Tag Archives: Art Montini

OTSM Championships

by Eric Todd


Group picture from the 2015 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championship (left to right): Denny Habecker, Eric Todd, Art Montini, Lance Foster

Group picture from the 2015 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championship (left to right): Denny Habecker, Eric Todd, Art Montini, Lance Foster

September 26, ET’s House of Iron and Stone played host to the fifth annual USAWA Old Time strongman Championship. Though turnout was rather small (mostly due to poor scheduling by the promoter), the lifting was fantastic and the camaraderie was even better. President Denny Habecker and his trusty sidekick Art Montini made the trip from Pennsylvania to lift. Lance Foster came all the way from from Platte City, MO, and I came all the way across the lawn from inside my house. We started off with Thor’s Hammer, which would have the smallest amount lifted of all the disciplines. Lance and I tied for top honors here, both lifting 35.5 pounds. Denny was not far behind with at record breaking lift of 25.5. In the Saxon snatch, Lance and I tied again with lifts of 80 pounds apiece. In the Apollon’s Axle, it was all Lance. At first, it appeared that he had shot himself in the foot, as he missed his first and second attempts. However, he came back on his third and nailed 165 pounds. Denny struggled with the continental, or he would have given Lance a run for his money. The final lift of the day was the People’s Deadlift. It was a battle. Art set the bar with a lift of 300, a record lift of 320, and he was still grumbling afterwards that we had let him start too light. Denny topped him with a 365, then ground out a record 375. At this point, Lance started lifting and topped out at an impressive 460. This lift ultimately allowed Lance to sneak by Art by one point for second place. Top honors, however, went to his majesty, the President, Denny Habecker. It was a beautiful day to catch up with friends and throw around some iron.


2015 USAWA OTSM Championships
ET’s House of Iron and Stone
Turney, MO
September 26th, 2015

Meet Director: Eric Todd

Scorekeeper: Eric Todd

Officials (3 official system used): Eric Todd, Lance Foster, Denny Habecker, Art Montini

Lifts: Thor’s Hammer, Saxon Snatch, Apollon’s Lift, People’s Deadlift


 LIFTER AGE BWT Thor Sax Apoll People Total Points
Denny Habecker 72 87.3 25.5 50 120 365 560.5 680.8
Lance Foster 49 149.1 35.5 80 165 460 740.5 566.7
Art Montini 87 79.1 10 25 60 300 395 565.8
Eric Todd 40 117.3 35.5 80 110 135 360.5 284.1


Denny Habecker: Saxon Snatch 60#
Denny Habecker: People’s Deadlift 375#
Art Montini: People’s Deadlift 320#

NOTES: Age in years. BWT is bodyweight in kilograms. All lifts recorded in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted. Points are adjusted points for age and bodyweight corrections.

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers


Group picture from the 2015 Presidential Cup (left to right): Art Montini, Al Myers, Dean Ross, and Denny Habecker

Group picture from the 2015 Presidential Cup (left to right): Art Montini, Al Myers, Dean Ross, and Denny Habecker

For the fourth year annually, our USAWA President Denny Habecker has held the USAWA Presidential Cup.  This Championship Event recognizes the “best of the best” amongst record days.  It IS the championship record day in the USAWA – much like the Gold Cup is the Championship Record Day in the IAWA. Every year our Prez picks a lift and lifter for the winner of the Presidential Cup.  This is based on what impresses him the most – that is the criteria for being awarded the Presidential Cup.

This year 4 experienced USAWA members took on the challenge.  It was interesting to me that these four lifters (Denny, Art, Dean, and myself) are also TOP TEN members of the Century Club, which shows that all of us have competed in the USAWA quite some time now!  Each of us took turns with our lifts on the platform. Art continues to amaze me.  He did a 26# Abdominal Raise – which would be a very difficult lift for anyone.  I thought that could be the Presidential Cup Lift that might win.  As it turns out that was the only record lift Art did.  When we had time for additional record lifts Art couldn’t decide on another lift to do as he has ALL the records in his age/bodyweight class in the record list and Art doesn’t like to break his own records!

Dean Ross made the trip to Pennsylvania again this summer (Nationals in York was the other).  Dean picked the One Arm Zercher, which is a very difficult lift to perform. He lifted an impressive 160 pounds!  As it turns out – THAT was the lift to win him the Presidential Cup!  Well deserving I must say.

This was a great competition.  I want to thank Denny and Judy for being such great hosts.  We are very fortunate to have Denny as our President and Judy as the “first lady” in the USAWA. They work tirelessly to keep things going, and give back SO MUCH to the organization.

