Passing of Tom Ryan

By Al Myers

The 2016 USAWA Year in Review is a tribute to the life of Tom Ryan.

The 2016 USAWA Year in Review is a tribute to the life of Tom Ryan.

These blogs are always the saddest for me to write. Especially when I’m writing one about a friend that has died.  But I’m doing it – as I feel that Tom deserves a tribute from us because of his influences and contributions he has made to the USAWA.

Tom Ryan was born on April 23rd, 1945 and died on December 1st, 2016. He had been involved with weightlifting his entire life.  He started out with focusing on Olympic Lifting, and then these past 25 years his main interest was All Round Weightlifting. He competed in the pre-USAWA days in all round lifting, and primarily in the first few years of the USAWA. He did lift in a few record days later on.  I have had the opportunity to lift with Tom on a few occasions.

Tom and I had a great email relationship.  We would exchange emails almost weekly, often discussing matters of all round weightlifting, training, or news within the organization.  I could always count on Tom calling something to my attention if he noticed something on the USAWA website that he thought wasn’t correct. I really appreciated that as I knew the best interests of the USAWA were always in his heart.  Tom was an extreme intellectual and a person who wanted details being correct. He had a PhD as a statistician and spent a good part of his professional life writing statistics books, teaching, and editing statistics books. He was a great writer as well. He had written several articles for magazines and newsletters through his life in both his professional life and for weightlifting.  When we did the big USAWA Rulebook rewrite in 2009 I had Tom proofread it.  He found over 100 corrections! He used his knowledge of statistics to evaluate weightlifting formulas. I remember him telling me that he once served on an Olympic Weightlifting committee to decide whether Masters Weightlifting should use the Sinclair Formula or the Malone Formula.

Tom was a great weightlifting historian.  He served as a moderator for Joe Roark’s Iron History Forum for a number of years.  Tom had a great interest in Paul Anderson.  He wrote several articles about Paul Anderson. Tom lived near Atlanta in his later years and the Paul Anderson Youth Home is nearby in Vidalia.  I always told him I was going to come to Atlanta and see him and then we could go to the Youth Home together.  That was a trip I was never able to make which I now regret.

Tom has several records in the USAWA which he was very proud of. He still holds over 20 USAWA Records (over 50 at one time).  Among these include his Weaver Stick record of 7 pounds (which I was there to witness), his one arm thumbless deadlift of 254 pounds (still one of the top All Times lifts), a 345# one arm deadlift (done at the 93 Zercher Classic), and a 95# Rectangular Fix.  Tom’s last USAWA meet was the 2006 Goerner Deadlift.

Even as his health declined in the past few years, he still stay committed to his training program. He had trained at home most all of his life.  He once told me that he had plenty of self-motivation to train alone, and that he liked to train in total silence by himself.  We would often email visit about his training program.  Just a few months before he died he was still training the seated one arm deadlift with a dumbbell. He was up to a 281 pound dumbbell which he said he could lift and hold for 30 seconds. His last training goal was to lift a 300 pound dumbbell while seated!

I will sure miss Tom. He was a major contributor to the USAWA Discussion Forum. I’m sure all of us will miss his page long topic posts, which often read more like an article on the subject instead of a comment.  Many times I would try to get him to write a website blog following one of his forum posts, but the feeling I got from him was that he had said all he wanted on the subject in the forum!

If anyone has stories or memories of Tom and would like to share them on the website, please send them to me. I am dedicating the 2016 USAWA Year in Review to Tom.  We will keep his memory alive in the USAWA.

Lifter of the Month – Art Montini

By Al Myers

Art Montini pulling a new IAWA World Record in the Deadlift at the 2016 IAWA Gold Cup.

Art Montini pulling a new IAWA World Record in the Deadlift at the 2016 IAWA Gold Cup.

The lifter of the month for October is Art Montini!

Art had a brilliant month of lifting in the USAWA last October.  First he competed in the IAWA World Championships in Lebanon, PA, placing 10th Overall as the oldest competitor in the meet. The next weekend he hosted his annual Art’s Birthday Bash Record Day in Pittsburgh on his 89th birthday.  This meet promotion had to be one of the biggest he’s ever had for his birthday bash.  Several of the overseas lifters competed in it for the first time.  It was an International affair! Then the following weekend he made the trip to Abilene, Kansas to compete in the IAWA Gold Cup.  In the Gold Cup he deadlifted an unbelievable 80 KG.  That’s 3 USAWA/IAWA competitions over the course of three weekends, which makes him a very deserving winner for the USAWA Lifter of the Month.

Congrats Arts!

Importance of Sanctions

By Al Myers

The USAWA has always required USAWA events/competitions to file a sanction request.  This sanction request is then approved by the USAWA in order for an event/competition to be officially recognized by the USAWA.  These forms are easily found in “About Us” under “Forms and Applications” on this website.  It’s a simple process – fill out the form completely and then send it in with the sanction fee of $30 before the 30 day rule of advance notice.  Sanction requests are almost always (I can think of only a couple that weren’t) approved.  If the applying party is trying to violate a rule of sanction, which is all laid out clearly in the USAWA RuleBook (Section VIII), then the sanction can not approved. Another reason is if someone is wanting to sanction an event on the same day as one of our signature competitions (like the National Championships) then it can not be sanctioned for that date, and another day needs to be chosen.  Several times I have helped people with this sanction process which is not problem, as I don’t want it to be a difficult thing to do.

What do you get with your sanction?

I heard recently that someone said that our sanction request is “paying $30 for a sheet of paper and nothing else.” I found that very humorous as that comment is so absurd. Obviously this individual is totally out of touch as to what the USAWA offers with our sanctions.  Maybe in the ole days, when the USAWA operated in a flim-flam manner with no written rules of business and no democratic governing body that comment was the case – but not now.

