+ 244 115 kg M
Tony Paterson 55 55+ 176 80 kg M
Rocky Morrison 55 55+ 264 120 kg M
Dave Gago 59 55+ 171 80 kg M
Frank Ciavattone 62 60+ 299 125 kg M
Peter Vuno 64 60+ 196.5 90 kg M


Kim Lydon, (or should we say Officer Lydon) last year’s Newcomer Award winner took some time off while she attended the police academy. But that did not seem to affect her strength. She made all of her lifts seem easy as usual.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Kim Lydon Open 70 kg F
Lift Pounds KGs
Bench Press – Alt grip 127 57.6
(LH) Ciavattone Deadlift 132 59.9
(RH) Ciavattone Deadlift 110 49.9

Melanie Judd, (the future Mrs. Jeff Ciavattone) is a newcomer to the team, but showed that she is going to fit perfectly in the club and the Ciavattone family.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Melanie Judd Open 85 kg F
Lift Pounds KGs
Bench Press – feet in air 88 39.9

Julie Hartnett, is another newcomer to the team, but she showed she belongs on this team with some impressive deadlifts.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Julie Hartnett 50+ 50 kg F
Lift Pounds KGs
(2H) Deadlift 165 74.8

Mike Vuno, our last newcomer to this team, but you could tell he has been working out with his father (Peter) for a while.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Mike Vuno Open 95 kg M
Lift Pounds KGs
(LH) Bench Press 95 43.1
(RH) Bench Press 95 43.1

Jeff Ciavattone, seems like he has been lifting since he was born. It was great to see him back again and he showed he is a Ciavattone.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Jeff Ciavattone Open 120 kg M
Lift Pounds KGs
(2H) Deadlift – Dumbells 466 211

Mark Raymond, runner-up in last year’s Newcomer Award showed that he is getting stronger all the time.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Mark Raymond 50+ 115 kg M
Lift Pounds KGs
Deadlift, Fulton, Ciavattone Grip 301 137
Trap Bar Deadlift 380 172
Curl, Strict, Reverse Grip 88 39.9

Tony Patterson, continued to show that he is not just a Champion Arm Wrestler and continued to put up some big numbers.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Tony Paterson 55+ 80 kg M
Lift Pounds KGs
(2H) Ciavattone Deadlift 418 190
(RH) Ciavattone Deadlift 248 113

Rocky Morrison it was difficult (and rewarding at the same time) to break a couple of records that were held by my coach Frank Ciavattone.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Rocky Morrison 55+ 120 kg M
Lift Pounds KGs
Barbell Cheat Curl 133 60.3
(RH) Ciavattone Deadlift 187 84.8
(LH) Ciavattone Deadlift 165 74.8

Dave Gago, is becoming a seasoned veteran and continued to impress with his lifts.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Dave Gago 55+ 80 kg M
Lift Pounds KGs
(2H) Ciavattone Deadlift 270 123
(RH) Ciavattone Deadlift 154 69.9
(LH) Ciavattone Deadlift 132 59.9

Frank Ciavattone, there is not much that can be said that has not already been said about Frank. After recently having his shoulder replaced, he continues to inspire and motivate all of us.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Frank Ciavattone 60+ 125 kg M
Lift Pounds KGs
(LH) Dumbell Cheat Curl 33 15
(RH) Dumbell Cheat Curl 33 15

Peter Vuno, always shows up with a smile on his face and says something to make everyone feel better. A great guy who does some impressive lifts.

Lifter Age Class Weight Class Gender
Peter Vuno 60+ 90 kg M
Lift Pounds KGs
(RH) Bench Press 76 34.5

After the event Frank awarded some very nice New England Cup trophies to everyone. Then Frank and Colleen hosted a BBQ in their backyard. I had the honor of manning the grill. It was a great event and we look forward to our next one.

Let’s Review: The Kennedy Lift

by Thom Van Vleck

Al Myers doing a Kennedy Lift.

Al Myers doing a Kennedy Lift.

With the Old Time Strongman Championships coming up September 9th at ET’s House of Iron and Stone I thought it might be a good time to review the lifts.  Eric Todd picked 4 lifts from the OTSM list.  Today let’s revisit one of those, the Kennedy Lift. First of all Al Myers did a great article on it’s history.  Here’s a link to it: Kennedy Lift

So the rules are as follows:

H9. Kennedy Lift

This is a partial lift using a straddle stance on the bar, where the bar height must not be over 18” from the platform (measured to the bottom of the bar). The plates or bar may be supported on stands, rack supports, or blocks to obtain this height. The lifter must have the bar between the legs, as defined by the rules of the Jefferson Lift. Lifting straps or any other gripping aid is not allowed. It is NOT an infraction to drag the bar up the legs, bounce the bar up the legs, or support the bar on the legs during the lift (hitching). A one minute time limit is allowed for the lifter to make a legal lift, during which time a lifter may make multiple tries. Once the lifter is totally upright and the bar motionless, an official will give the command to end the lift.

Al sums this lift up nicely when he said, “I envision the technique to be very similar to how most lift the Dinnie Stones, using a straddle style.”  The lift is very much a “Continental” version of a partial Jefferson (or Straddle) deadlift.  In that it can be bounced, drug, up or “hitched”

If you want to see the current records here is a list:

14 M 80 500 Kressly, Logan
45 M 110 750 Myers, Al
45 M 125+ 500 Foster, Lance
50 M 125+ 365 Foster, Lance
55 M 70 405 Freides, Steve
60 M 80 325 Santangelo, Stephen
60 M 95 675 Traub, Larry
60 M 100 315 Garcia, Joe
60 M 129 525 Glasgow, Dave
65 M 80 405 McKean, John
70 M 90 225 Habecker, Denny
70 M 125 400 Ross, Dean
80 M 80 225 Durante, Richard
80 M 105 315 Clark, Bill
ALL M 70 405 Freides, Steve
ALL M 80 500 Kressly, Logan
ALL M 90 225 Habecker, Denny
ALL M 95 675 Traub, Larry
ALL M 100 315 Garcia, Joe
ALL M 105 315 Clark, Bill
ALL M 110 750 Myers, Al
ALL M 120 525 Glasgow, Dave
ALL M 125 400 Ross, Dean
ALL M 125+ 550 Kressly, Doug

As you can see this is a great opportunity to be added to the record list.  I hope to see you there!


