USAWA History – 1999 Nationals

by Al Myers

(The following is the meet report written by Bill Clark in the July, 1999 issue of the Strength Journal, Vol. X No. 4.    This National Championships was the second Championships promoted by the Ambridge BBC.)


Ambridge, PA., June 26 – Denny Habecker, the Lebanon, Pa. strongman who seems to get better and better with the passing years, was the overall grand champion among the men and Noi Phumchaona of Cleveland, Ohio, retained her women’s title at the USAWA’s annual championships at the Ambridge, Pa., VFW  Weightlifting Club.

Habecker lifts any and all.  He holds his own in both Olympic Lifting and in the power lifts and excels at the all-rounds.   At age 56, he’s still supple as most half his age and he retains strength and flexibility both above and below the waist.

Noi remains Noi – about all that happens with her is that she gets a year older each year and she gets stronger, not weaker, as time passes.  Time passes fast when you’re having fun.  Can you believe that Noi is now in the 55-59 age group?

Special thanks must go to Art Montini and John McKean for what proved to be a very good weekend.  To begin, the schedule of events was given to the lifters 11 months prior to the competition.  Things ran on time at the meet, dinner was free, and the Ambridge VFW lifters contributed $100 to the Strength Journal when the weekend was over and all the bills had been paid.  Not too damned shabby a deal, folks.

The meet was great fun because it was family.  The handful of spectators consisted of friends and family of lifters and wound up loading if they weren’t lifting.  The kitchen stayed open all weekend and good food was always on hand.  You’d appreciated hundreds of screaming fans, but a few appreciative folks made the weekend an enjoyable experience.  It is always fun to lift at Ambridge – the basement and the competition area have seen more than half a century of great lifting and the age of the strongman era permeates the place.  Thanks, Ambridge, for the weekend.


1999 USAWA National Championships
June 26-27, 1999
Ambridge, Pennsylvania

Meet Directors: Art Montini and John McKean
Emcee: Bill Clark
Scorekeeper: Marilyn McKean
Loaders: Jason Zajec, Bill Spayd, Bob Geib, Chris Pennington, Joshua Monk, Mike Pinkoski, Izzy Mabrey, John Monk, Mike O’Brien
Officials: Art Montini, Dennis Mitchell, Denny Habecker, Rob McKean, Frank Ciavattone, Jim Goviannini, Bob Geib, Jeff Ciavattone, Joe Garcia, John Kurtz, John McKean, John Monk, Jim Malloy, Bob Karhan, Bob Hirsch, Pete Zaremba

Lifts: Clean and Push Press, One Arm Swing, Deadlift with Ciavattone Grip, Steinborn, Arthur Lift, One Arm Deadlift, Hip Lift

Men: Top Ten Placings
1. Denny Habecker, Pennsylvania
2. Jim Malloy, Ohio
3. Pete Zaremba, Ohio
4. Joe Garcia, Missouri
5. Frank Ciavattone, Massachusetts
6. Dale Friesz, Virginia
7. Scott Schmidt, Ohio
8. Chris Waterman, Ohio
9. John McKean, Pennsylvania
10. Jeff Ciavattone, Massachusetts

Women: Top Placing
1. Noi Phumchaona, Ohio

Best Lifters Awards:
Women Open – Noi Phumchaona
Women Master – Noi Phumchaona
Men Open – Denny Habecker
Men Master – Denny Habecker
Men Junior – Jeff Ciavattone
Men Junior 11-12 Age Group – John Blockston
Men Junior 14-15 Age Group – James Loewer
Men Junior 16-17 Age Group – Sean McKean
Men Junior 18-19 Age Group – Jeff Ciavattone
Men 20-39 Age Group – Pete Zaremba
Men 40-44 Age Group – Frank Ciavattone
Men 45-49 Age Group – Joe Garcia
Men 50-54 Age Group – John McKean
Men 55-59 Age Group – Denny Habecker
Men 65-69 Age Group – Dennis Mitchell
Men 70-74 Age Group – Art Montini