by Al Myers and Lance Foster
Most everyone in the USAWA knows or has heard of Al Springs from Dearborn, Missouri. Al is an eccentric ole’ all rounder, who has been involved with the USAWA for many, many years and has a great passion for weightlifting and anything “all round” in nature. He is reminiscent of the OLD TIME STRONGMEN of the turn of the previous century in his mindset, and takes on strength challenges that others might pass on. He is still a very active USAWA member at over 70 years of age. He competes a few times every year in our organization and even competed on the WORLD STAGE of IAWA this past October at the IAWA World Championships in Salina, Kansas. He won his age and weight class, earning him the right to call himself a World Champion.
I always enjoy my conversations with Al. We talk on the phone every couple of months, and when he calls I answer “this is Al”, and he responds, “this is Al” as well. I know immediately who I am talking to. Recently Lance Foster shared this very interesting picture of Al Springs performing, what he calls, his Tractor Lift. Lance was able to get Al to share his story on his Tractor Lift and this is what Al said:
“Normal H Farmall tractors weigh about 6000 lbs which was too much for lifting, but long enough for what I wanted to transfer into a strongman project, actually a vision of my art to lift. After the transfer the tractor weighs about 3000 lbs. I made the harness belt also. The chains hooked to the tractor’s frame was 200 lbs. While the tractor was in the barn, I would do reps with it. I moved it outside for my daughter to take pictures. My wife Deanna judged the lift. As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has lifted a tractor that big. I’ve heard that Paul Anderson lifted a car.”
All I can say is this – THAT’S AN IMPRESSIVE HARNESS LIFT! Harness lifting was a common strength feat done by Old Time Strongmen as large amounts of weight can be lifted this way. It was also common for Old Time Strongmen to perform their Harness Lifting on an elevated platform, with the weights below. This gives a specacular view of the effort and the success of the lift. Guys like Al Springs represent the roots of All Round Weightlifting and the Old Time Strongman connection, and he is the perfect example of someone who supports the mission statement of the USAWA.
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE USAWA
The USAWA was formed to continue the long standing tradition of old-time weightlifters like Eugen Sandow, Louis Cyr, Arthur Saxon, Hermann Goerner, Warren Lincoln Travis, and many others. We strive to preserve the history of the original forms of weightlifting, which in the past has been referred to as “odd lifting”. Many of the lifts we perform are based on stage acts or challenge lifts of old-time strongmen.