Gold Cup 2016: My Take

by Thom Van Vleck


Thom Van Vleck inducts Chad Ullom and Al Myers into the Hall of Fame at the awards banquet for the 2016 Gold Cup.

I was recently honored to be asked to help out at the the 2016 Gold Cup.  To be honest the main reason for me to be there was to induct my friends Al Myers and Chad Ullom into the Hall of Fame. An honor they both deserved and I hope I did them justice with their induction speech.  They are very deserving.

I helped out with the set up, take down, and other logistics of running the meet. It was held in the old Union Pacific train depot in downtown Abilene, Kansas.  A very historic city and a great place to hold a meet.  The location was perfect, the meet was well run, and I don’t think you could ask for a better set up for some great lifting.  Al Myers was the Meet Director and he did a great job and had lots of help.  Steve Gardner announced and he is very smooth on the microphone and his knowledge of the lifts makes him the right man for the job.

I also had the privilege of judging most of the meet.  I am a level 2 judge and I have judged at some big meets over the years for the USAWA and IAWA.  I take it very seriously.  Judging also gives me a front seat to all the action (plus I don’t have to load….I’ve done my fair share of that,too!).

All in all, another great meet.  While Al did a great job this was like every other USAWA meet I’ve ever been a part of.  Everyone chips in to make it happen!  Great job to all!


Gold Cup

By Al Myers

Group picture from the 2016 IAWA Gold Cup in Abilene, KS.

Group picture from the 2016 IAWA Gold Cup in Abilene, KS.

I was honored to be able to promote the IAWA Gold Cup this year.  The Gold Cup has had a prestigious past, with many great meet promoters putting on top notch shows. These past promotors set the bar high for me!  I felt everything went very well.  There was lots of great lifting and many new IAWA World Records set.  Right now I feel a sense of relief that the meet is over and it was a success!

We had one Junior Lifter, my daughter Molly Myers.  Molly started the event with a tremendous back squat of 110 KGS.  She did this lift without knee wraps and a belt (she forgot her belt!). One thing that makes the Gold Cup very special is that it is a true World event every year.  Peter Phillips made the trip from Perth, Australia to do a 155KG Thumbless Grip Deadlift. Timo Lauttamus represented Finland and performed an amazing 100KG Little Finger Hacklift. Steve Gardner from England started the meet off with a 80KG Middle Fingers Straddle. Karen Gardner from England continues to show her many all round lifting skills by lifting 32.5KG in the Hands Together Bench Press.  George Dick from Scotland always keeps the crowd entertained, and in the process set a new World Record with a 45KG Dumbbell & Barbell Anyhow. A couple of other lifters that really stood out included Eric Todd with a 60KG Lying Lateral Raise and 89 year old Art Montini with a 80 KG Deadlift.

Timo Lauttamus and his outstanding Little Fingers Deadlift of 100 KG.

Timo Lauttamus and his outstanding Little Fingers Deadlift of 100 KG.

For the past several years an outstanding Best Lifter of the Gold Cup has been awarded. The award is named the Howard Prechtel Memorial Award, in honor of Howard Prechtel for starting the Gold Cup many years ago. This year’s winner was Timo Lauttamus with his outstanding Little Fingers Hack. Second Place went to LaVerne Myers, and third place went to Peter Phillips.

Winner of the Howard Prechtel Award was Timo Lauttamus (center). Peter Phillips from Australia was third (left) and LaVerne Myers was second (right).

Winner of the Howard Prechtel Award was Timo Lauttamus (center). Peter Phillips from Australia was third (left) and LaVerne Myers was second (right).

