It was like being in a room full of who's who in powerlifting. Let me set the stage. In the corner was Westside's very own Louie Simmons sitting next to megga powerlifter girl, Amy Weisberger (picture). Off to the side was Westside's Dave Tate from Elite Fitness Systems. The list gets bigger, with Bill Crawford (Metal Militia's very own and 785 bencher), Westside's John Bott, Metal Militia's Mike Miller (760 Bench Press in the supers at Bench America), and the list goes on and on. The only notable person that wasn't there was Ed Coan.
First let's state the obvious observation, a good one mind you, first made by Anita. The observation was that upon further study of the overall physique appearance of most powerlifters, the clean-cut look was few and far between. As Anita surveyed the territory she turned and looked over at me and said, "You don't fit in very well with the rest of them, you're too pretty." Thanks, but my retort was more of, "What are you talking about?" Well, when she pointed out the style of your red blooded hardcore powerlifter that was in the pit, it was apparent she was rightâ€¦ I'm too pretty. I need to shave my head and get some tattoos.
That's what I, and even Anita has come to love about powerlifting over bodybuilding. Powerlifters are a special clique, a "cult" if you will, a large group of thickly muscled and very strong fun loving individuals who are into accomplishment on the platform with the weights they wheal rather then being a statue. I once made the reference to the liking of NasCar to Drag Racing and their similarities to bodybuilding and powerlifting, respectively. Bodybuilders are Nascar preppy snub nosers and powerlifters are blue-collar, down to earth drag racers. Don't get us wrong, Anita competed in the realm of gotta look good for years and we have meet some great friends who are bodybuilders that fit more into the blue-collar image than the other.
Now let me tell you about the women. Well, the first day of competition opened up with the women, of course. To my surprise I saw someone who I was competing against in my first Bench Press meet I recently did and bombed atâ€¦ Brook Feneis. She was lifting her way into the record books at the IPA Worlds this day winning the amateurs in the 165's and receiving Best Lifter award in that division. Brook is a teacher in Western New York and lifts with other notable 1,000-pound squatter and 2003 Arnold winner, Paul Childress. I'll definitely see more of Brook as she has big numbers ahead of her as long she stays focused and doesn't let her new marriage get her out of lifting. Brook did an IPA World record 440 squat, benched 215, and pulled 375 for a World record total of 1030. Nice job Brook, I can't wait to bench against you again.
Another notable was 114-pound competitor Janet Faraone. Janet is a bencher, and what a bench presser she is. She is one strong girl, and a member of the Metal Militia. She opened with 245lbs which was a 5lb meet PR, breaking her previous IPA record of a 240lb bench press she did on August 10, 2002. Janet went right to 267.2 and missed it, then took it again for a third and got it. She even went for a fourth attempt of 272.2 and missed it. Her 267.2lbs bench press was done at a bodyweight of 113lbs, surpassing long standing Russian champion Svetla Nikolaenko's previous record of 265.7. This new record lift is the heaviest bench press in the history of the world for any 114lb woman! This is taking into consideration all lifts recorded in all other federations and sanctioned meets. Now, that's incredible.
After talking with Janet she voiced her disappointment of her not being invited to the Arnold. I have to agree, since she is by far, pound for pound, the strongest female bencher around. While I'm on that subject I'm going to jump ahead and state the same goes for my buddy Karin Siezmore, who, to this date holds the heaviest bench of 450 by any women. She too was not invited to the Arnold and she was disappointed since they, the Arnold people, invited that Darling chick that can't bench anything on her own. Well, even though strong muscular women are by far more accepted in powerlifting than in the bodybuilding realm, there will always be some goofs.
Okay, now I always wanted to see this next girl lift, since I've heard so much about her. Her name is Amy Weisberger. Amy destroyed the 132 pro division with a World record 515 squat, 305 bench, and a deadlift of 460. Mariah Liggett, getting two world records, one in the squat with a 510, and a 275 bench, won the 148. Al the way from Kansas City was Susan Patterson in the 198's grabbing her win with IPA worlds record with a 400 squat, 310 bench, and a 460 pull giving her a IPA World record total of 1170. Deb Ames of Nazareth Barbell destroyed the SHW getting a 435 squat, 260 bench and 440 deadlift. Deb's got a lot more in her so watch out. My friend Karen Was ready to do damage in the meet too but had an accident with her squat opener slipping and getting caught under the bar, but Karen's a tough cookie, she's fine and will be back next year to put up some big numbers.
