Tag Archives: Dinnie Stones

Interview with Chad Ullom

by Al Myers

The start of the Dinnie Walk, one of the events in the World Stone Challenge.

Al: Recently you participated in the World Stone Championships in Scotland. Could you tell me how you got invited to this prestigious event? Please feel free to share any other details of the event.

Chad:  Well, Francis Brebner has been planning on doing this type of challenge for many years, but circumstances caused it to fall through.  He didn’t tell me this, but I believe after the controversy involving the Dinnie stones last year, he decided that this was going to be the year to pull it off.  Given the success in lifting the stones that Al Myers, Mark Haydock and I had last year, he extended an invitation to all of us to come over and compete in this challenge.  I made it clear to Francis that I am NOT a stonelifter!  I had success with the Dinnies because I have a good hook grip and a strong enough back.  After the support he showed us on the Milo forum and in writing the Milo article, I wanted to go and support the event.  Not to mention, it involved a trip to Scotland!

Inver Stone

Al:   What were the events, and how did you do?

Chad: We started off with the Dinnie stone carry for distance.  We were allowed to use straps since the farthest walks on record were done with straps.  This caused even more of a dust up after we were done!  Now, I have rarely lifted with straps so I made a big mistake!  I didn’t wrap my right strap all the way around and after two feet my strap broke!  I was going to try again, but someone shut us down early (that is another story!).   The two feet got met 4th place, Mark finished 2nd with 9 (I need to check that) and a big Hungarian named Peter Putzer   walked 18’4”!  Going over the 5 yard mark that was our target!  It was very impressive to watch!

We then did the bare handed walk with the smaller Dinnie stone.   Mark took 1st in this event with 30ft, and I came in 3rd with 21. 

Next it was on to the Inver stone.  We were given 75 seconds to lift it as many times as we could with 1 points awarded for lapping it, 2 for bringing it to the chest and 5 for an overhead press.  I was able to bring it to my chest 4 times which again placed me 4th

Next was the inverstone carry.   I went 1st here and made a big mistake!  I brought it to my chest and squeezed, cutting off my breath so I only went 37 feet and finished 5th here.

On the final day,  we threw a 98 pound stone that the Portland stone was designed after.  This one turned out to be my best event and with some advice from Ryan Vierra, I took 2nd place with a throw of 12’2.   

Mark ended up tied for 1st, but lost on count back to Istvan Sarai.  Overall, I finished 5th, but it was a lot of fun and I was honored to participate! 

The one handed Dinnie Stone Walk.

Al:  I seen that you lifted the Inver Stone, something that you couldn’t do on the stone tour following the Gold Cup.  I bet this was exciting for you.  Could you share the details of that accomplishment?

Chad:  That was very important to me.  As I’ve said, I’m not a stone lifter, but this was something I really wanted to do.  I was disappointed after the gold cup that I wasn’t able to lift the inver, but I was totally focused on the Dinnies!  Well, before we got there, I felt the butterflies.  After all, this was being filmed and I didn’t want to fail!  I went over to warm up , I grabbed it and it came off the ground very easily!  I had some issues with balance during  the comp, but I was happy to bring it to my chest 4 times.

Hans Darrow hosted a good ole fashioned BBQ on our first night in Germany, and he welcomed us right into his home.

 Al:  I know after this Stone Championships, you went to Berlin, Germany to participate in the IHGF World Amateur Highland Game Championships.  How did that go, and what were the highlights of competing against the International Highland Gamers?

Chad:  That was a very humbling experience!  Hans Darrow and his family treated us like one of their own.  I’m happy to say that the international throwers are a great group of guys and I made some new friends!  I finished in 10th place out of 14, I was happy with how I threw.  I threw pretty close to seasons best in each event, nothing great, but I didn’t bomb anything either.  The highlight for me was definitely caber.  Going in, I wanted to surprise some people with the caber.  I ended up placing 3rd here and was very happy with that.  It was a tough stick, only 5 got a turn I believe.  I’m happy to say that I was able to turn it all 3 times. 

Setting up for the Weight for Height.

Al:  I know there has to be at least one interesting story you would like to share with us from this trip.  I don’t expect for you to share the ones you told me privately about Hamish Davidson, but I’m sure there has to be one that is fit to tell here! 

Chad:  That’s a tough one, LOL.  The best stories aren’t mine to tell, but I can tell you Francis Brebner had me in tears for days after!  So the best story that is PG would be after the bar closed down!  Several of us decided to go out and celebrate.  We started at the field watching the fire show drinking beer, diesel(beer & cola mixed 1:1), and a few shots.  After a stop at a regular bar we moved to a dance club.  Had a great time,  and closed it down!  A few of us decided to walk back to the hotel, a few others took a cab to another bar.  So, 3am in Germany and everyone I was with spoke only broken English!  We weren’t 100% sure where we were so one of the guys stepped away to call a cab and left me with his brother.  Well, we waited….and waited…finally his brother laid down on the sidewalk and passed out! After a half hour, I woke him up and said we have to try to find our way!  We disagreed on where to go, but I finally convinced him to head my way.  Turns out, we were like 3 blocks from the hotel!   We must been out there a half hour!  The best part is we found his brother drinking in the hotel bar!  