Let me “tell ya” what you get with your sanction.

1. A guarantee that your meet will join the high standards set forth by the USAWA

By agreeing to a sanction a meet director agrees to follow the rules of the USAWA as set forth in the USAWA Rule Book and USAWA Bylaws. Lifters know things will be “done right” and know that the event/competition will be conducted to the high standards of the USAWA.

2.  Website recognition in meet results

Only properly sanctioned USAWA events/competitions are published to the USAWA website.  The USAWA website is viewed by 100’s of people daily and if you compete in an official USAWA competition you will receive the publicity of your efforts of competition. It costs money to have a website of which part of the sanction fee goes to supporting.

3.  Drug Testing

The USAWA has a tremendous drug testing program now.  Part of the sanction fee goes to paying for this testing program.  This insures the lifters are participating in truly drug-free competition.  Without fees – no drug testing!

4.  Ability to set USAWA records

The USAWA has an extensive Record List which goes back to the beginning of the organization. It is now 30 years old and contains records for practically all the lifts within many different age/bodyweight classes.

5.  Yearly Awards

By participating in an official USAWA event/competition you become eligible for several yearly USAWA Awards offered through our USAWA Awards Program.  The USAWA budgets $1000 a year to pay for these awards which is entirely funded though fees, of which sanction fees are a part of.

I could name more reasons but these are the big ones. The USAWA is a non-profit organization.  All fees paid (which includes sanction fees) goes back to the lifters in one way or another. No one gets paid in the USAWA. All administrators, directors, officers, officials, promoters, Executive Board Members, etc are volunteer positions and DO NOT receive any funding from the USAWA bank account. The USAWA is for the lifters first and foremost.

I would say you get a lot for a $30 sanction fee!

Final 2016 Postal Series Rankings

by Al Myers

The USAWA has 4 postal meets per year (March, June, September, and December), with the last one being designated as the Postal Championships. All these together make up the Postal Meet Series. Each postal meet a lifter competes in generates points for him/her, that total up for the final Postal Series Ranking.

The way the points are generated is pretty simple. I take the overall placings of the meet and then reverse “the count” for the points earned for each lifter. I.E – if three lifters compete lifter number 1 gets 3 points, lifter number 2 gets 2 points, and lifter number three gets 1 point. The Postal Championships is worth “double points”. Obviously then, as more lifters enter more points can be earned for winning the meet, and ALL lifters earn points regardless where they place overall. Just entering will earn points toward the Postal Series Ranking.

Overall there was good participation in the USAWA Postal Meets last year. A total of 21 lifters competed in the various postal meets, which is more lifters than competed last year. The first Postal Meet had 11 lifters, the second had 9 lifters, the third had 15 lifters, and the Postal Championship drew 17 lifters. Several lifters competed in ALL of the postal meets last year and they deserve to be recognized.  These lifters are the GRAND SLAM WINNERS:  RJ Jackson,  Dan Wagman, Al Myers, LaVerne Myers, Denny Habecker, and Dean Ross.

Now for the overall rankings for the 2016 USAWA Postal Series!


1 RJ Jackson 4 14
2 Tressa Brooner 2 5
3 Cyrstal Diggs 3 4
4 Tie Mary McConnaughey 2 3
4 Tie Lynda Burns 2 3
4 Tie Kim Lydon 1 3


1 Dan Wagman 4 52
2 Al Myers 4 43
3 LaVerne Myers 4 35
4 Denny Habecker 4 32
5 Tie Chad Ullom 1 24
5 Tie Eric Todd 3 24
7 Barry Bryan 1 20
8 Mark Raymond 2 19
9 Dean Ross 4 19
10 Tie Barry Pensyl 1 16
10 Tie Rocky Morrison 2 16

Congrats to RJ Jackson and Dan Wagman for being the OVERALL WINNERS of the 2016 USAWA Postal Series.  RJ and Dan  won EVERY one of the quarterly postal meets!  This is an amazing accomplishment considering each postal meet offers different lift challenges. Being able to consistently win overalls in postal meets shows that these two lifters are truly all round weightlifters.

I want to thank everyone who participated in our Postal Meet Series.  This partipation is what keeps our Postals going every year.

Postal Series Competitons

By Al Myers

The entire 2017 Postal Series Meets have been announced.  The USAWA has had a long history of promoting postal meets, and for the last several years have hosted a Postal Series, consisting of 4 quarterly Postal Meets with the last one being the Postal Championships.

The promotion of these meets are done by the USAWA, under the direction of the Postal Meet Director Denny Habecker.  All scoresheets are to be sent to Denny as he does the formula calculations for the final meet standings. There is no entry fee to enter the USAWA Postal Meets. The Postal series is sponsored by the USAWA.  However, you must be a current member of the USAWA to participate.

Postal Meets are a great way to get introduced to All Round Weightlifting. Denny picks a variety of different lifts for each meet.  Rules for the lifts are found in the USAWA Rule Book, which is available for free download from the website.

Now for the lifts of this years Postal Series!

1st Quarter Postal Meet – January 1st to March 31st
Clean and Push Press – 2 Dumbbells
Cheat Curl – 2 Dumbbells
Swing – 2 Dumbbells

2nd Quarter Postal Meet – April 1st to June 30th
Snatch – From Hang
Hack Lift – One Arm
Pullover and Press

3rd Quarter Postal Meet – July 1st to September 30th
Half Gardner
Press – From Racks
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, One Arm

Postal Championships – October 1st to December 31st
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand
Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm
Deadlift – Trap Bar

All entry forms for the USAWA Postal Meets are found in upcoming events in the right column of the website homepage.

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