Florida Record Day

by Derek Prior

Group picture from the Florida Record Day (left to right): Theo Prior, Derek Prior, Stephen Santangelo, Chad Ullom, and Al Myers

We had three very different lifters for the first ever Florida USAWA record day at the Iron Cave on Saturday 24th January:

Stephen Santangelo is just starting out with the teeth lift, but managed 100lbs. He also did some impressive vertical bar lifts with both the 1-inch and 2-inch bars.

Theo Prior, age 13, bent pressed 50lbs and Ciavatone dead lifted 185, and 235 staggered. He also managed an incredible 705lbs Travis lift.

Derek Prior hit a personal best dumbbell bent press of 85lbs, and another personal best barbell bent press of 85.6lbs.

Al Myers and Chad Ullom officiated, after wrestling gators on the way down from Orlando.

We finished off at the Marsh Landing restaurant for gator tail and frogs legs.


Florida Record Day
The Iron Cave
Fellsmere, Florida
January 24th, 2015

Meet Director:  Derek Prior

Officials (1-official system used): Al Myers, Chad Ullom

Lifts: Record Day


Theo Prior – Age 13, BWT 130#
Bent Press – Dumbbell, Left: 50#
Bent Press – Dumbbell, Right: 50#
Bent Press – Bar, Right: 45#
Travis Lift: 705#
Deadlift – Ciavattone: 185#
Deadlift: 235#
Clean and Press – Dumbbells: 80#

Derek Prior – Age 46, BWT 185#
Bent Press – Dumbbell, Right: 85#
Bent Press – Dumbbell, Left: 50#
Bent Press – Bar, Right: 85#
Travis Lift: 585#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 315#
Clean and Press – Dumbbells, Heels Together: 120#

Stephen Santangelo – Age 62, BWT 160#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left: 180#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right: 190#
Pinch Grip – Two Hands: 141.5#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right: 145.5#
Dumbbell Walk: 76#

Chad Ullom – Age 43, BWT 263#
Bent Over Row: 295#
Cheat Curl – Dumbbell, Left: 100#
Cheat Curl – Dumbbell, Right: 100#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left: 85#
Pullover and Press – Wrestlers Bridge: 85#

Al Myers – Age 48, BWT 237#
Bench Press – Feet in Air: 280#
Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 280#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 280#
Bench Press – Hands Together: 250#

Dino Gym Challenge

by Thom Van Vleck


Group picture from the 2015 Dino Gym Challenge - (front left to right): Kyle Jones, Chad Ullom, Eric Todd, Lance Foster, (back left to right): LaVerne Myers, Dave Glasgow, Dean Ross, Thom Van Vleck

The Dino Gym Challenge was held at the Dino Gym near Abilene, Kansas on January 17, 2015. Meet director Al Myers has held this meet the 3rd weekend in January for some time and I believe I’ve attended most of them. Every year Al comes up with a new challenge and this year his focus was the deadlift. There were five lifts contested and six lifters showed to test themselves against the iron.

The first lift was the Deadlift-Ciavattone Grip with the Fulton Bar. This lift can be very humbling as the Ciavattone grip is a double overhand grip with no hooking allowed. The deciding factor is the grip and having a Fulton bar that is 2 inches in diameter just adds to the difficulty. Two time Highland Games Masters World Champion Dean Ross was the oldest competitor present. He pulled in 203 pounds. He was matched by Lance Foster. Eric Todd made a 256lb pull. Eric just turned 40 so he’s now in the master’s class. Newcomer Kyle Jones, who has been training with Al Myers recently, pulled 276lbs. Kyle is 27 years old and recently out of the Army. He was matched by Dave Glasgow who was more than twice Kyle’s age. Both pulled 276lbs. Chad Ullom was the only lifter to get more than 300lbs. He finished a nice pull of 323lbs.

The next lift was the one hand deadlift. Everyone went right handed on this lift. Dean Ross got things started with a 164lb effort. Lance and Kyle tied with 242lbs. Dave Glasgow pushed the bar over 300lbs with a nice 314lb effort. Eric Todd pulled 363lbs. Normally this would wind most meets but Chad Ullom really excels at this event and he when over the 400lb barrier with a 418lb pull. Chad one one more pull left and he chose to go to a record 453lbs! Everyone was pretty excited to see this feat and it got pretty loud as Chad pulled the bar to the finish position. He basically had the lift completed, then disaster struck. Chad said later he thought the bar was slipping out. It wasn’t the bar slipping….it was Chad’s skin tearing away from his hand! As the bar popped out and dropped back to earth a flap of skin shot across the platform. It was pretty ugly, but Chad taped it up and the meet continued. I think everyone there took a photo of his hand and it was soon all over social media. Everyone likes a good train wreck!

