Men's Open Nationals
Article by: Robert Keller
The 2004 USAPL Men's National Powerlifting Championships was a great success this year success! Even despite the low turnout (72 lifters in all) the quality of the lifting, by every stretch of the imagination, was some of the best ever witnessed on a national stage. This year's championship was held in Killen, Texas under the direction of Johnny Graham, the USAPL Vice-president, and Lanette Lopez, along with the loyal and faithful Phantom Corps Powerlifting Team of Fort Hood, Texas. The tireless Lanette Lopez serves as Johnny's assistant at all of his championships, and Johnny is always quick to acknowledge Lanette's service to the organization and to the championships that he directs.
The venue for this year's championships was the newly constructed Killeen Civic Center that boasted some 50,000+ square feet of convention space. Two large projection screens, mounted in corners of the ballroom behind the lifting platform, were a definite plus to not only the lifters, but the audience to view the lifting - especially if you were seated in the back of the room, or in the prep area behind the lifting platform. This feature allowed everyone, regardless as to where you were standing in the room to see the lifting take place -- A definite plus at any event of this size. The warm-up room was spacious and had, if I am not mistaken, some eight  warm-up platforms.
To compliment this convention center, the newly constructed Killeen Regional Airport makes transportation into Killeen, from any part of Texas or surrounding one of the surrounding states, a very comfortable and uncomplicated process. A taxi cab drive from the airport to the two championship hotels takes no more than ten  minutes. If you fly into Dallas, Texas, like I did this time around, it takes no less than two  hours by car. The rental car services are very reasonable and timely, with shuttle services to pick you up directly outside of baggage claim.
The Plaza and Howard Johnson hotels served as the official championship locations to house the athletes, with both locations less than a five  minute drive from the Killeen Convention Center. A hotel shuttle was provided for all of the participants to transport them to the venue to both hotels on an hourly basis. The employees for both hotels were extremely friendly, courteous and supportive of our athletes and organization, which made everyone feel welcome and comfortable prior to taking part in the championship.
Mentioned in an my previous article that I prepared last year on the bench press nationals, I would like to add that not only does the City of Killeen boast having one of thee largest volunteer youth groups in not only Texas, but the United States, but thee largest military base in the entire world - Ft. Hood. It goes without saying that Ft. Hood has been key and instrumental in training and preparing soldiers for combat for current operations now being undertaken in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in other remote locations around the globe. Both have received many awards and citations for their service to the community locally and for their efforts abroad to secure the peace.
Being this has been my second trip to Killeen in recent months, it goes without saying that this same effort and 'attitude' and sense of community was present from the time I arrived in Killeen to my departure. It must be noted also, that during the course of the weekend, many dignitaries from the town, to include the police and fire chiefs, as well as the city manager came to the event to support and cheer on the lifters. This is not often the case and we are thankful to the city of Killeen for their generous hospitality - USA Powerlifting looks forward to our return in May and October 2006, when Johnny and Lanette shall direct both the USAPL National Master's Championships and the IPF World Master's Championships, and this location shall serve as a perfect venue for these upcoming championships. If you have note made your reservations yet, I would suggest making them now, as I see this as a sell out weekend!
Overall this setting provided a very nice setting for America's best lifters to showcase their talents -- Now, onto the contest highlights.
