Tag Archives: Bill Cookson

Delaware Valley Postal

by Al Myers




Bill Cookson, of the Dino Gym, won the Delaware Valley Postal Meet following his return to the gym from being overseas fulfilling his military obligations.

I just received the results of the Delaware Valley Postal Meet  from John Wilmot,  which is one of the four quarterly postal meets that are part of the USAWA Postal Series.  The number of competitors was slightly down, probably due to the other All-Round competitions that were occurring at the end of September, but the quality of lifting was high.  Bill Cookson made his comeback to the USAWA after being gone overseas on military duty by edging out Randy Smith.   It came down to ONE POINT!!  That is as close as it gets.  Helen Kahn competed in her first USAWA event, and was the top woman lifter.


Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet
September 1-30, 2010

Meet Director:  John Wilmot

Lifts:  Bench Press – Reverse Grip, Squat – Front, and Continental to Chest

Lifters using a certified USAWA Official:
Helen Kahn – official Randy Smith
Bill Cookson – official Mark Mitchell
Kohl Hess – offiicial Denny Habecker
Andrew Hess – official Denny Habecker

Lifters using a non-certified official:
Randy Smith – official Helen Kahn
Denny Habecker – official Kohl Hess
John Wilmot – official Kay Wilmot

Women’s Division

Lifter Age BWT CLS Bench Squat Cont Total Points
Helen Kahn 58 156 75 65 75 80 220 271.6

Men’s Division

Lifter Age BWT CLS Bench Squat Cont Total Points
Bill Cookson 45 212 100 280 286 220 786 720.8
Randy Smith 55 195.5 90 195 255 235 685 719.1
John Wilmot 63 215 100 150 180 155 485 516.2
Denny Habecker 67 185 85 165 110 132 407 486.8
Kohl Hess 16 300 125+ 165 242 198 606 484.1
Andrew Hess 46 310 125+ 176 176 176 529 405.1

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  CLS is bodyweight class in kilograms.  Total is total pounds lifted.  Points are adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

Bill Cookson – A Lifting Hero

by Al Myers

Bill Cookson and his 185 kilogram (407.7#) Zercher Lift at the 2003 IAWA International Postal Meet. Bill placed first in the Open 110 kg class and 3rd Best Lifter Overall in the Open Division.

Tomorrow in the USAWA Daily News there will be a story by a lifter who exemplifies courage, commitment and honor. That lifter is Bill Cookson.  I felt an introduction was in order before tomorrow’s story – because Bill is one of the most modest people I have ever met and he would not “brag” about his lifting accomplishments (so I’ll do it for him!).  I also want everyone to know his importance to the Dino Gym and to the USAWA.

Bill is currently in Egypt, as part of the Army National Guard, on a World peace keeping mission.  I asked Bill to share how his training was going in this challenging environment – which will be covered in tomorrow’s story.  Bill is one of the founding members of the Dino Gym. Bill and I have trained together off and on for over 20 years, and competed in many powerlifting and All-Round meets together. Bill is a fierce competitor, and always is looking for new challenges in life.  When he told me about his plans to re-enlist in the Army National Guard (after a 13 year break in service) a couple of years ago, I was not really surprised. It takes a special kind of man to make this change in life when already settled down with a family, and Bill is that kind of man.

Bill has competed several times in my Annual Dino Gym Challenge, the IAWA World Postal Meets and record days at the gym.  He currently holds over 20 USAWA records with lifts such as these:  380# Steinborn Lift, 355# Pullover and Push, 227# Index Fingers Deadlift, 540# Heels Together Deadlift, 352# 12″ Base Squat, and 340# Alternate Grip Bench Press.  I should mention that Bill is very much against lifting gear – and often even does big lifts like these WITHOUT a lifting belt.  His best powerlifting marks are 534# Squat, 380# Bench Press, and 606# Deadlift.   Again these were done without lifting equipment.

The Dino Gym is very proud of Bill Cookson – and looks forward to his return to the gym so we can train together once again.  I am sure you will enjoy his story  – it shows that you can still be an All-Round Weightlifter no matter what training obstacles or life circumstances stand in your way.

