Tag Archives: Chad Ullom

Team Champs History

by Al Myers

8 time USAWA Team Champions Chad Ullom and Al Myers performing a 430 pound Heels Together Clean and Press in the first USAWA Team Championships in 2007.

8 time USAWA Team Champions Chad Ullom and Al Myers performing a 430 pound Heels Together Clean and Press in the first USAWA Team Championships in 2007.

It is my goal this year to create a historical summary of all our Championship Events, which will be always easily available to view in our historical archive page section on the website.   I plan to do this around the time of each Championships.  Since the Team Championships is already “done and gone” it is time I get this one summarized!  I have promoted and hosted all of the USAWA Team Championships at the Dino Gym, with the first year being in 2007.  Hard to believe – but next year will be our 10th year for this annual Championship event.

The USAWA Team Championships started out as a very small competition.  Only ONE TEAM showed up the first year, and that was only because I talked Chad into being my teammate. Well, the next year didn’t get much better when Chad told me he couldn’t make it so I talked Joe Garcia into being my teammate.  Again, it was just one team.  Joe commented to Bill (which was published in the Strength Journal) that “it was really cozy laying so close to Al” during the Team Pullover and Press.  I would think the enjoyment of that experience would have motivated Joe to return to the Team Championships – but I haven’t seen him at this meet since!  It was at that time that I think Bill probably thought I should have “put a fork” into this Team Championships idea and kill it off – and I was having my doubts as well – but I forged on for another year.

In 2009, the Team Championships started to pick up momentum! Participation DOUBLED with 2 teams in attendance. Thanks to the JWC Graybeards for showing up it finally made for a real competition – a ONE ON ONE DUEL. Thom and John vowed a rematch with Chad and me – but again they have not been seen at the Team Championships since.

2010 brought another increase in attendance!  For the first time there was a 70 age plus team competing (Rudy Bletscher and Mike Murdock).  This comp also marked the first time a Team Trap Bar Deadlift was done – which I made specifically for this event. 2012 was a memorable year because it was the first time a Mixed Pair (man and woman) team entered with Doug and Jera Kressly.  At this event the participation was up to 4 teams.  2013 was even better with all 3 divisions represented.  Ruth Jackson and Molly Myers entered the first ever 2-Women Team that year.  The BEST YEAR for attendance was THIS YEAR, 2015, with 6 teams entered.  There were 3 2-Man Teams and 3 Mixed Pair Teams.  This made for a great competitive event.

It has taken about 10 years – but finally I feel this is one of the best attended events in the USAWA.  I’m glad I didn’t “throw in the towel” back in 2008!




2015-August 30th

Al Myers & Chad Ullom

>60: LaVerne Myers & Dean Ross

none Jera & Doug Kressly
2014-August 24th

Al Myers & Chad Ullom

>60: Laverne Myers & Dean Ross

none none
2013-August 17th

Al Myers & Chad Ullom

>60: Denny Habecker & Art Montini

Ruth Jackson & Molly Myers Jera Kressly & Logan Kressly
2012-August 11th

Al Myers & Chad Ullom

>60: LaVerne Myers & Dean Ross

none Jera & Doug Kressly
2011-August 27th

Al Myers & Chad Ullom

>60: Mike Murdock & Rudy Bletscher

none none
2010-August 10th

Al Myers & Chad Ullom

>60: Mike Murdock & Rudy Bletscher

none none
2009-September 20th Al Myers & Chad Ullom none none
2008-September 20th Al Myers & Joe Garcia none none
2007-September 8th Al Myers & Chad Ullom none none

*This table will be maintained and updated in the History Section page on the website.

The Dreaded “Participation” Award

by Thom Van Vleck

Every so often I have this same conversation with Al Myers and Chad Ullom.  Since Al and I are pretty conservative and Chad went to the University of Kansas (the liberal bastion of the midwest) Chad likes to make fun of the fact that Al and I give out participation awards.  The way Chad sees it is that as conservative guys we should believe in “you get what you earn” and that “only winners get awards”.   This goes all the way to how they don’t keep scores in youth sports then everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season.  “Everyone is a winner” mentality that some think is leading to the downfall of America.

Now I’m picking on Chad a bit.  He’s not really that liberal…at least for a guy that went to KU!  But I think he does see it as contradictory that Al and I would believe in the idea you get what you earn then turn around and hand out awards to everyone.  The reality is I DON’T HAND OUT AWARDS TO EVERYONE! I never will!  You do get what you earn.  I also believe in keeping score, winners AND losers, and competition is healthy in all aspects of life.

