The Amazing Howard Prechtel

by Al Myers

One of Howard Prechtel's favorite lifts was the Hip Lift. This picture will forever grace the page for the rule of the Hip Lift in the USAWA Rule Book.

This week is a sad week amongst the USAWA – with the news of the death of Howard Prechtel.   I have invited the membership (especially those who knew Howard personally) to share some stories about Howard.  I think this is the best way to deal with the loss of one of the true pioneers of the USAWA – by sharing stories that reflect how Howard influenced our organization and us as individuals.

I will go first (and I’m expecting MANY MORE to follow). I have only been involved in the USAWA for 10 years, and have met Howard only a few times, but each visit was memorable.  When I became involved, Howard was winding down his days of active competition.  I will say this – Howard has made a big of impact in our organization!!  Besides being a great lifter (who often would do things other lifters would not even think of attempting), he was our leader.  Howard served as President of the USAWA from 1993 to 2007. That’s 14 years out of our 24 year history!!  Howard also served as President of the IAWA.  He promoted countless meets – including big meets like the 1994 USAWA National Championships and the 1995 World Championships in East Lake, Ohio.  Howard was the originator of the Gold Cup, and had the vision of developing this competition into a WORLD CLASS event that would allow lifters to “showcase” their best lifts in the spotlight of a prestigious World competition.   Howard was a “lifter’s lifter” as I’ve heard the many stories about him utilizing his ability and understanding  of anatomy and the human body  by “providing adjustments” on meet days to lots of lifters, which undoubtedly helped many lifters achieve the lifts they wanted that day.  Everyone liked Howard.  I have corresponded with Howard though letters and he ALWAYS answered the questions I had.  One of Howard’s favorite lifts was the Travis Lift.  He not only established the the maximum record in it at the time (1815# at a record day in Ambridge in 1990), but he established many repetition records in it.  His letter advice helped me my design setup for the Travis Lift.  Now, in his honor, I plan to make the Travis Lift a big part of my training this coming year.

Howard STILL has many records in our USAWA Record List.  I just did a quick count and he still holds 171 USAWA Records.  Some of his BEST USAWA RECORDS are:

Lift Record Age BWT Location
Clean & Jerk, Right Arm 99 60 105 88 IAWA – Lecester
Clean & Press, DBs, HT 150 70 100 95 Art’s Birthday Bash
Clean & Press, Heels Together 182 65 110 90 Nationals – Akron
Continental to Belt 314 70 95 97 IAWA – Collegeville
Curl, Cheat 154 65 105 91 IAWA – Collegeville
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells 344 70 105 96 Buckeye RB
Hand & Thigh 1050 65 105 91 U.S. Inlands
Harness Lift 2218 65 105 93 Gold Cup
Hip Lift 1550 65 110 Ambridge, PA
Neck Lift 408 70 100 98 Nationals – Mansfield
Pullover & Push 243 65 105 91 Nationals – Ambridge
Roman Chair Situp 738 65 110 Valley Forge, PA
Snatch, Right Arm 99 65 105 91 IAWA – Collegeville
Steinborn 259 65 105 92 Nationals – Walpole
Travis Lift 1815 65 105 Record Day – Ambridge
Zercher 331 65 105 91 Nationals – Ambridge
Zercher, Left Arm 220 70 100 96 Gold Cup

All of these records were established when Howard was OVER 60 years of age!  Can you imagine what his lifts would have been in these lifts if he had done them in his 20’s and 30’s??  Truly remarkable records – many of which will NEVER be broken!  The USAWA is a much better organization because of Howard Prechtel! He will not be forgotten.