2004 Brother Bennett
It was truly an honor for me to nominate Brad Gillingham for the 2004 Brother Bennett award. Big Brad, as a lot of us know him, has been active in the Drug Free powerlifting scene for many years. I can remember when he was a rather skinny 242-lb. lifter that started his long and successful career on the local level in Minnesota. If you look at his career, it is the typical career of a true drug free lifter. Gradual gains through dedication and lots of hard work over many years. He had the gift of being part of a very physically strong family. His dad, Gale, was always a very strong and competitive athlete. In fact, he played for many years in the NFL, was in at least 5 pro bowls, has two Super Bowl rings, and is in the Green Bay Packer hall of fame. He also has two brothers that are very active and successful in the strongman competitions. You may have seen Karl on ESPN competing in the Worlds Strongest Man Competition.
Brad entered the National scene in the ADFPA in 1992. He has lifted in 13 Men’s Open Nationals. He has been in the top 5 in all of those 13 Nationals. He won the Men’s Open Championships 5 years in a row. (1997 through 2001) He lifted twice in the 275-lb. class, three times at 319, and has been in the SHW class since1997.
Brad has also lifted in a total of 14 International Competitions. His first was the IPF PAN AM Championships in 1996. Other than an injury in the 2003 IPF World Championships, he has been in the top 4 placing in all of his International meets. Brad was the IPF World SHW World Champion in the years 2000, and again in 2001. One of the most exciting competitions he has ever lifted in was the 2001 World Games in Akita, Japan in 2001, where he won the Silver medal. Brad has had a very long and successful career in Powerlifting, but that is not the reason he was nominated and named the 2004 Brother Bennett award winner. He represents the ideals and the goals set up by the founder of the Drug Free Powerlfiting movement. He was nominated and won the award because of the man that he is and the good things he has done to promote the ADFPA/USAPL over his long career.
Brad is 37 years old and lives in southwestern Minnesota. He is married to his beautiful wife Diane, and together they have two young girls. When I first met Brad, he was hungry to learn and develop his skills, knowledge and power. I must say that he has done a great job of doing just that. Before he entered the National scene as one of the best, he was at home in Minnesota helping meet directors and lifters in as many meets as he could attend. All lifters that meet Brad come away with either advice, encouragement, or tips on improving their own lifting career. He rarely talks about his own accomplishments. He is sincerely interested, and actually listens to lifters that come to him to just meet him, or that come to him for help. He has been a great ambassador for our organization and to the sport of Powerlfitng.
Brad has also had the opportunity to be a guest at many functions through the GNC Corporation. He has attended the Arnold Classic, Strongman competitions, and many other strength related shows. In his appearances at these shows, he has relayed the ideals of the founder of our organization. He is living proof that it really can be done without the use of strength enhancing drugs. (Brad has to be one of the most frequently drug tested Powerlifters in the World. Certainly in the USA. He has been tested both in meet and out of meet about 50 times so far) Besides being a great ambassador to non lifters, lifters in other organizations and to athletes in many other sports, he is a great source of help to many lifters within our organization. You could probably find lifters from Canada to Mexico, and from coast to coast that are benefiting from his encouragement and knowledge.
Brad, walk proud my friend. You are a deserving recipient of the 2004 Brother Bennett award.
Submitted by Shawn Cain