All-Round Weightlifting in Egypt

by Bill Cookson

Picture left to right: Major General Ludvigsen, First Lieutenant Kevin Farrell, SSG Jared Allen, and Bill "Doc" Cookson

My newest military journey started in December of 2007 and after prayer and consideration with my family I swore an oath to God and Country on January 24, 2008 and was again a proud member of The Kansas Army National Guard at the tender age of 43. During training in Ft. Riley about 60 days later I learned our Battalion would be deployed to Egypt. The mission here is a peace keeping mission between Egypt and Israel started by President Jimmy Carter and employs several different militaries from around the world to operate it. You can learn more at mfo.org.

I had some work to do before getting back in. At 5’9” I weighed around 240. The Army’s max weight for my height and age is 186 lbs. Fortunately the Army recognizes that we’re all built different and therefore has a body fat calculation test. We call it the tape test. I was too thick in the middle so I worked my way down to 222 with lots of stair running at the hospital parking garage, made tape, and passed my over 40 physical. Why is it that the skinniest doctors have fingers as big as bananas? The older guys can explain that one to the younger generation. Anyhow I got the green light and started again.

Bill training One Arm Dumbbell Bench Presses in Egypt.

I joined Charlie Battery out of Abilene and became a member of the Fire Direction Center for Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. In January 2009 my Operations Sergeant told me we needed a Medic for the deployment and asked if I was interested. So I went to school and became a medic. I continued to work full time for our unit when I returned from medic school. So I’ve been active duty since January 2009. Training balance is tough to manage. I’ve been back in the Guard for a little over 2 years and have had to modify the way I train. Fitness training for the Army and maximum strength training do not go hand in hand, so you sacrifice a little of each to be better in both. However weight training is and always will be a staple in any program I use. The iron always pays great wages for the toil the lifter endures. That’s a fact not an opinion.

This journey started back at the end of June when we had 3 weeks of pre-mobilization training at Salina. Most of it was combat occupation oriented. We left for Ft. Lewis, WA on 23 July for mission specific training. At Ft. Lewis we had shots, health screenings, and death by PowerPoint because we had more briefings than we care to remember. We were quartered at North Ft. Lewis which is where the old fort is situated. The post there is mostly WWII vintage but is all still fully functional. They really need new beds though. I thought my back was broke a couple of times. They have a real nice fitness center though with plenty of weight and a couple of power racks. The worst thing is those silly octagon plates. They aren’t deadlifter friendly. We moved to the neighboring McChord Air Force Base on 9 September where we were welcomed by the USO and some staff well wishers before our departure. I really appreciated the Chaplain. He shared Eph. 5:15-16 with us. He cautioned us to walk circumspectly for the days are evil. In other words, be careful and watchful because there are things and people around that can cause us harm. We boarded a DC-10, and flew from there straight to Bangor, Maine refueled then to Shannon Ireland refueled then on to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

A remote training facility in Egypt

The people who drive here make aggressive drivers back home look like school girls. There’s no traffic enforcement here like at home either, really frustrating for an old cop. Driving is the most dangerous activity here. The locals are like kamikaze pilots on the road.

With this mission being in effect for about 30 years there are decent accommodations here at our main camp with a fully functional training facility known as, “Herbs Gym”. Herb is a local gentleman that adopted the MFO (Multi National Force and Observers) and it adopted him. He welcomed every new rotation of soldiers coming here prior to our arrival. He was forced to retire before we arrived. The beach where we do combat water survival training is also named after Herb.

Bill training the deadlift with 550 pounds at Herb's Gym.

We rotate out to remote sites and they have a gym as well. It’s a pole shed with weights, benches, a rack, stationary bike, and concept 2 rower. Inside the fence of the sites is usually a makeshift running track which is basically a dirt road we run on. Nothing is state of the art, except those old rusty York plates we have at the remote site I’m deadlifting in the picture. They have those silly octagon plates here at Herbs gym. I generally train 6 days per week with two days devoted to weight training, two days of conditioning which usually consists of 1 or 2 dumbbell movements like swings, snatches or C&P and bodyweight work such as burpees, mountain climbers, rope skipping, pull-ups, push-ups, and dips. The other two days are usually just aerobic. I usually do something other than running. I like to run but my knees don’t agree.

After damaging my rotator cuff benching for the Andy Goddard memorial I have to concentrate on rehab so I can get back to it. In the meantime I’m relegated to lots of aerobics. We’ll see what the Physical Therapist says. Until then I wish all the membership well in life and lifting.

God Bless.

Bill Cookson