Hammer Throw

Al:  What can you tell me about the organizers of these events?             

Chad:Francis Brebner and Ryan Viera make up the IHGF(international highland games federation).  I’m not sure how many countries they went through on this trip, but they are working very hard to expand highland games across the world!  I would say they are having great success, the games in Germany had 14 athletes representing 11 countries!  I believe it was the most countries in an international highland game.  They are taking some heat for reasons I don’t understand in some circles.  I can tell you after spending a week with these two, they are doing this for  the love of the sport!  They have a wealth of knowledge and a true passion for the games.  They also drug test at each of their games which makes them fit right in to our way of thinking!  I wish these men great success in what they’re doing. 

Group picture at the Highland Game Championships.

Al:  Thank you for taking the time to do this short interview.  The USAWA is very proud of you and these great accomplishments! 

Chad:  Thank you Al!

OTSM Championships

by Thom Van Vleck


Third Annual Old Time Strongman Championships

Chad Ullom with a successful unassisted lift with the Dinnie Stones. An OTSM Championship lift for this year!

A date has been set for the OTSM.  December 7th!  So mark your calendars! Here are the details to date:

Date: 12/7/2013

Time: 10:00am weigh in begins, warm ups with a start time of noon.

Place: Kirksville, Missouri (exact location TBD)

Events: Anderson Squat, Anderson Press, Dinnie Lift (order will depend if we have to split into flights)

Entry Fee: $25

I wanted to have a three lift meet with a squat type lift, a press type lift, and a pull type lift.  Also, all the lifts are current OTSM official lifts. Winners will be determine by weight class and age and an overall best male and female lifter will be determined using weight and age formulas.    Lifters will get a JWC club t-shirt, anvil trophy for winners, refreshments, and certificates with meet results for everyone.

Entry Information:  Send your name, entry fee and shirt size to:

Thom Van Vleck
23958 Morgan Road
GreenTop, MO 63546

ENTRY FORM (PDF):  2013 OTSM Championships Entry Form

David Webster & the Dinnie Stones

by Al Myers

I was able to catch up with David Webster again (I've met him many times at prior Highland Games) at the 2013 Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Pictured left to right: Al Myers, David Webster, & Chad Ullom

If it wasn’t for David Webster, the stone lifting World might never have heard of the Dinnie Stones. David Webster  is the man who made the presence of the Dinnie Stones well known.  Without this, all the recent notoriety the Dinnie Stones have received would have never happened.  These famous lifting stones might be laying obscure at the bottom of the river bed in the River Dee instead. Today I would like to share some previous published information about David Webster’s and his tie to the Dinnie Stone’s legacy.

From the book “The Super Athletes” by David Willoughby:

Here is an example of how strong Dinnie was is a simple feat of lifting and carrying.  This information was kindly furnished to me by David Webster of Glasgow, a famous strand-pulling expert and an authority on Donald Dinnie.  Outside the hotel in Potarch, Scotland, are two large and heavy boulders which used to be used in tethering horses (while their masters went into the hotel to refresh themselves). One of the boulders weighs 340 pounds and the other 445.  In the top of each weight is fastened a ring made of 1/2-inch round iron and just large enough to grip with one hand.  The story is that Dinnie’s father was able to lift the 445 pound stone onto a wall 3 1/2 feet high and that Dinnie himself carried both stones (one in front of him and the other behind) a distance of five or six yards.

Another great resource on Donald Dinnie and the Dinnie Stones is David Webster’s and Gordon Dinnie’s  book, “Donald Dinnie – The First Sporting Superstar”. This book is a MUST for anyone who has interest in the Dinnie Stones or stone lifting in general (YES – that’s a plug for the book!).  This is a short piece from the  book, which is written in such manner as to reflect Donald Dinnie’s own account.

In the Deeside district there are many stories told of his extraordinary feats. Just let me tell you one.

On the granite stone bridge that crosses the River Dee at Potarch there were, and still are, two large stones weighing about 8 cwt the pair, placed in a recess.  In the early 1830’s massive iron rings were placed in them, to which ropes were fixed so that scaffolds could be attached for pointing the bridge.  Now, one of those stones was somewhat heavier than the other. Very few strong men of that day could lift the heavy one with both hands, but my father could raise one in each hand with apparent ease, and could throw the heavier stone of the two on to the top of a parapet wall of the bridge.