Contest Review - Friday / Session I (52kg/114lb - 67.5kg/148lb Class)
Originally, two  sessions were scheduled to be held; however, with the light turnout amongst the lighter classes, the morning session was folded into the afternoon to create one  session. In the 114lb/52kg class, Ervin Gainer went unopposed to win this class easily. At this championship, Ervin was nursing an injury, and took the lifts necessary to capture the qualifying total, in order to secure a slot for the Men's USA Team for the IPF Men's World Powerlifitng Championships this coming November in Miami. He made weight fairly easy this time around and looks to avenge last year's disappointment with a medal at this year's world championships. Our congratulations to Ervin! In the 123lb/56kg weight category, Damarrio "Doc" Holloway had a terrific day and registered lifts of: 485 - 303 - 573 for a total of 1361lbs, which was a new American and National record total. Doc avenged his disappointing bomb from a year ago to make this year's world team. Super job Doc! Second place was captured by Eric Kupperstein of Massachusetts, who was able to secure a spot as an alternate on this year's team. It was a pleasure to see Eric back on the national stage, after a very successful collegiate lifting career at I believe Virginia Tech University, if I recall correctly. In the 132lb/60kg class, Hennis Washington of Florida went unopposed after Peter Wong from Minnesota had an absolutely dreadful day, which included a scare in the squat, with a bar dumped overhead that the spotters were not able to catch in time. Nonetheless, Peter came out of it unscathed and tried his hand at three  benches, which did not go so well either and finally decided to check out of the contest. On the other hand, Hennis soared through all of his lifts, solidly I might add, by going 7/9, and matching his total from his qualifier in Duluth, Georgia earlier this year. Look for more from Hennis at the World Championships this year. In the 67.5kg/148lb, powerlifting journeymen Keith Scisney of Colorado, finally achieved and realized his dream of becoming national champion after multiple and disappointing opportunities to win this championship. Keith was able to seize this opportunity after Caleb Williams, unexpectedly missed all three bench presses with an opener of 391lbs. It appeared to me that he was not able to capture the necessary groove the new shirts require. Despite winning the championship, Keith was not able to achieve the qualifying total necessary to secure a spot for the USA Team (7.5kg short), but achieved personal records, nonetheless, in the squat with 573lbs, bench press of 374lbs, and the total with 1466lbs. My sincerest congratulations to Keith on a much deserved win! Despite the disappointment for Caleb Williams, he has much to look forward to, as he will more than likely gain a spot on the USA Junior Team that will compete at the World Juniors in Ft. Wayne, Indiana during September, and will also lift at the World Games this July in Germany. Scott Layman of California also had a tough day, and was not able to overcome the lead built by Keith in the squat and bench press and settled for second place. Allan Whigham of Massachusetts placed third, after missing weight in the 60kg/132lb class. Allan is another lifter that has not fully captured and achieved his true potential. This potential will only be achieved through time, effort and better preparation in the gym by Allan.
Contest Review - Saturday / Session I (75kg/165lb - 82.5kg/181lb Classes)
This 75kg/165lb class session opened with ten  lifters vying to win this class. However, all hopes for everyone to possibly capture top honors, were quickly dashed and literally squashed by Wade Hooper of Louisiana, when he hit a new world record in the squat with 340kg/749lbs, which he dropped his butt literally to the floor with. The lift was technically perfect and Wade rose from the bottom of this squat, with the tenacious grin, which has made him a two time world open champion and the holder of multiple world records. Wade repeated this same performance in the bench press, and took the necessary 500grams over his existing world record of 507lbs to set a new mark. Afterwards, he took a bold attempt to push the world record out of sight with a try at 534lbs, which he nearly locked out. Wade finalized the day with a personal record deadlift of 611lbs, to give him a total of 1868lbs, the most ever by any American lifter in this weight category. On a final note, I shall conclude my accolades of Wade to say the match up between him and Furashkin of Russia, at the coming Men's World Championships in Miami, Florida, will be one to see for the ages. If you are a true powerlifting fan, I would recommend purchasing your tickets early to come and see the show. Erick Nickson of Indiana was a bit off the mark, but continues to show the eagerness and passion of a future national champion. With some fine tuning and adjustments, he will move up the ladder to challenge for this title. His number one fan and supporter, his father, was ever watchful in the stands, cheering him on with each lift. Great to see this involvement! Jamie Schupbach of Ohio had a super day by going 8/9 to solidly take 3rd in this class over Todd Straub. Kenny Davis pulled his way into the 5th place position with a final pull of 567lbs that was originally turned down 2-1 by the referees, which subsequently was overturned by the Jury to award him the lift. This, in turn, bumped Pat Keenan into the 6th position. Thompson, Vasquez and Wells rounded the class out with Macri again bombing this year in the squat.