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.)


Bill Clark – CLASS OF 1999


Bill Clark

William Merle Clark was born in Clinton, Missouri on August 18th, 1932.  He graduated from Clinton High School in 1949, and then spent three years in the U.S. Army (1951-1954), including a year in Korea.  Bill graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1958, and worked briefly on the sports desk of the Lexington Kentucky Leader.  He returned to Columbia Missouri in 1958, where he has lived since.  Bill married Dolores Denny on August 11th, 1955 and they have five children and five grandchildren. He was a full-time major league baseball scout for 36 years (1968-2003).  He retired from baseball at the end of the 2003 season and has been a columnist for the Columbia Daily Tribune since March of 2004.  Bill has written for numerous baseball publications through the years and even worked as a sports reporter in the baseball off-season.  He has officiated over 20 sports from the junior high school level to the international level from 1949 until today.  He wrote the original Powerlifting and All-Round Weightlifting rule books and is currently writing a book about the fun of officiating more than 10,000 athletic contests.  As a member of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) weightlifting committee (1959-1990), he was responsible for the origin of the following:

– Powerlifting as a separate sport (1964)
– Masters lifting, both Olympic Lifting and Powerlifting (1973)
– Held the first womens only Powerlifting and Olympic meets which gave the   start to women’s competitive lifting (1976)
– Introduced prison weightlifting and the acceptance of inmates as full AAU members (1966). Held the first prison weightlifting postal competition (1962)
– Created the odd lifting record book (1961)
– Formation of the USAWA and the IAWA (began in 1983, finalized in 1986)
– Wrote the first USAWA and IAWA Rule Book (1986)

Bill started weightlifting in 1959 when his boxing team was looking for an off-season sport.  There was not a state meet at the time, so he held the very first one in Columbia in 1959.  He held the Junior Nationals and the National Teenage Championships in Columbia from 1962-1964, including the “Mr.” contests for each, along with numerous state and regional meets both in Columbia and in many prisons throughout the Midwest.  He has directed over 100 meets under USAWA sanction at his gym, Clark’s Championship Gym, including the USAWA National Championships in 1995, 1997, and 2001.  Bill has been the sole sponsor of the Showme State Games Powerlifting Meet since 1988.  Both Bill and Dolores are in the Missouri State Games Volunteer Hall of Fame.  He has had a commercial gym in Columbia since 1987, which is one of very few commercial gyms in the country that specializes in All-Round Weightlifting.   Bill was the first President of the IAWA and was the Secretary of the USAWA since the beginning till 2009. He is responsible for starting the drug testing program and the certification of officials in the USAWA.  Bill has published a weightlifting newsletter since 1960, which now is over its 50th year!  For the first 20 years of the USAWA Bill was the editor and publisher of the publication “The Strength Journal”. At that time it was the sole source of information regarding All-Round Weightlifting in the US.   Bill’s main contribution to weightlifting was the origin of the masters program.  The idea came to the table in 1973 at the AAU convention, and was approved by a laugh with the mention of old people wanting  to lift and compete.  In 1974, only four lifters  entered the National Masters Meet – Jim Witt, Jack Lano, Wilbur Miller, and Bill Clark.  The Meet was cancelled that year.  In 1975, the meet was held in Columbia with 15 entries.  Today, the masters program is found in 70 nations and accepted without question.  Master lifters outnumber open lifters in the US today.  Bill was one of a half-dozen people who brought Powerlifting to the committee floor of the AAU in 1962, and saw it approved two years later as a sport by the AAU.  Today, Powerlifting has expanded far beyond Olympic Lifting as a sport.  In 1976, Bill violated the IWF rules which limited lifting to males only, and worded a sanction which made a combined Power/Olympic lifting competition into an all-female meet.  It broke the gender barrier and women’s weightlifting was off and running.  Bill commented, “In retrospect, I take pride in being the driving force to establish Powerlifting, women’s lifting, prison lifting, master’s lifting, odd lifting – and seeing them all grow and prosper.”  Bill holds over 200 records in the USAWA, with most of them occurring after multiple joint replacements. Bill said, “I do take pride in my hip and harness lifts that were done after four joints – both knees and both hips – were totally replaced and being able to remain competitive with the youngsters in the finger lifts. Age and replacements have slowed the competitive urge today, particularly with the loss of cartilage in both the upper and lower spine.”  In his earlier years, Bill was best known and seldom beaten in the Zercher and Steinborn lifts, once doing 460# in the Zercher and 455# in the Steinborn on the same day.  There has not been an USAWA member since capable of doing this.  When asked if he had any special memories of a competition, Bill replied, ” The one I most remember was in 1994 in Middletown  Pennsylvania when I made a hip lift with 1400 pounds, less than five months after I had a double joint replacement – the right knee and the right hip on the the same day – a double only a few have tried!”  Bill Clark will always be known as the “Founder of All-Round Weightlifting”, and his influences and contributions to the iron game will forever be felt.  His last comment was this, “It has been a good 50 year run in the weight game. I’m now looking for time to go through voluminous files and to do a book I’ve promised myself for years, titled, An Irreverent History of Weightlifting.”

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