On one occasion, I have been told, he took one stone in each hand and carried them both to the end of the bridge and back – a distance of 100 yards.  This achievement has been pronounced the greatest feat of strength ever performed in Scotland.

Those stones are still on the bridge and I myself lifted  one in each hand on many occasions and one market day, I carried them across the bridge and back, some four to five yards.  I did not, however, attempt to go to the end of the bridge, as my father had done.

If you want more information than THAT from the book, you should buy it!  I consider both of these literary accounts as the basis of the history and legend of the Dinnie Stones, which David Webster is a big part of.  You can read lots of speculations and opinions from those posting on the internet on how Donald Dinnie intended the Dinnie Stones to be lifted, whether Donald Dinnie actually carried both stones at the same time unassisted across the bridge,  and so on.  All of that is just talk and is meaningless, as I have not been aware of any ACTUAL PROOF of the feats of Donald Dinnie in regard to the Dinnie Stones.  That only actual support to the Dinnie Stone stories are the written accounts passed down in history, like the two above.

I chose to believe the above words of David Webster because I WANT to believe in the legend of Donald Dinnie and the Dinnie Stones . Let the Dinnie Stone legacy continue to  live!

Dino Gym Challenge REMINDER

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym has been issued a challenge from the Hoghton Barbell Club. Pictured left to right in front of the Dinnie Stones: Josh Haydock, Mark Haydock, Alex Rigbye

The Annual Dino Gym Challenge is now only ONE WEEK away.  I have received several commitments from lifters that plan to compete.  It is looking to be a well-attended meet.  I’m hoping for 15-20 lifters – and I think I might get that many.  The entry form is available on the website, and I’m still taking entries so it is NOT too late to attend!

A new twist has been recently added to this year’s Dino Gym Challenge.  Mark Haydock, of the Hoghton Barbell Club in Preston, England has issued the Dino Gym a “head-to-head” Challenge.  Of course I accepted!!!  We even put up “stakes” for the challenge.  The loser will have to “pay up” gym shirts to the winner.    His club has three members who are going to participate – Mark, Josh Haydock, and Alex Rigbye.   They plan to do the same lifts as us on the same day so the results will be known that same day.  This means that the “top three” placing Dino Gym members of the day will be entered in this challenge against our English counterparts.  All adjusted scores will be added together from the three participants from each club to form a final total team score.  So I’m expecting BIG THINGS out of the Dino Gym members on this one – so come ready to put up BIG LIFTS!!  Mark Haydock is promoting the IAWA World Championships next fall and I don’t want to have to be showing up with my “tail between my legs” paying up the losing bet!!!

If weather permits there may be a shooting contest immediately following the meet for anyone who is interested. I’m thinking of having four different competition categories.

1. 25 target trap shoot
2. 10 shot small bore (.223 and below)- 100 and 200 yards
3. 10 shot large bore (above .233)- 100 and 200 yards
4. 10 shot handgun 10 yards & 25 yards

You can enter one, a couple, or all of these categories depending on what gun/guns you bring. Let me know if anyone is interested in this. This way the Dino Challenge will cover two of my favorite interests – shooting and lifting!!!   I’ll provide the targets but you provide the gun/ammo for which category you plan to enter.   Handguns will be shot free hand, while rifles will be shot from a shooting bench.  Bipods will be allowed.

I am in the process of having some really special awards made for this year’s meet.  I really hope that they will be done in time.  How many times have you went to a meet with NO ENTRY FEE and received an award?   Not many I would guess – but this is the yearly Club Meet that I promote and I like to give back to our club’s membership, so I think it is only the right thing to do. I should also mention that this is a “functioning award” that I know many will like, especially guys like Dan Wagman.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone next Saturday!!!

Kevin Fulton & Dinnie Stones

by Al Myers

Group picture from Dinnie Stone Trip 2001.

I always like to find good pictures that supplement the history of the USAWA and the IAWA.  Recently Kevin Fulton shared this group picture with me from the day in 2001 when he lifted the Dinnie Stones in Scotland.  As most know by now, Kevin was the second American to lift both stones at the same time without the use of lifting straps.  He was 41 years old at the time. 

I can name a few lifters in this picture but I need help in identifying everyone.  If you know any of these individuals, please email me or post the names in the discussion forum and I will add it to this story.

UPDATE:  Andy Tomlin has provided some help in identifying the lifters in this picture.  There is still one lifter unidentified – so if anyone knows him please let me know!

FRONT ROW LEFT TO RIGHT:  John Monk (USA), Bill Wright (SCT)

BACK ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Keith Murdie (ENG), Sam Hills (ENG), Dennis Mitchell (USA), Art Montini (USA), ????, Des Fenton (SCT), Andy Tomlin (SCT), Steve Angell (ENG), Neil Abery (ENG), Mike Archer (ENG), Kevin Fulton (USA)

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