The Third lift was the Deadlift, no thumbs, overhand grip. Dave Glasgow ended up missing his opener. Dean was next out at 253lbs and Lance Foster ended with 303lbs. Eric Todd was next at 325lbs and Kyle made 369lbs. Chad Ullom was the only lifter to make it to 400 with a nice 402lber. Considering his right hand was taped and the damage done, I was impressed he could pull anything at all.

The fourth lift was the Deadlift, Ciavattone Grip. This time Lance was the first out with a 297lb pull. He was followed by Dean Ross at 314lbs. Eric Todd had 347lbs while Dave Glasgow matched the youngster Kyle Jones at 374lbs. Chad Ullom waited everyone out before even starting his pulls and eventually hit the meet best at 467lbs.

Chad Ullom pulling a new USAWA record in the Heels Together Deadlift at 551 pounds.

The last lift was the Deadlift, heels together. This lift was sure to produce the heaviest poundage lifted for the day. It also, in my opinion, produced a couple of the best efforts of the day. Dean got us started with a 242lb lift with Lance pulling 352lbs. Eric Todd pulled 402lbs. Then Dave Glasgow called for 418lbs. He missed it and called for it on his third attempt. He had such a tough miss I think most of us thought this would be a really tough lift. It was as tough lift, but Dave pulled it through nicely! Kyle Jones finished his first every USAWA meet with a 452lb pull. Hopefully we’ll see more of him. I know he had much more in the tank but he had never even seen some of the lifts, let alone practiced them. Oh…wait, I almost forgot! Chad Ullom called for 551lbs for his final attempt. He pulled it so cleanly that he honestly made it look easy…..making it one of the best efforts of the day along with Dave’s comeback third attempt.

Once the points were tabulated the top three included Eric Todd (3rd), Kyle Jones (2nd) and Chad Ullom (1st). Dave Glasgow might have given Chad a run for his money had he not bombed on one of the lifts. I know he certainly would have been 2nd. Dave looked as strong as I’ve seen him in years! Overall, we had a great day for lifting and it seemed to me that everyone had fun. Other than Chad’s skin tear there were no injuries.

Al Myers was the meet director, I was the scorekeeper and announcer, while Laverne Myers was the judge (single judge system). The lifters all took turns helping load. After the meet we all hung around telling some stories. That is one of my favorite things, the “after meet glow”. It looks like we have several meets coming up but this was a nice start to the new year.


Dino Gym Challenge
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
Saturday, January 17th, 2014

Meet Director: Al Myers

Official (1-Official System Used): LaVerne Myers

Scorekeeper: Thom Van Vleck

Lifts: Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip, Deadlift – One Arm, Deadlift – No Thumbs, Overhand Grip, Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Deadlift – Heels Together

Chad Ullom 43 255 323 418-R 402 467 551 2161 1765
Kyle Jones 27 244 276 242-R 369 374 452 1713 1376
Eric Todd 40 263 256 363-R 325 347 402 1693 1322
Dave Glasgow 61 261 276 314-R 0 374 418 1382 1309
Dean Ross 72 260 203 164-R 253 314 242 1176 1216
Lance Foster 49 323 203 242-R 303 297 352 1397 1077

NOTES: All lifts recorded in pounds. AGE is age in years. BWT is bodyweight in pounds. TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS are adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.

Postal Championships

by Al Myers

The results from the 2014 USAWA Postal Championships are in!

Many thanks goes to USAWA Postal Director Denny Habecker for getting these results tabulated so quickly (considering the circumstance!)!

I want to mention the lifters that competed in every one of the 4 postal meets promoted by the USAWA.  These lifters deserve special recognition for their support to our postal series: Eric Todd, Barry Bryan, Denny Habecker, Ruth Jackson, and Lance Foster.