I have many people who I need to thank for helping me throughout the weekend.  First up is my dad LaVerne. He served as co-promoter for the Gold Cup and really helped coordinating the meet venue and hosting several lifters at his home. My wife Leslie catered the meal herself, and did an excellent job. I may be biased but I felt the banquet meal was one of the best ever!  I especially want to thank the crew that helped with loading and setup – Brad Wehling, Jason Lahr, and Kyle Jones. I couldn’t believe we did the meet set up in only an hour. Steve Gardner was brilliant on the microphone all day as well as doing all the scorekeeping. My buddies Chad and Thom helped so much as well.   Lastly, I can’t say enough about all the help I got from Peter Phillips. Peter was spending the week with me and I put him to work! Peter helped me get all the equipment ready and loaded the day before, helped with set up and tear down, officiated all day, and then helped me unload everything once I got it back home. He was my right-hand man! I especially want to thank all the lifters that took part in this event.

This day was a great day in the history of the IAWA.

Meet Results:

2016 IAWA Gold Cup
Abilene Civic Center
Abilene, KS, USA
October 22nd, 2016

Meet Promoters: Al Myers and LaVerne Myers

Announcer and Scorekeeper: Steve Gardner

Officials (3-official system used): George Dick, Peter Phillips, Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, Chad Ullom, LaVerne Myers, Al Myers, Thom Van Vleck

Loaders: Chad Ullom, Al Myers, Jason Lahr, Dean Ross, Molly Myers

Results (PDF) – iawa-gold-cup

Frank’s Record Day

Frank’s Record Day 9/27/2016.

We had another good team meet at Frank’s Barbell Club. Officials for the meet were Jeff Ciavattone, Joe Ciavattone, Frank Ciavattone, and official in training Rocky Morrison.

Kim Lydon continued her impressive lifting.

Kim Lydon – Open – 70 Kg. Class

Ciavattone Deadlift 226lbs – 102.5kgs
LH Ciavattone Deadlift 123.5lbs – 56kgs

Tony Patterson showed off his arm strength again.

Tony Patterson – 50+ (and Open) – 80 Kg. Class

Barbell Curl – Strict 135lbs – 61.2kgs
RH Vertical Bar – 2″ bar 200lbs – 90.7kgs

Mark Raymond impressed us with his grip strength.

Mark Raymond – 50+ – 110 Kg. Class

LH Vertical Bar – 2″ bar 178lbs – 80.7kgs
RH Vertical Bar – 2″ bar 178lbs – 80.7kgs

David Gago was a rookie and showed he has some impressive strength.

David Gago – 55+ – 70 Kg. Class

Barbell Curl – Strict 95lbs – 43.1kgs
LH Dumbell Cheat Curl 40lbs – 18.1kgs
RH Dumbell Cheat Curl 40lbs – 18.1kgs
Hip Lift 700lbs – 317.5kgs

Frank Ciavattone continues to amaze us all. He is the best coach and very strong…

Frank Ciavattone Jr. – 60+ – 125+ Kg. Class

LH Ciavattone Deadlift 243lbs –110.2kgs
RH Ciavattone Deadlift 277.5lbs –125.9kgs

It was a great job by everyone that participated and supported the lifters.

3rd Quarter Postal

By Al Myers

MEET RESULTS – 3rd Quarter Postal Meet

Meet Director: Denny Habecker
Dates: July 1st – September 30th

Lifts: Clean and Press – Alternate Grip, Clean and Jerk – One Arm, Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip

Lifters using the 3-official system:
Dan Wagman – Officials RJ Jackson & Jarrod Fobes
Mark Raymond – Officials Frank Ciavattone & Rocky Morrison
Kimberlyn Lydon – Officials Frank Ciavattone & Rocky Morrison

Lifters using the 1-official system:
Al Myers – Official LaVerne Myers
Eric Todd – Official Denny Habecker
Rocky Morrison – Official Frank Ciavattone
Dean Ross – Official Denny Habecker
LaVerne Myers – Official Al Myers
Lance Foster – Official Eric Todd
Aidan Habecker – Official Denny Habecker
RJ Jackson – Official Jarrod Fobes
Crystal Diggs – Official RJ Jackson