In the 82.5kg/181lb class, last year's star-studded battle royal between Mike Bridges, Steve McLawchlin, and David Ricks was nearly reenacted; however, take out Mike and this year insert another all-time great Dan Austin. Again, like last year, the young Phenom took it to the veterans, and with his cool and calm demeanor, Steve got the job done and reeled off some terrific lifts of 738lbs in the squat (with room to spare), 496lbs in the bench press, and 683lbs in the deadlift, and American and National record total of 1918lbs to capture this class going away. Moreover, this total now places him as the numero uno lifter in the world in this weight class. Interesting enough, during the past two  years, Steve has now defeated David Ricks twice, as well as Mike Bridges and Dan Austin once each, all at the ripe age of 22 years old. To me the young man has only begun to tap his potential and there are great things that await this lad. Dave Ricks battled Dan Austin for second position, and was able to achieve the necessary total to win a slot on this year's World Team. Dan looked a little off the mark in the squat and bench press, but still pulled a phenomenal and easy deadlift of 705lbs with relative ease, with no belt to boot, to placed a respectable third - Wow. Once Dan has had an opportunity to master the new gear and gets back into the groove, so to speak, he will challenge both Dave and Steve for the title. Placing fourth with a super performance was James Benemerito, who was on a roll until going into the deadlift, where he missed his first two  attempts and magically and quite easily was able to pull the final attempt, with relative ease that it, in fact, looked like a warm-up. Fifth place was captured by Minnesota lifter Tony Reid, who continues to improve with a physique that would be the envy of any professional bodybuilder. Former national champion John White lifted very well ending with a 7/9 performance that allowed him to capture 6th place and not too distant from the medal holders. Stark had a tough day, but continued to battle, and Anthony Joseph, the 2004 American Open Champion from Pennsylvania was in [shock and awe] with having the opportunity to qualify and lift at the big show! Special attention must be paid to David Emeott, the US Military National Champion, who traveled all the way from Belgium to have an opportunity to lift in this championship as well. World sub-junior record holder in the bench press, Hayward Blake was unable to satisfy the judges with any of his squats and hit the showers early. Look for him to rebound at this year's National Bench Press Championships. On a final note, silence again this year from Robert Wagner - Where is he? Congratulations to all of the lifters in the class - great job and representation!
Contest Review - Saturday / Session II (90kg/198lb - 100kg/220lb Classes)
This session proved to be the most memorable of the contest. In the 90kg/198lb class, 10+ times national champion, Ray Benemerito, avenged last year's bomb in this class to the win this class fairly easily, even despite a tough day on the platform. A torn callous on his right hand, prevented him from being able to pull on his final two deadlifts, and prevented him from achieving the necessary QT to qualify for the Men's USA National Team. A serious disappointment, as Ray really desired to have the opportunity to lift in front of the home crowd this year in Miami. On a positive note, Ray will make his second trip to the World Games next month, and we wish him much success! Other lifters in this class having a tough day, and left for the showers early were John Pena of Arizona, and Marcus Brandon of Georgia. John missed all of his squats on depth, and Marcus could not find the magical groove and arc to press the bar to arms length in the bench press. Taking advantage of these two  scratches was Ft. Hoods very own Trenton Wade, who soared into 2nd place, on some fine and well-balanced lifting. Sean DiCataldo from Massachusetts, up from the 181's last year, sewed up third with some solid and well well selected attempts Sean went 7/9 and once he fills out this weight class, will challenge for this title in 2-3 years. Amazingly, just 3 years ago, he was lifting in the 165lb class. Jeff Blindauer of South Dakota pulled himself into third with a clutch third attempt deadlift, which he missed on his second. Todd Shelton placed fifth an apparently miscalculated his third attempt selection, in order to tie Shelton for fourth and beat him on bodyweight. Hal Scholnick missed too many attempts, which kept him out of the hunt for a medal.