USAWA Postal Championships
December, 2014

Postal Director:  Denny Habecker

Lifter/Official (1-Official System Used):
Al Myers – Chad Ullom
Chad Ullom – Al Myers
Dan Wagman – Jarrod Fobes
Eric Todd – Lance Foster
Barry Bryan – Denny Habecker
Denny Habecker – Barry Bryan
Cale Dunlop – Al Myers
Lance Foster – Eric Todd
Ruth Jackson – Jarrod Fobes
Molly Myers – Al Myers

Lifts: Snatch – From Hang, Deadlift – Dumbbell, One Arm, Pullover and Push


Ruth Jackson 53 106 65 180-R 115 350 554.6
Molly Myers 16 174 83 140-R 93 316 336.9


Al Myers 48 236 155 373-R 340 868 773.5
Chad Ullom 42 258 190 417-R 320 927 745.6
Dan Wagman ? 185 167 350-R 250 767 716.8
Eric Todd 39 255 175 310-R 411 896 704.2
Barry Bryan 56 191 127 184-R 221 532 570.3
Denny Habecker 72 197 83 184-R 198 465 557.5
Cale Dunlap 19 149 95 180-R 143 418 455.1
Lance Foster 48 336 95 220-R 155 470 352.9

NOTES:  AGE is age in years.  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 for age and bodyweight corrections.

The combined totals for the 5 lifters that did all four postals are:

Eric Todd – 2325.75 Points
Barry Bryan – 2192.96
Denny Habecker – 2161.35
Ruth Jackson – 1980.69
Lance Foster – 1517.50


John McKean

Melvin Wells (left) easily took "best arms" awards at Mr America contests by training just two, strictly performed All-Round lifts. On the right is that years winner,for comparison sake, the famous Jack Delinger.

Our very first USAWA Hall-of-Famer, John Grimek, originally developed his amazingly thick arms from heavy, STRICT presses and equally good form barbell curls. Heck, he had to do strict presses, because in the old days of lifting (John won the U.S. Nationals and made our team for the Olympics , flirting with the world press record several times !) the lifters had to press at the speed of the head ref slowly raising his finger! (our own Art Montini is still mad at the late Bob Hoffman, who turned Art down on a 235 pound press for going just a bit faster than Bob’s finger raise!!).

Yet it will surprise many that during Grimek’s heyday there was another competitor that not only pressed and curled better, but according to serious, expert officials of the time, actually displayed more impressive arm musculature!! His name was Melvin Wells, a physique man who placed second in a few early 1950s Mr. America contests, while always winning “best arms” , “best back”, and “most muscular” awards. It is said that no photo did this man justice, but he achieved the first REAL 19″ arm ,so full, thick, and defined, as to defy description during those pre steroid times. And he got size and strength with a very basic All-Round training scheme.

Mel’s entire arm program consisted only of 3 sets of ten in the strict curl and the press! Yet when I say STRICT, Wells took this to a whole ‘nuther level- our USAWA rules tell us for curling to put a sheet of paper behind our head & butt, backed up to a wall, then curl(without paper slipping) ; for training, Wells didn’t use the paper thing, but very reliable witnesses observed him ALWAYS performing very SLOW, picture perfect barbell curls ,full range, with 150 pounds for his 3 sets of 10 (one writer counted him doing 12 perfect reps with 145 in front of a large crowd at the famous York picnic!). His presses were perhaps even more noteworthy – 3 sets of 10 ,super strict with 120 pounds ! Oh, wait, I forgot to mention, these were one arm presses!! Absolutely no side leaning or back bend either. Hmm, this guy coulda done some major damage to the USAWA record book for curling & pressing!!

Now I write this not only to publish great lifting history and get guys thinking of training more on strict curls and our one arm dumbbell press, but due to recently my wife joining a local health spa, and dragging me along to keep her company. Fortunately, this gym has plenty of olympic weights, and good heavy dumbbells, and they tend to leave ya alone (nobody has yelled at me for using chalk -YET!)! But, man, talk about STRICT lifting – i see NONE of it!! Seems in the old days at public gyms I expected to see high squats by the uninitiated, but nowadays it seems that overhead presses ,incline work, bench presses, pulls, etc, whether with barbells are dumbbells, are ALL performed as QUARTER lifts -many only through mere inches of movement at the top ends! And most trainees are not even using big weights (but I guess they THINK they are!)! Seems there’d certainly be better functional strength and lasting development if modern gym people would adopt our “old fashioned” concept of complete lifts!

Just a thought -maybe those of us in the USAWA ought to visit local commercial gyms and arrange to put on free exhibitions of some of our lifts. I know from talking to a few guys, that many of those training would love to get into meets -it’s just that no one is available to show them proper procedures! It sure would be nice to increase our membership, as well as possibly opening up new venues for contests!

As for me, ole Mel Wells has inspired me onto more strict curling and one arm DB presses (tho “early middle age” allows me only to press right handed!) ; must be working -at 5’3″ tall I recently measured my right arm at 18 inches (hey, you do measure from your shoulder down to the base of yer hand, don’t ya??!!)! Train hard ,but strictly and safely, during 2015 ,guys!

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