USAPL Master Nationals
Bring a national championship to Palm Springs, CA and you're going to have a little heat. But the 2005 Men's Masters National Powerlifting Championships held May 20-22 were outright HOT. Record heat with temperatures between 108-112 degrees hit Palm Springs but the Palm Springs Riviera Resort & Racquet Club provided the perfect venue and an ideal indoor climate for a great weekend of outstanding powerlifting performances. The 2005 Men's Masters National Powerlifting Championships were sponsored in part by the Palm Springs Riviera Resort & Racquet Club, Combo Rack, CSS Sports Photos, House of Pain Ironwear, Inzer Advance Designs, Ivanko Barbell Co., Powerlifting USA Magazine, MW Builders and Titan Support Systems.
One hundred and seventy-three athletes entered this championship with 166 competitors actually making it to the platform. Most athletes and officials began arriving on Wednesday and Thursday in time for the Masters Committee meeting on Thursday evening. Reports were presented on this past year's team performance at the IPF Masters World Championships in India and the upcoming championships in Pretoria, South Africa. Bids were presented for the 2007 Men's Masters Nationals with the bid from Bruce Sullivan to be held in Racine, WI being selected.
Lifting began Friday with two sessions featuring the 52 kg - 75 kg weight classes. In the 52 kg class, Denny Barleen, of Anchorage, AK had a perfect 9 for 9 day while establishing masters American records in the bench press, deadlift and total. 3-time masters national champion Dennis Smith of OR set new masters American records in all three lifts and the total. Greg Simmons, the 67.5 kg 2004 open national champion, competed in his first Masters Nationals and outpaced a very competitive 67.5 kg, 40-44 age class on the strength of his 8 for 9 performance. Simmons' 245 kg squat and 660 kg total set masters American records and earned him an automatic selection to the world team over the 2003 IPF World Champion Lloyd Weinstein, who dominated the 45-49 age group with a masters American record 625 kg total. The 75 kg session was loaded with a number of outstanding performances. Joe Braca, of Ambler, PA used his huge deadlift to pull away from the field to win the 40-44 age group. California's Mike Hara took advantage of being on his home turf to set new masters IPF world bench press mark of 225 kg to win the 45-49 age division. Hara's record-setting performance was featured on the local CBS affiliate's sports report on the 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. Overall, Art Little was among "best of the best" earning Best Lifter in the 50-59 age group while winning the 50-54 age division with a masters American record in the deadlift. Lloyd Weinstein earned the Best Lifter award for the 40-49 age group and Robert Cortes won Best Lifter among the 60+ age group.
Saturday's schedule promised a very full day- morning, afternoon and evening sessions featuring the 82.5 kg - 100 kg classes. Highlights of the day included Ron Garofalo of CO establishing the highest total among all 82.5 kg class lifters to the win the 40-44 age division with a 760 kg total. Likewise, legendary Mike Bridges' total of 805 kg far outpaced the entire thirty-five lifter field in the 90 kg weight class to win his age group (45-49). Bridges also set an IPF world record mark with a 226 kg bench press. Other notable performances in the 90 kg class include Greg Jones of GA winning the highly competitive 40-44 age division and Dave Wiley winning his class while establishing the highest total among all competitors in the 50-59 age group.
The evening session featuring the 100 kg class presented the surreal and the unusual. California's Jason "Deepsquatter" Burnell and Rich Wenner of AZ were in a hotly contested battle for the national title in the 40-44 division. It came down to the final deadlifts. Jason successfully pulled what he thought was the winning lift only to find out in seconds after walking off the stage that his numbers were miscalculated and he ended up being 2.5 kg short. Wenner, a strength coach at Arizona State University, got the lifts he needed to end up with a 770 kg total and his first masters national championship. Multi-national and world champion Shawn Cain of Wisconsin had a very unusual day for him going 5 for 9 and leaving the door wide open for Scott Roberts of Colorado to win the 45-49 going away with a strong 8 for 9 performance and a 807.5 kg total. Other top performances included Mike Musto of California winning an impressive battle with Michigan's Floyd Givens in the 50-54 age division with a 765 kg American record total, Dave Clark dominating the 55-59 age division and Bill Helmich from Sandia Park, NM winning the 60-64 age division with a 605 kg total. Saturday's Best Lifter awards by formula were presented to Mike Bridges (40-49), Floyd Givens (50-59), and Bill Helmich (60+).
Sunday's morning session featured the 110 kg class and a marquee match-up between 8-time open national champion Tony Harris of Hawaii and Scott Waits from Las Vegas, both of whom had competed in the Men's Open National Championships in Killeen, TX two weeks prior. Harris provided a world class performance with an IPF world record setting deadlift of 355 kg and a huge 955 kg total, besting his total he had to win the Men's Open Championships by 2.5 kg. Dave Gonzales of Colorado earned top lifts to keep him just ahead of Wyoming's Bill Collins to win the 125 kg class, 40-44 age division with an impressive 852.5 kg total. Roger Hendrix of Kent, WA also impressed among all 125 kg class competitors posting an impressive 835 kg total to win the 50-54 age division. In the unlimited class, USAPL Tennessee State Chairman Deron Rogers, won a very exciting competition in the 40-44 age group that was decided in the last round of deadlifts. Rogers pulled 332.5 kg, a weight he has missed on his second attempt, to win by 2.5 kg ahead of Ken Ryder. 10 kg separated the top three finishers in what was the most exciting class of the competition and a perfect way to conclude three great days of lifting. Sunday's Best Lifter awards were presented to Tony Harris (40-49), Roger Hendrix (50-59) and Stan Chatis (60+).
The success of this year's championship was due to the support and hard work of over thirty dedicated volunteers and officials. In particular, special thanks and sincere appreciation goes to Johnny Graham, Robert Keller, Joe Marksteiner, Jason Burnell, Steve Howard and Steve Denison.
The 2006 Men's Masters National Powerlifting will be directed by Johnny Graham in Killeen, TX at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
Best Lifter awardees Floyd Givens & Bill Helmich
Anthony Harris, 110 kg, 40-44 champion
Mike Bridges & Jim Kavarnos
Deron Rogers, 125+ kg, 40-44 champion
The “Wissota” crew
The “Southern” crew
Big benchers (not me)
Jim Kavarnos with Elizabeth Freel (left) and Mari Asp.
All photos courtesy Jim Kavarnos
(except the first one below, from Sean Anderson)
Mike Hara, 75 kg, 45-49 champion
Ron Garofalo, 82.5 kg, 40-44 champion
Mike Bridges, 90 kg, 45-49 champion
Greg Jones, 90 kg, 40-44 champion
The “wrap room”, backstage
Rich Wenner, 100 kg, 40-44 champion
EC members Johnny Graham & Bettina Altizer with Greg Jones
Bill Helmich, 100 kg, 60-64 champion and Best Lifter