The 100kg/220lb class proved to be, unquestionably, the most exciting class of the championship! Each of the top five  starters had the opportunity to win this class on any given day; however, this day belonged to Pennsylvania's own - Jason Beck, who reeled off 9 perfectly selected attempts to hold off the likes of former national champions Charr Gahagen and Tony Succarotte, as well as voracious contender Mike Mastrean, who is still searching for that first national championship win. Jason's total set a new America and National record and his performance earned him a slot on the USA Team for a trip to his first ever world open powerlifting championships! Coming in a close 2nd was Delaware pipefitter Tony Succarotte, who had the meet of his life. Tony had PR's in the squat, bench press, deadlift and total. His opener of 288kg/635lbs in the bench press (not a misprint folks) was the necessary 500grams over the existing world record, and was pushed up with relative ease. His second and third attempts with 650lbs were slightly out of the groove, and were met with red lights. Tony related to me that he had planned to open with this weight, and if he did and made it, would have made the contest between Beck and Succarotte even that more close. Congratulations to Tony on his new world record in the bench press. Despite Tony's 2nd place finish, by virtue of him exceeding the qualifying total, and with two vacant slots opened by Scisney and Benemerito, was able to capture an alternate slot for the USA Team to go to the Men's World Championships in Miami. Coming in third was last year's National Champion, Charr Gahagen, who was simply perfect all the way until the opening deadlift, which unexpectedly he missed, which caused him to have to repeat the lift on his second attempt. Consequently, this opened the door for both Beck, who was perfect as well, and Succarotte, who was having the meet of his life. With successful third attempts deadlifts, by both Beck and Succarotte allowed them to maneuver around and ahead of Charr into the first two positions. This placed the final pull of 788lbs; a weight Charr has made probably over a dozen times, in his hands for the final pull of the session. The weight came up easily, but Charr fell off balance and the weight crashed to the platform, thereby giving Beck the win and Succarotte 2nd. Had Charr taken only 771lbs on his third, instead of 788lbs, he would have tied and beaten Succarotte for 2nd and still would have been selected to the world team. However, during this point in time, this situation was an unknown, and with the remaining classes to go in the championship, it is my opinion that Charr made the correct call to take the 788 on his final attempt. Nonetheless, Charr's performance was exceptional and I must state that all of his lifts, especially his squats were exceptionally easy, and look for a 2100+ total out of the USC Strength Coach next year. Rounding out the class, the much improved Mike Mastrean was just one  lift away from making this a four  way battle at the finish line. A crucial miss on his final bench press of 512lbs, gave up some 49lbs that would have placed him right into the mix on the final pull. Mike definitely had the deadlifting power to win, based on the completion of his last deadlift. Look for Mike next time as well. By no means is this class a given next year, any one of these excellent lifters can win, and it will be very interesting and exciting to see what they have in store next year in Miami. I can definitely see all four  of these men going 2100+ next year. All I can say is - competition like this is very good and fosters the development of our lifters. In my opinion, having all of the [feel good] divisions, such as; raw, lifetime, etc, in our grassroots level championships, only serve to stagnate improvement within our potential open lifters, by diluting the head to head competition. I would suggest that we revisit the groups and divisions that we assign at our championships, and look towards developing our athletes through head to head competition, instead of the proliferation of divisions within our championships. Mike Ferrantelli of Florida, the potential 5th placed finisher and contender for this title was not able to make the necessary technical adjustments, and punched out in the bench press, after a narrow 2-1 call on his final squat of 705lbs to remain alive in the championship. Look for Mike to rebound next year and challenge for this title. He has both the potential and ability to win this class, if he is able to make the necessary technical adjustments to have his lifts passed at this level. I am confident that he can do this. Iron legend of the great white north, Shawn Cain pulled his way into fifth position, and amazingly enough, this was Shawn's 20th Senior National Powerlifting Championship -- without question, powerlifting's true ironman. Congratulations to Shawn. Rounding out the class was Kevin McCloskey and American Open Champion Matt Gary, fiancÚ to IPF Women's World Powerlifting Champion, Sioux Hartwig.
Contest Review - Saturday / Session II (110kg/242lb Class)
In the 110kg/242lb class, Tony Harris of Hawaii lead from the opening squat and never looked back. His total was a PR performance and new national record. From my vantage point, Tony looked in the best shape and the strongest that I have ever seen him at in the 15 years that he has competed at this level. His lifts were solid and technically very good. His win this year, was capped off by a master's 40+ world record deadlift of 771lbs on his second attempt, which broke his existing mark that he set at the Men's World Championships in South Africa this past year. Much improved Ryan Goldin of Georgia battled all the way to the end. His 573lb bench press was a new American and National record, and with his continued development will be one of the future champions in this class. Placing third, again this year, was Steve Mann of New York, who also continues to punch his total up consistently, each year, and with a much improved deadlift to boot that allowed him to nip last year's world team member, Nick Tylutki by a scant 5lbs. Look for Steve, in the next year, to squat 800, bench 600, and deadlift 700, which will place him right their next time around. Nick placed fourth this year, and has decided to take the plunge and move to the 242lb class, from the 220s, and test the waters. He has great potential as demonstrated the past couple of years in the 220lb class, and will require time to grow and gain the necessary leverages to move up in the rankings. Look for great things from this young man as well, who, like Steve and Ryan, only have just begun to tap their future potential. Scott Waits from California missed too many lifts to be in the hunt and former UT Longhorn powerlifter Chris Kahanek posted a personal record total off a 7/9 day. Fritz, Newark, King and Atef rounded out the remainder of the class with some solid lifting. Jeff Douglas was in contention for a top place medal, until he entered the bench press, where he was not able to get one on the board. His class leading squat of 815lbs, was both powerful and strong and look for Jeff to rebound next year at both the Men's Open and Master's National Championships.