So how do I believe in all those things and hand out awards to seemingly everyone that comes to my meets?  Here’s how I look at it.  When I went to boot camp we started with over 80 in my platoon.  We ended up graduating 66.  We lost almost 20 guys!  They got booted out along the way.  Some flat out quit, some got booted for not being good enough, I know blew out his knee and was saying he might not recover enough to come back.  In the end those that completed the task won the prize:  The honor of being called a United States Marine!

We also had a “Top Marine” award.  The award went to the guy that did the best.  We had a guy Levier.  He was the “Honorman” and his award was a meritorious promotion to Lance Corporal, a plaque, and a set of dress blues.  At that time you didn’t get dress blues out of bootcamp.  You had to buy your own unless you were assigned to a position where wearing the dress blues was part of your job, like and embassy guard.  So it was a pretty nice award.

The point is you had the “Overall” winner who was number one getting the top prize.  Then you had those that passed the test.  They had worked hard and accomplished what others didn’t dare to do or were unable to do for whatever reason.  They were all awarded the title of “Marine”.  I guess that’s how I feel about those that do what others won’t.  They go to the gym, work hard, then have the guts to sign the dotted line and then show up and put it all out there for everyone to see.  I would never give an award to someone who didn’t show up (and yes, I had someone ask for an award that didn’t show…..seemed to think his entry fee entitled him).  I also only give out ONE award that says “First Place” on it.  You better earn it by beating someone.  A few years back I had only one person show up for a class.  They wanted the first place award I had already made for that group…..NO WAY.  Sorry, but you didn’t win because you didn’t beat anyone. So make fun of me if you want.  I will continue to award those that choose to succeed.

Now, I’m going to take this one step further.  I think we have become a nation so obsessed with winning and being number one being the only acceptable outcome we are becoming a nation of drop outs or “never even tried’s”. I recently talked to someone who runs the amateur and pro strongman meets in the USA.  She told me that the number of women competitors has quadrupled in the past few years and she thinks eventually there will be more women than men competing in Strongman.  What are we going to do when that happens?  Change the name to “Strongwoman”?

The reason she gave is one I think is completely true.  She said that guys come in and if they can’t win, they won’t try.  They also fear embarrassment and if there’s one event that will make them look bad they won’t try.  The women, on the other hand, are ready, willing and able to risk failure for the chance at success.  They haven’t been indoctrinated to believe that winning is the only thing in live.  Personal success is their focus.  They check their ego’s at the door.

So, there you have it.  I hand out awards to everyone that completes the task.  You win when you work hard and finish the game regardless of who else showed up and how they did that particular day.    I have a lot of admiration for the guy that sets several Personal Bests over the guy that “mails it in” and wins.  So,  the only participation awards I hand out are those that participated in being successful.

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.

Are you feeling Slunk?

by Thom Van Vleck

Slunk [sluhngk]


1.  Being in a temporary state where one’s mental and physical abilities are impaired by a lack of sleep achieving a similar state to being drunk.

Every year there are new words added to the dictionary. This past year words like “Crap Shoot” and “Demonizing” were added among several HUNDRED others.  While the unabridged dictionary just keeps adding new words the concise versions have to trim words to keep balanced.  Recent words removed included “Video Jockey” and “Cassette Player”.  Some words once commonly used are rarely used and there are words that have been commonly used that are still not in the dictionary at all.  They all have something in common and that is someone, somewhere, had to make up a word to describe a feeling or situation.  That word either caught on or disappeared from our lexicon.

For years my Mom has made up words when her vocabulary has been lacking.  This has been amusing to me and my brother.  One of her words is “Befaffeldated” that means she was very confused and surprised.  I assume she meant befuddled and exasperated then kind of slammed these words together.  She has also used a word I’ve learned is being considered for the Oxford dictionary but didn’t quite make the cut…..yet.  That word is  “Slickery” and means that there are slippery conditions outside.   Again, I think she slammed “Slick” and “Slippery” together and I thought for a long time it was just another one her made up words.  Maybe she invented that word and now it has spread across the English speaking world and my achieve “real” word status by being included in the dictionary like other great made up words such as “Humongous” or “Ginormous”.  (Yes….ginormous is a word….it passed spell check so it must be a real word).