(Tomorrow I’ll give a report on the history of the Presidential Cup and a listing of all past winners. )

Meet Results:

Presidential Cup
Habecker’s Gym
Lebanon, PA
August 22nd, 2015

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Official’s (3-official System Used): Denny Habecker, Al Myers, Art Montini

Al Myers – 48 years old, 228# BWT
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2″, 1 Bar, Right Hand: 193#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2″, 1 Bar, Left Hand: 193#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 171#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 171#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 303#
Deadlift – One Leg, Right: 242#

Dean Ross – 72 years old, 253# BWT
Zercher – One Arm, Left: 143#
Zercher – One Arm, Right: 160#
Ziegler Clean: 93#
Swing – One Arm, Right: 55#
Swing – One Arm, Left: 45#

Denny Habecker – 72 years old, 189# BWT
Pullover – Straight Arm: 60#

Art Montini – 87 years old, 173# BWT
Abdominal Raise: 26#

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers

Group picture from the 2014 USAWA Presidential Cup (left to right): Art Montini, Al Myers, Denny Habecker

Denny Habecker,  our USAWA President, hosted the USAWA Presidential Cup this past weekend at his gym in Lebanon, PA.  This is the third year for this now annual event.  The Presidential Cup is the USAWA version of the IAWA Gold Cup – which features lifters picking their best and favorite lifts to be contested in a record day format.  The Presidential Cup is the “Championship” of record days in the USAWA.  Each year the USAWA President picks a lift/lifter that he feels “worthy” of winning the Presidential Cup. Denny watches each lift with scrutiny as he is making his decision!

The Presidential Cup

This year only Denny, Art, and myself participated.  Art and I have been to this meet each year.  Art,  the defending Champion of the Presidential Cup, is tough competition.  Practically everything he lifts is worthy of being the winning lift. He started off with a 163# 2-bar deadlift.  I knew that would be tough for me to beat. So I started off with breaking Chad’s record in the Dumbbell Walk.  I was hoping that would “seal the deal” for me, but I could tell that Denny wasn’t fully impressed.  Art then went onto to some impressive finger lifts. He lifted 113 pounds on the ring and middle finger.  That’s IMPRESSIVE! Art’s fingers are hardened like steel cables, and I doubt if he has any pain sensor’s in them anymore.  I also planned to do some finger lifts beforehand as well – and felt good breaking a couple of records held by USAWA legends Joe Garcia and Bill Clark, but my finger lifts were not comparable to the ageless Art Montini’s finger lifts.  Now I knew things were “on the line” for me as it looked to me that Art was going to repeat as the Presidential Cup Winner.  So I had to stoop to a low and go after my dads best lift  in the one handed pinch. I managed a 83 pound performance using each hand, topping his best of 77 pounds.  My dad has become known for his gripping strength, always placing high in the USAWA Grip Championships.  This must have done it for me – as I was honored to win the Presidential Cup.  Denny even commented “that is was won by my pinch lifts!!!”   Sorry Dad.  You should have came along.

Denny did several very impressive lifts himself. His pressing of 143 pounds in the Press from Racks and Maxey Press stood out.  Also his 90 pound Two Hands Anyhow which almost took out a light bulb was memorable.  This was a great meet and I encourage others to attend next year.  Anytime one gets to spend time with Denny and Art is something to remember.  After all – these two guys are NUMBER ONE and NUMBER TWO on the All Time USAWA Record List!


USAWA Presidential Cup
August 9th, 2014
Habecker’s Gym
Lebanon, PA

Meet Director:  Denny Habecker

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Officials (2 used on all lifts with both deeming the lifts good): Denny Habecker, Art Montini, Al Myers


Al Myers – 47 years old, 236 pounds BWT

Dumbbell Walk 107 lbs.
Finger Lift – Left Little 69 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Little 69 lbs.
Finger Lift – Left Ring 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Ring 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Index 130 lbs.
Pinch Grip – Left Hand 83 lbs.
Pinch Grip – Right Hand 83 lbs.

Denny Habecker – 71 years old, 193 pounds BWT

Two Hands Anyhow 90 lbs.
French Press 53 lbs.
Maxey Press 143 lbs.
Pullover and Press 187 lbs.
Press – From Rack 143 lbs.
Jackson Press 121 lbs.

Art Montini – 86 years old, 176 pounds BWT

Deadlift – 2 Bars 163 lbs.
Finger Lift – Left Middle 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Middle 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Left Ring 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Ring 113 lbs.



Courage Award Winners

by Al Myers

(Left Picture): Tim Piper presenting the Courage Award to Art Montini. (Right Picture): Tim Piper presenting the Courage Award to Dean Ross.

The Courage Award is described as, “This goes to an individual who shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition. This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues, but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA”.

Since the USAWA Award Program began, NO ONE has been the winner of this award besides Dale Friesz.  Dale was the definition of courage, competing up till his final days.  He set a standard for lifting courage that will be hard for anyone to duplicate.  I often think of this award now as the Dale Frieze Courage Award.

However, there’s another lifter in the USAWA who has plenty of courage as well, and after being last year’s runner up, repeated this year as runner up in the Courage Award by the others in the USAWA this year.  That man – who defies the myths of age and weightlifting – is ART MONTINI.



Dean “Hot Foot” Ross was the Winner, and well deserving.  His input to the USAWA over these past few years exceeds what most can accomplish in a lifetime of participation in the USAWA.  You don’t attend a meet that Dean is at without getting to know him! Everyone knows Dean.

