by Al Myers
Members of the Dino Gym that were present at the 2014 Nationals to recieve the Club of the Year Award, (left to right): Al Myers, Dean Ross, Chad Ullom. The award was presented by Mike Murdock (right).
At the USAWA National Championships this summer, the USAWA awarded a Club of the Year for the past year. I am extremely proud of the members of my Dino Gym for winning the award! It takes an entire club’s involvement and participation to win this award in our organization. Runner up went to Habecker’s Gym, ran by the USAWA President Denny Habecker. These awards were presented by members of last year’s Club of the Year, the Ledaig HA. Mike Murdock and Logan Kressly had the honors of presenting the awards on behalf of the Ledaig Club.
CLUB OF THE YEAR – DINO GYM
RUNNER CLUB – HABECKER’S GYM
Logan Kressly (left) presenting the Runner Up Club of the Year Award to Denny Habecker (right).
by Al Myers
Tim Piper (left) presenting the Leadership Award to Denny Habecker.
Tim Piper (left) presenting the Runner Up Leadership Award to Thom Van Vleck.
The Leadership Award in the USAWA goes to an individual “that has shown exceptional leadership qualities within the USAWA during the past year. Things that should be looked at are going above the level expected of an Officer position, promoting sanctioned events with emphasis being on promoting National or World Competitions, promoting the USAWA by developing a strong club, writing articles for publications about the USAWA, or through other means.”
The two winner of this award, and very deserving of it, were:
WINNER – DENNY HABECKER
RUNNER UP – THOM VAN VLECK
Both Denny and Thom were on hand to receive their awards at our National Meet Ceremony. But then you would expect that out of them as they are leaders in the organization. Their inputs at our National Championships was vital. Thom served as the Head Official of the entire meet and did not compete because he would rather “give” than “take”. Thom’s contributions of writing for the USAWA Website on a frequent basis has helped ensure it’s success.
Denny has been our USAWA President for many years now. He is the ultimate leader of the USAWA. He attends practically every big event promoted within the USAWA and the IAWA. If a lifter does not know Denny it is because they are not very involved! Denny attends meets all across the country and interacts with the entire USAWA membership. At Nationals he sat in the officials chair WHILE he was lifting just because that duty needed attended to. I think Denny is the best President the USAWA has ever had.
I’m glad to see the USAWA membership recognize these two for their contributions to the organization. They have earned it!
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.
RUNNER UP – ART MONTINI
WINNER – DEAN ROSS
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!
by Al Myers
Logan Kressly (right) receiving his USAWA Newcomer Award from 2014 USAWA Meet Promoter Tim Piper (left) at the National Championships.
I always enjoy the USAWA Annual Awards presentation. This program to recognize outstanding accomplishments was started in 2010. The program is funded by the USAWA bank account, and all award winners are chosen by the membership. This means if you win one of these awards – it is because your peers deemed you worthy. That means much more than one individual making the choices, or a selection committee deciding.
The first award given out was the Newcomer Award. This award is defined as, “This award goes to an individual who is new to the USAWA or has become involved again in the organization. It recognizes a lifter who has shown great involvement or outstanding performance throughout the past year. it doesn’t have to be someone in their first year involved in the USAWA. “
Two very deserving lifters earned this award this year –
WINNER – MIKE MCINTYRE
RUNNER UP – LOGAN KRESSLY
Mike, lifting for the JWC, made a big impact in the USAWA during the prior year. He competed in several competitions promoted by Thom Van Vleck, and in my 2013 Dino Gym Challlenge OTSM competition. It was at that meet that Mike caught my attention when he performed a 410 pound Hackenschmidt Floor Press. Last December Mike placed 3rd overall in the USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships, in a very tough field of lifters. I was extremely impressed with his 315 pound Anderson Press in that meet! Mike was not on hand at the Awards ceremony to receive his award so Thom Van Vleck accepted it on his behalf.
Logan, lifting for the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, has shown great improvement over the past year in his lifting. At only 16 years old, his future is bright as lifter. Last year Logan competed in the USAWA Team Championships, and paired with Jera Kressly, to win the overall award in the mixed pairs division. He entered the 2014 Dino Gym Challenge, a tribute to Warren Lincoln Travis, and placed 3rd overall competing against many seasoned all rounders. His 1300# Harness Lift and 1600# Back Lift impressed me the most. You often do not see young lifters put up big lifts in the heavy lifts. At my record day last February he did a 550 pound Dinnie Lift! And at this meet, the 2014 Nationals, he was crowned outstanding Junior Lifter. I would say he has had a great year in the USAWA!
Congrats to both of these guys!
by Al Myers
Art Montini (right) receiving the Runner Up Courage from President Denny Habecker (left) at the 2013 USAWA National Championships.
The Courage Award, presented on behalf of the USAWA, 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.”
The Courage Award Winners for this year go to:
WINNER – DALE FRIESZ
RUNNER UP – ART MONTINI
Several months ago the USAWA lost one of the TRUE SUPPORTERS of the USAWA, with the death of Dale Friesz. Dale was actively involved in the USAWA for practically the entire time since the organization began. He was at almost EVERY National Championships, and it was obvious that his passion for all round weightlifting was beyond that of the normal USAWA member. I miss our weekly email correspondence – Dale always had ideas on how to better our organization.
We all know Dale has been the perennial winner of the Courage Award since the program started. His persistence to continue competition despite battling physical hardships and barriers were like nothing I’ve ever seen before, of which I’ve covered in details in previous stories. Last year at Nationals in Vegas Dale truly gave the grittiest effort on the platform I’ve witnessed. However, I was somewhat surprised to see Dale gather the most votes for this years Courage Award, considering he is no longer with us on the platform. This goes to show the respect Dale had from his lifting friends and those members of the USAWA to receive an award like this posthumously. I’ve said this before, but it would seem fitting that the Courage Award in the future take on the name “Dale Friesz Courage Award” as Dale has set “the bar” for deserving it.
Runner Up goes to Art Montini – Dale’s ole friend and competitor. Art continues to amaze everyone with his active meet participation at the age of 85! At Nationals Art visited with me about plans to attend the IAWA Worlds in England this fall. His enthusiasm for all round competition is more than most guys a QUARTER of his age!