So, what does this have to do with “Slunk”.  Recently I traveled to Scotland to participate in the Masters World Championships of Highland Games.  Chad Ullom and Jackson Weightlifting Club members Bill Leffler and Jim Spalding were along.  If you’ve ever traveled internationally you may have experienced jet lag.  You also end up with these epically long travel times.  Chad told me that when he and Al Myers traveled to the IAWA World’s a couple years back they spent 40 hours on the road!  They got back Sunday night and Chad had to go to work Monday morning.  He said he was so exhausted that he couldn’t function….or was he “Slunk”?  So sleepy he felt drunk!

On my  recent trip to Scotland I had trouble sleeping on the overnight flight and ended up having marginal sleep for many hours and I jokingly said to Chad that I was “Slunk”.  We were all so tired we wondered if we should even be driving and kept taking turns as we caught naps.  I got to thinking and there have been many times I have been “Slunk”.  When I was in the Marines I was on a schedule where I would work two day shifts the first two days, then two 11-7 shifts the next two days, followed by two afternoon shifts the following two days.  I would then get 80 hours off and repeat.  I often stayed up between the two day intervals and became very sleep deprived.  I once fell into such a deep sleep afterwards that they almost called an ambulance when I wouldn’t wake up!

So, I’m going to try and go viral with this new term to describe that state of being so sleepy that you feel drunk….or Slunk!  It’s real, and we need a word to describe it so why not this word.  Sure, I’m in it for some personal glory, too.  I won’t lie.  If this word makes it I’ll probably cut the page out of a dictionary and hang it on my office wall and then gloat to all my friends saying, “I made that up”.

Do you still need to be sold on it?  Well, think of all the great ways it can be modified to describe things that we currently just can’t describe with one word.  So, if you are so sleepy you feel drunk you are simply “Slunk”.  If someone does this often, then you could call them a “Slunkard”.  If you plan on doing it then you can say you are going to be “Slunking” or maybe you are going to get “slanked”.  If you did it the day before you can say you were “slunked” yesterday.  I haven’t figure out “Slinking”…..maybe it’s the time leading up to getting “Slunked”. I haven’t worked out all these details yet….I’m an idea man not a detail guy.

Okay, so you have a new word!  The revolution begins.  Make me a superstar in the world of Etymology!  Start using “Slunk” every chance you get and, please remember….don’t slink and drive!  Now, if you excuse me….it’s my nap time.  I don’t want to end up a “Slunkard”.

All Round Mountaineering

by Thom Van Vleck

Chad atop the mountain!

After the recent Highland Games Masters World Championships Chad Ullom joined me on a “Mountaineering” expedition.  Last time I made a pretty epic climb but this time we took it a little easier after such a tough, three day competition. It is my opinion that a true “all rounder” should be in shape to do pretty much whatever he wants.  I enjoy hiking and hill climbing.

We had rented a house that overlooked Loch Ness.  Honestly, it was the best place I’ve ever stayed.  About as stereotypical Scotland as you could get and the views were spectacular.  While we were up above the Loch we were far from the top and that became Chad and I’s goal.  We heard you could see for 50 miles in every direction.  We set out up a road that met a trail.  The trail was was through woods and fairly steep.  We reached a logging road and after some discussion picked a route.  As we got above the tree line we were in fields covered with heather and rocks.

We were hoping for good weather as the view promised to be spectacular….but a heavy fog (or maybe it was clouds!) rolled in.  I’m glad we took layers as the wind picked up and it was very damp.  While the long distance view was ruined, it was still pretty interesting to pick you way down a trail in that heavy fog.  If you didn’t pay attention you could get easily turned around.

Thom Van Vleck at the top.

We ended up hiking down the other side and picking our way through several trails in the Abraichian Forest.  We ran across deep woods, unusual mushrooms as big as dinner plates and some bright red and some orange.  We saw an illicit Whiskey still reproduction (the Scottish version of a moonshine still).  There were glacial tills filled with rocks and we even saw some Scottish Red Deer.

As always, I had a bit of a side mission as well.  In 1971 my mother gave me my first bible.  Then for Christmas in 1978 by grandfather Dalton (Jackson Weightlifting Club founder) gave me a bible.  They were both small versions but have meant a lot to me because they are symbolic of the Christian principles I was taught and have come to embrace.  I know Christ is my savior and I’m a better man for it.  So, I brought those bibles along and laid them out at the top of the peak.

Two Bibles given to me by my mother and grandfather setting at the top of the mountain.

I can’t believe I’ve been to Scotland three times….and I can’t say I won’t again.  I’m sure there are many beautiful places in the world but there is so much I haven’t seen there and it’s a “sure thing” I’ll like it versus and unknown place.  Plus, the family history connection and the highland games are hard to beat.  I’ve already got a “next mountain” planned when I make it back.

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