Contest Review - Saturday / Session II (125kg/275lb - 125+kg/SHW Classes)
In the 125kg/125lb class, Tony Cardella of Texas was unstoppable and lifted like a well oiled machine with precision, control and well-balanced lifting to win this class convincingly with an 8/9 day. His third attempt bench press, which was turned down 2-1, due to a slight uneven extension, would have given him a personal record total of 2226lbs, instead of 2204 which currently equals his best. Nevertheless, Tony took what was necessary to outlast super-bencher Scott Lade of Wisconsin, who set two IPF world records on both third and fourth attempts, with 677 and 694lbs, respectively. To me, his fourth attempt appeared to be the best of the four , as he was able to set his new Titan F-6 Tornado in the exact position to push the weight to completion. Scott is continuing to improve and debunk the myth that single-lift specialists can not, in fact, compete in the powerlifting venue. Look for Scott to continue to rewrite the record book this year at the USAPL National Bench Press Championships that will be held in St. Louis this September. A solid lifter and super guy! I predict that he will go well over 700 and break the existing world record in the single-lift bench press. Emilio Saldierna placed third again this year and punched his total up another 12.5kgs. Emilio is a tough competitor, and is still very young and continuing to improve. In a matter of another year or so of experience, he will challenge Tony for the top spot. On a final note, I would like to point out that not only is Emilio a fine lifter, but also a very good coach, who lead the Louisiana Tech University men's powerlifting team to another collegiate national team title this year. Our congratulations! Sean Culnan was in the hunt for the title again this year, waiting out everyone, to load and pull a big deadlift. This time the chance never appeared and the normally strong puller barely made his opener and blacked out on the platform directly after the attempt. Subsequent attempts were passed and we wish Sean well. He did not seem like himself, and appeared a little disoriented and off-balance for some time afterwards. Scott Ward, one of Scott Lade's training partners rounded out the class with some very well picked attempts, ending with an 8/9 day. Like Slade, Ward is a rugged guy with untapped power and was absolutely fearless with any and all weights that were selected by his handlers. He was well prepared, and with some further platform experience, I would expect him to be a contender and definitely not a pretender for this title. Mike of the brothers Anderson took enough to beat out his brother Pat this time around. Both are die hard lifters and Mike is the more accomplished of the two on the platform, whereby Pat has become a very good coach. This was apparent, when Pat was wrapping his knees and coaching his brother from the backroom with signals and ques to assist Mike in the squat. Amazing! Schoen, O'Donnell, and Hartle rounded out the final lifters in the class. Emrich bombed in the bench and was not able to get one in to total; however, with the new IPF rule passed this year at the IPF Congress in South Africa that enabled he was able to continue and pull some deadlifts to compete for an individual medal.
In the 125+kg/SHW class, Brian Siders again stunned the crowd this year with the relative ease and manhandling of the weights he selected in all of his attempts. To me, from vantage point, his potential at just 26 years of age is limitless and the weights that he selected for all of his attempts, all looked like warm-ups. His 2nd attempt world record bench press of 771lbs was literally thrown up to lock out, in a blink of an eye. The 804lbs on his third attempt, to be the first ever man to make such a weight, stopped and hovered for several seconds literally one inch from lockout. Interestingly enough, Brian competed with an injured right had that had the skin of his index finger literally torn completely off. His final deadlift re-injured his hand, but Brian should be well enough, in time, to pull big at the world games. Brian's total of 2491lbs was a scant 39lbs under his current world record total, and predict that once he is fully healthy, this year in Miami, Brian will not only will be the first powerlifter ever in the history of the sport to go over 2500, but 2600 as well. Ever improving Christian evangelist and former Junior World Champion Randall "Big Roh" Harris posted a super 2287lbs this year, and remarkably, continues to still pile poundage onto his total in pursuit of Siders. His total at this championship ranks him as one of the best super-heavy weights in the world, and the future looks very bright for this young man, who serves and gives back to the communities and schools, with the continued blessing of the lord's strength. Ever improving Lance Karabel is still climbing the ladder as well, and continues to improve and up his total with each outing on the national platform. To me and everyone else, Lance looks like he has been chiseled from granite. You have to see him to believe it. Newcomer Nick Minetti of Virginia lifted like a pro, even with this being his first time on the national platform, and totaled a very impressive 2204. He wanted to pass on his third deadlift, but was encouraged to take a poke at it and nearly locked it out. His strength and technique is still developing and once established will also be a contender in this class. Finishing in 5th was Jason Christus from Michigan, with the interesting Slaughter brothers and ageless veteran Ernie Surrell rounding out the class. Ernie, believe it or not, is the oldest lifter to have ever competed at a senior national championship. And, yes folks, he made the necessary qualifying total to lift in this class. Unbelievable! Out this year, but not forgotten, Brad Gillingham decided to sit this one out this time around to focus primarily on the World Games. Look for some big lifts from Brad in Germany, for he may be only the sixth lifter in the history of the sport to go over 1100kg/2425lbs in the total!
