by Al Myers
Group picture from the 2012 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships: (front left to right) Roger LaPointe, Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Eric Todd, Scott Schmidt (Back) Dave Polzin
This past Saturday Roger LaPointe, of Atomic Athletic, hosted the 2012 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships. It was held in conjunction with his annual promotion, the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic. After last year’s Heavies in York, I didn’t know if that meet could be topped, but after attending Roger’s event I think it was! The combination of the championships and the picnic were a perfect fit – it led to a festive environment along with many spectators. Roger did an EXCELLENT JOB of bringing everything together to celebrate a day of strength. Along with the Championships, there were several strength shows by other strongmen going on. All of this was topped off with a big meal for everyone in attendance. I won’t say anymore about the picnic activities as I will leave that story for Roger to tell later.
Myself (left) and Roger LaPointe (right). Roger did an outstanding job of promoting the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships!
The meet itself was well attended for a Heavy Lift Championships. All together 7 lifters entered – a mixture of heavy lift veterans and a couple of new lifters to the “chain lifts”. This meet doesn’t appeal to all lifters, and generally the Heavy Lift Champs doesn’t get more entries than this, so I was very pleased with the turnout. It ended up “being a battle” between Eric Todd and myself for the overall champion. It came down to the last event, the Hip Lift, to decide the day’s champion. I was in order before ET, so I pushed myself and got a 2000# Hip Lift to put a little pressure on him. He responded well, and put up with a personal record Hip Lift of 2075# to edge me out by only 3 adjusted points. I will have to do some research on this, but I’m guessing this is the closest finish for the overall lifter EVER in a Heavy Lift Championships. Eric was the one who “stole the show” of the day on the whole – he started off the meet with an overall ALL TIME USAWA & WORLD RECORD in the Neck Lift with an unbelievable lift of 905 pounds!!! His new record topped Chad Ullom’s 900 from last years Heavy Champs, which has now become the norm for being one of the best in the Neck Lift. It was a really impressive lift, and I expect will inspire Chad to lift even more. I fully expect one of these two lifters to be the first to break the “magic barrier” of 1000 pounds in the Neck Lift. It will happen. I was glad to see ET enter this big meet and win this championships. Most don’t know this, but ET has been competing in the USAWA longer than I have (by 6 months). He has never really traveled far to meets in the USAWA as he has been focused on his pro strongman career. He is a gifted all rounder and I kidded him he is still a youngster (at 37) in the USAWA and his best years are still ahead of him.
Dennis Mitchell giving an interview to the local TV station.
On the other end of the spectrum is Dennis Mitchell. Dennis is now 80 years old and was the oldest lifter in this meet. For his age, Dennis is remarkable. Most guys his age would never take on lifts like the Heavy Lifts. Dennis is a “master” at these lifts, and constantly surprises me with his lifting. He told me last weekend that this month marks 69 years since he began lifting weights (that’s right, 69 years!!!!). Also, he has competed throughout this whole time. That is one long lifting career!!! I was glad to see Dennis get recognized by being interviewed by the local TV station.
Another lifting milestone was achieved this past weekend as well. Our USAWA President Denny Habecker told me that Saturday marked 50 years since his first lifting competition – to the day!!! I made sure to celebrate this occasion with Denny after the meet. Denny multi-tasked all day as a lifter and as the head official, as well as bringing the heavy bar and accessories for the meet. Many things happen in the USAWA only because of Denny!! He finished with a record lift in the Hip Lift at 944 pounds.
I was glad to see competing the two newcomers, wily veteran Olympic Lifter Dave Polzin, and the big talented young kid Thomas Casillas. Both have tremendous abilities, and with a little practice on the Heavy Lifts will be very good Heavy Lifters. Dave really impressed me after the meet when he did a 198# Clean and Press at the age of 62 for an age group record!!! Andrew Durniat made an appearance as well in one of the strongman shows. I hadn’t seen Andrew in a year, but immediately I could tell that he has added some muscular size since then. He did a 166# one arm snatch for a new record. This is one of the best one arm snatches of the year in the organization. Andrew’s strength in a lift like this shows that he is “way more” than just a grip lifter. I’m hoping that we will continue to see Andrew compete in the USAWA, as he is a great person as well as a superb lifter.
Athletic Atomic club member Dave Polzin performed a 198# Clean and Press at the age of 62!!!!
Another all -round lifter who was in attendance but did not compete was the Cleveland lifter John Kurtz. John trained under the legendary Howard Prechtel and obviously has a wealth of information. I enjoyed visiting with him throughout the day and getting to know him. His name is “littered” throughout our USAWA record list with impressive records, and it was nice to be able to “put a name with a face”. He has had some health issues of late, but he still looked like he was in lifting shape to me!!! I hope to see him get “back into action” in USAWA competition. The only person I have not mentioned yet is Scott Schmidt. I saved Scott for last because I want to make sure everyone knows how much he contributes to our organization. Scott is part of the 5-person executive board that governs the USAWA, and is very influential “behind the scenes”. He is always very helpful at meets, and one of the better officials in the organization. He put up a great lift of 1005# in the Hand and Thigh as well and placing third overall in this meet.
Heavy Lift Championships
Bowling Green, Ohio
May 12, 2012
Meet Director: Roger LaPointe
Lifts: Neck Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Harness Lift
Officials: Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, Scott Schmidt, Eric Todd, Al Myers
Announcer: Roger LaPointe
Scorekeeper: Al Myers
Loader: Jeff Rybek
NOTES: BWT is bodyweight in pounds. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are adjusted points for bodyweight correction and age allowance.
EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORDS:
Eric Todd Neck Lift: 905#
Denny Habecker Hand & Thigh Lift: 705#
Denny Habecker Hip Lift: 944#
Dennis Mitchell Hand & Thigh Lift: 450#
Dennis Mitchell Hip Lift: 625#
Thomas Casillas Hand and Thigh: 700#
Dave Polzin Clean and Press: 198#
Andrew Durniat Snatch – Left Arm: 166#
(33 years old, 230 lbs. BWT)