Great stuff, huh Anita? "Yeah, it was nice to sit and talk with the girls too. They would ask me the differences between bodybuilding and powerlifting, and if I liked one or the other. I told them that it was no contest, as a female powerlifter, you are accepted into the clique you are part of more readily than if you are a female bodybuilder in the so-called bodybuilding industry. Though my blood is still as a female bodybuilder, no contest, women powerlifters are more friendly and accepted into the group easier."
Okay, Curtis tell these people about the big boys. Yeah, that's exactly right, the big boys. Wow! Well, I have to start with Gene Rychlak who hammered an 815 bench for an IPA World record. But, that wasn't the bestâ€¦ the best was when he went for and JUST MISSED 880 BY A TWO INCH LOCKOUT FOR WHAT WAS ALMOST THE HEAVIEST BENCH OF ALL TIME! Gene will get this within a year, if not sooner. A 900 pound bench is right around the corner people, that's just nuts! I'm still trying to hit 500. Girls are squatting that.
There was some great lifting on Sunday. Tony Hudson tried a 1040 squat 3 times in the supers, and missed it 3 times. It was exciting to see him go for it each time. I'm going to talk about my weight class, the 275's, since I was watching close and a friend of ours was competing in that class too. That friend was Dave Tate. Anita helped him a little bit with his competition diet prep for the meet and got Dave looking and feeling good for the meet. Big Dave literally got me going. On his 3rd attempt in the squat he was screaming and banging his head on the bar, drawing blood. "Oh my God I miss this shit", was all I could think while I was screaming at the top my lungs for him to get the lift. I'm a head banger. Brings me back to days of football banging heads. Great shit.
Fourth place was Hank Sargent who's numbers were an 810 squat - 480 bench - 740 pull with a 2030 total. Now, 1st place in the 275's was by a young man right out of college and one of Dave Tate's boys, J.L., who is only 24 years old. J.L. hit a 875 squat - 675 bench, and a 725 deadlift for a 2275 total. These are big numbers for a young man right out of college. J.L. played fullback for the Arizona Wildcats. That's PAC 10 football boys and girls. No one was close. Lets see how he is doing a year or so with all the responsibilities of real life like bills, mortgage, no-sleep, and you know, all the good stuff. You're not on scholarship anymore J.L. In the mean time, we both hope he rides his fortune as far as he can because it comes and goes so fast.
Coming Up: IPA Nationals
We will be at the IPA Nationals, which will be held on November 15th & 16th. This meet, we where told, is always larger than the Worlds and we will see the absolute best at this meet. We did. The IPA Nationals will be in the same place, the Radisson in Harrisburg, PA. We'll be there... maybe as competitors. First we have to do well at the IPA Halloween Bench/Dead Bash November 1st. Lifting in competition is a learning experience, bottom line. You're always learning new tricks and info, and due to the influx of all the new gear you always learn something new. We trained at Nazareth Barbell during our stay, and in a short time the owners Mike Miller and Deb Ames were very helpful and Deb even let Anita borrow her old bench shirt until Anita's is made. Mike introduced us to Metal Militia man Bill Crawford and immediately we were accepted into the realm of the king of benchers... very cool.
It was great meeting all our friends and making new ones. To all that competed we apologize for not getting everyone of you in here, my fingers would get tired. But, we'll hopefully see you at the Nationals and our camera will be ready for some more big numbers. Good luck to all. If there is anything we can do to assist any of you in getting ready for a powerlifting meet, programs, contest diet, and supplementation prep then let us know.
Clockwise from top: 1. Metal Militia Bill Crawford smiling and giving the thumbs up! 2. Dave Tate wiping the blood off his face. 3. Mike and Ellen Chaillet IPA World meet promoters and IPA President. 4. Susan Patterson SHW womens pro divsion deadlifting 470.
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