2005 IPF Men's World Powerlifting Championships - Miami, Florida
The Men's Nationals this year served as the official qualifier for the 35th annual IPF World Powerlifting Championships that will take place on November 8-13, 2005, in Miami, Florida. Proudly, this year's championship will be, without question, the largest ever in the 35 year history of the sport. And, will mark for the first time in 21 years that the World Championships has been hosted in the United States of America - the birthplace and home of powerlifting! Unique to this championship, we shall host the 10th IPF Men's & Women's Pan-American Powerlifting Championships. Overall, it is expected that some 250 athletes from nearly 50 countries will attend this year's championships. Given this, if you are a true powerlifting fan - you will not miss this show. Come and support the America's team as the very best powerlifters from around the world travel to our shores to be crowned World Champion!
On another important note, the contest hotel will be the Miami Hyatt Regency Hotel, located in downtown Miami. The contest venue will be the James L. Knight Convention Center. The James L. Knight Convention Center and the Hyatt Hotel are [connected] with both locations just eight (8) miles from the Miami International Airport. For all you party people, South Beach is just five  minutes away by taxi. Further information regarding the championship facilities and hotel, can be found on the following webpage, located at URL: http://www.ipfworlds.com
I will begin by commenting that this section is my preferred piece to report on for each contest article that I prepare. I shall begin by extending my compliments to both George Bartotti and Gerry Chidester for marshalling the athletes to doping control. As the technical officer in charge of the drug-testing for this championship, again this year, I would like to report to you that we tested eighteen  lifters - 25% off the total participants. Eleven  of the samples - 15% were sent to the IOC laboratory at UCLA in California, and seven  samples were sent to Quest Laboratories in Las Vegas, Nevada. Overall, these numbers exceed the current WADA and IPF guidelines and standards of for doping control. I would like to point out that once the tests are complete, and the results returned to the USAPL National Office, members of the organization will be able to view the results of these tests in the USAPL Drug-testing database.
The URL is as follows:
As of the writing of this article, there are currently some 932+ test results logged into the database (3/26/2005). And, by the end of this month, there shall be well over 1000+ results listed. Special recognition is in order to Dr. Larry Maile for performing the data entry, and Tony Cardella for designing the database, as well as to the USAPL Executive committee for making this concept a reality. This concept eliminates any speculation and conjecture as to who was and was not tested at all championships within the USAPL. I would like to point out; most poetically I might add that no other drug-tested organization in the USA offers such a service. Again, I will state for the record, being a transparent and democratic organization, I applaud the efforts of the USAPL Executive for making this database a reality - thank you.
On a final note, all of the returning national champions from last year, lifting in this championship, submitted to a random Out-Of-Contest Test (OCT), observed by a USAPL official. Two lifters, in particular, were subjected to three IOC tests in a span of three  weeks, both in and out of competition - Kudos to both of these athletes.
Referees, Officials and Staff
Again, this year's championship was a great success! However, this would have not been possible without the assistance of the following referees: Bill Clayton (I), Larry Maile (I), Dr. Billy Jack Talton (II), Jim Hart (II), Johnny Graham (II), Steve Howard (II), Jack Marcus (II), Joe Marksteiner (II), Ray Benemerito (II), Terry Brady (II), George Bartotti (II), Jim Yakubovsky (National), Robb Grisham (National), Curt St. Romain (National), Gerry Chidester (National), Lanette Lopez (National), and Eliot Feldman (State).