Lifters using a non-certified judge:
Denny Habecker
David Fisher
Lynda Burns


RJ Jackson 54 105 65 55R 190 310 498.3
Kim Lydon 25 150 88 67R 209 364 387.7
Lynda Burns 41 203 65 45L 190 300 270.9
Crystal Diggs 29 164 45 25 45 115 115.7


 Lifter Age BWT C&P C&J DL TOT PTS
Dan Wagman OP 182 191 112L 425 728 685.1
Al Myers 50 227 120 110R 407 637 590.0
Eric Todd 41 259 200 100R 335 665 528.9
Rocky Morrison 54 292 134 76L 380 590 498.9
Denny Habecker 74 189 99 55R 242 396 493.4
Dean Ross 73 253 85 0 295 380 401.4
Mark Raymond 53 237 122 66R 242 430 399.7
LaVerne Myers 72 234 75 45L 242 362 395.3
Lance Foster 50 338 100 45R 295 440 342.3
Aidan Habecker 13 128 44 33R 143 220 323.6
David Fisher 41 218 100 50L 200 350 304.2

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


By Dan Wagman and Ruth Jackson

From our perspective there are many aspects of all-round weightlifting that make it the greatest strength sport. But at the top of our list is the fact that your strength is challenged in 182 different lifts (USAWA Rulebook, 9th Ed.; but actually 218 lifts if you count right and left arm for one-armed lifts, 10 different fingers for finger lifts, and front and rear weaver). In addition, human physiology is such that it is nearly impossible to excel at all feats of strength equally. Fact is, we have been humbled by how challenging it is to perform well in certain lifts that present personal challenges. This humbling experience is something that many, if not most, strength athletes are unwilling to expose themselves to as they would rather stick to the lifts they can impress in.

With that said, we thought it would be interesting to see who the top men and women lifters are in USAWA—if not all of American strength sport. We determined this by only looking at how many different lifts a lifter holds a record in. We referred to the September, 2016 USAWA Record List for this.


Regardless of age or gender, or even time-in-sport, all-round weightlifting’s overall top performer is Al Myers with records in 152 different lifts. Denny Habecker comes in second with 141 lifts and Dean Ross rounds out the top three with 132 lifts. Only two lifts behind Dean is Ruth Jackson with 130 different lift records for the overall fourth place ranking while Art Montini’s 128 different lift records completes the overall top five greatest all-round weightlifters.



Rank               Name                                                 Lifts                           

1                    Jackson, Ruth                                      130

2                    McConnaughey, Mary                           66

3                    Phumchaona, Noi                                 57

4                    Fritz, Misty                                          41

5                    Myers, Molly                                        37

6                    Ollennuking, Amorkor                          36

7                    Gordon, Emily                                     34

8                    Hall, Rita and Sees, Susan                   33

9                    Monk, Elizabeth                                  31

10                  Jobe, Gabby and Schmidt, Kathy          27


Rank               Name                                                    Lifts

1                    Myers, Al                                               152

2                    Habecker, Denny                                    141

3                    Ross, Dean                                            132

4                    Montini, Art                                           128

5                    Ullom, Chad                                          122

6                    McKean, John                                        105

7                    Garcia, Joe                                            104

8                    Mitchell, Dennis                                     94

9                    Emslie, David                                        80

10                  Glasgow, Dave and Myers, LaVerne         77

Please note that determining these rankings took a huge amount of counting, deletion of multiple records for the same lift, sorting, etc. To give you a sense of this, just for the top 10 men there were over 3,300 initial line items of records. After removal of multiple records for the same lift the line items were reduced to a bit over 1,000. If there are any errors we apologize and would appreciate notification so that corrections can be made.

Clearly, no strength sport is as challenging as all-round weightlifting. If you are in need of motivation, have another look at the incredible depth of strength feats these lifters have accomplished, chalk up, pile on the plates, and challenge yourself in ways most dare not.

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