Congrats to Art and Dean for being the winners of the USAWA Courage Award!

Top Lifts of 2013

by Al Myers

Art proudly displaying his homemade Teeth Bit!

Today welcomes in a New Year, and  with it comes the excitement of another very promising year in the USAWA.   2013 had to be one of the best EVER in the history of the USAWA.  There were many great competitions and great individual performances.  Of the 22 official competitions that occurred in 2013 in the USAWA, I was a participant or attended 18 of them!

As I’m sitting here sipping a cup of coffee in the early morning hours of 2014 (my internal clock would not allow me to sleep in!), I’m reflecting on some of the fantastic lifts I was able to witness “first hand” in the USAWA in 2013.  It didn’t take me long to come up with a list of over 20, but I’m gonna narrow the list today to the TOP TEN lifts that impressed me the most. I want to reiterate  that this is MY LIST of the lifts that I was able to watch, and only reflects my viewpoints.  Many, many others were extremely impressive that did not make the list. A few individual lifters had multiple lifts that impressed me, but I’m only including THE ONE that impressed me the most by an individual lifter.  It took me three times as long to come up with my list as it did to write this blog!  Here it goes – counting down from number ten:

10. Lance Foster and his 575# Dinnie Lift at the OTSM Championships

This had to be one of the most tenacious lifts of the year.  Lance struggled at the Battle of the Barn with the Dinnie Lift, but came back a month or so later to up his performance by 75 pounds! If the USAWA offered a TRUE GRIT AWARD Lance would win it.

9.  Jera Kressly and Logan Kressly 600# heels together deadlift at the Team Championships.

Jera and Logan did this mixed pair (man/woman) lift quite easily at the Team Champs.  I should mention that Logan was only 15 at the time!  That’s a big deadlift for any mixed pair with a normal stance – let alone having the heels together!

8.  James Fuller and his 60 KG Bent Press at the Gold Cup.

James has been on a mission to mastering the Bent Press this year.  The Bent Press is one of the MOST old and obscure lifts of all round lifting.  Very few even know how to go about doing one.  I first saw James bent pressing Frank’s axle at the Heavies, with was extremely cumbersome to handle.  I was going to include that effort instead of this one for James, but his Gold Cup lift really deserves it more as it was done in a big competition.  It won’t be long before James puts up the highest Bent Press record of All Time in the USAWA.

7.  Joe Ciavattone Sr. and his 805# Neck Lift at the Heavy Lift Championships.

This HAD to make my list.  Joe is one of the best neck lifters in USAWA history, and held the overall record for many years.  To come back and hit a personal record now several years later shows true ability.  I was glad to be able to witness his lift (as I had not seen his previous record lift).

6.  Troy Goetsch and his 260# one handed Vertical Bar Lift at the Grip Championships.

I’ve seen many great VB lifts in the past, but Troy’s is one of the best.  Troy won the overall lifter at the Grip Champs, and his VB was the lift that I will remember from him on that day.

5.  Frank Ciavattone and his 202.5 KG Ciavattone Grip Deadlift at Nationals.

Frank still has some great lifting in him, as shown with this big lift at our National Championships which is named after him.  I never get tired of watching Frank do Ciavattone Grip Deadlifts – and this is one I’ll never forget.

4.  Dan Wagman and his 120# Pullup at the Dino Gym Record Day.

YES – that’s 120 pounds strapped to the waist and then performing a pullup with the chin OVER the bar with no kipping!!! And hold for a down command!  Not too many around could even come close to this performance of Dan’s.  I’ve seen a lot of great lifting out of Dan and often what he does does not surprise me – but this pullup did!

3.  Joe Ciavattone Jr. and the 1400# Hand and Thigh Lift at the Heavy Lift Championships.

Junior doesn’t realize yet that he will be a future superstar of the USAWA, but I see it.  His untapped strength is unreal, and this big H&T proves it.  He just finished with a 1200 at the meet,  I gave him a couple of tips between lifts, and then he adds 200 pounds and gets it easily!  Impressive to say the least…

2.  Eric Todd and this 1000# Neck Lift at the Battle of the Barn II.

ET has put up 1000 pound Neck Lifts before several times – but this one was done with rules beyond those of the USAWA.   He cleared the floor substantially, and then HELD the lift for over 2 full seconds recorded on a stop watch.  I’m still shaking my head after seeing that effort!

1.  Art Montini and his 107# Teeth Lift at the Presidential Cup.

All I can say is that I still don’t know how he did this!  Art is 85 years old and has FALSE TEETH.  This lift won him the Presidential Cup of the USAWA for the year, and I would say deserving of the lift that impressed me the most!  Art has been one of the most active lifters in the USAWA this year – attending most of the championship events, attending the “Big Three” (Nationals, Worlds, and the Gold Cup), and still involved with promoting his annual Birthday Bash.  He has a deeper resume than anyone in the history of the USAWA, and I’m glad to name Art’s lift as the most impressive lift of 2013.  Congrats Art!!

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