I would like to point out for the second consecutive year in a row that all Category I and/or II referees were seated on the platform, as well as three  international referees on the jury. I must comment that this year's officiating was some of the best I have witnessed -- Consistent, professional and fair and well within the standard. Again, as in all other previous national championships, state and national level referees were posted in key positions, such as the equipment check, expeditor table, timekeeper, and as marshals in the area leading to the platform to keep it clear, as well as for drug-testing. I would like to point out the fine and professional work by Eliot Feldman, Gerry Chidester, Jim Yakubovsky, and Robb Grisham, who filled these important and key positions - great job gentlemen, and much appreciated. I would like to point out that if you are a state and/or national referee, and you wish to gain further experience with your officiating, and direction of a championship of this nature, I would encourage you to volunteer for one of these positions at one of our future national championships. It is well worth the experience and effort. Thank you in advance!
Noteworthy to point out, I would like to compliment Joe Marksteiner for his exceptional work as the scoring manager, and for developing a scoring program that far exceeds any system available on the market today. Our sincere compliments and thanks go out to Joe for all of his hard work and time in developing this program for the organization.
On a final note, I would like to congratulate Robb Graham of Colorado, Gerry Chidester of Louisiana, as well as Curt Romain of Texas for passing their IPF Category II referee examinations. All performed quite well on the exam, and each should be commended on their individual efforts to pass the exam. Each will be an asset to the professional cadre of referees within USA Powerlifting.
Outstanding Lifter and Team Awards
The Quest Nutrition Team again dominated the open team category by scoring six  first place victories. Compliments again should be extended to Sherman Ledford and his staff for assembling another strong team. Second place, and narrowing the gap this year, was the ever steady Titan Supports Systems team, lead by Pete Alinez. In third, was ever consistent Team Purepowerlifting of Pennsylvania - great job guys! Each day, an outstanding lifter was awarded; Day One - Doc Holloway; Day Two - Wade Hooper; and, Day Three: Brian Siders. I would like to point out that all of three  of these lifters were a part of the Quest Nutrition Team. Notably, Brian Siders won the overall Champion of Champions award with the highest Wilks Score of the Championship for the second consecutive year in a row.
Special recognition and thanks go out to our sponsors for this championship. They include Titan Support Systems, House of Pain, Quest Nutrition, and Advocare. I would like to point out that these four  sponsors have assisted Johnny Graham as well as other contest directors on a continual basis year in and year out, and without such generous and giving sponsors, championships of this magnitude would not be possible - So, our hats off to each of them for their support. More importantly, when it comes time to purchase that new piece of gear, or supplements, think of those sponsors that have aided in the development and support of championships that you have attended.
Final and Parting Thoughts
This was an exceptional championship filled with much excitement, enthusiasm and exceptional lifting. Again, like last year, all of the athletes, staff and officials, displayed the behavior of sportsmanship and professionalism indicative of a National Governing Body for the sport of Powerlifitng in the United States, and each volunteer and participant should be proud of their respective accomplishments. I would also like to offer my compliments, once again, to both Johnny Graham and his staff for a wonderful championship. Next year's Men's National Championships shall take place in beautiful Miami, Florida, under my direction. The championships shall be held on July 7-9, 2006, with the National Governing Body meeting taking place on Thursday, July 06, 2006. The contest hotel will be the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami. The competition venue shall be the James L. Knight Center, which can hold some 5,000 spectators, and will be the same location as the 2005 IPF Men's World Championships. Information for the Men's World Championships and facilities can be found at the following URL: http://www.ipfworlds.com
I would like to point out that the venue and hotel are connected together and their will be no need for transport between the two facilities - only your feet. If this year's championship is any indication as to what next year may bring, get your tickets early! In conjunction with this championship, I plan to host a USAPL Women's Invitational record-breakers tournament as well as reinstate the state team awards presented in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last year. Also, next year's championship shall be the official qualifier for the 2006 IPF combined Men's & Women's World Powerlifting Championships that will take place in Stavanger, Norway. I shall conclude here, and I look forward seeing everyone next year and the best of luck with your training and lifting prior to these epic events!
Robert H. Keller
IPF Category I Referee
Technical Officer, 2005 USAPL Men's National Powerlifting Championships
All photos thanks to Christy Newman.