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Bragging Rights at USPA National Powerlifting Championship Las Vegas 2014

Steve Denison
Steve Denison
photo by Thomas Stark: Steve Denison USPA President

Whether Raw or Single-Ply lifters had a chance to lift as much as they ever have, breaking National as well as World Records at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, NV. Steve Denison (USPA President) hosted and directed this event for powerlifters across the nation this weekend July 18-20 2014. Events kicked off Friday with Women's Division Flight A. Ages ranged from 14 years of age up to 65. Yes, there was a 65 year old female powerlifting. As well, there was a 70 year old male powerlifter. The winners from this competition go on to the World Powerlifting Championship.

Jon Marshall single-ply squat
HDR photo by Thomas Stark; Jon Marshall finishing squat

Steve talked about the set up. Each powerlifting platform was set up with 3 judges. Each powerlifting platform could be configured for bench pressing, squats, or deadlifting. Lifters could wear no shirt considered to be RAW, one shirt which would be considered Single-Ply, or multiple belts and shirts considered to be Multi-Ply (no Multi-Ply at the Nationals). The more clothing worn means more constriction making it easier for a lifter to lift more. Each lift is judged based on form as well as lifting the weight. If lifter achieves full satisfaction from judges, the lifter gets 3 white lights. With one flaw, the lifter gets one red light and two white lights. With two flaws, the lifter gets two red lights and one white light. With a total failure, the lifter gets three red lights and no white lights. To achieve a successful lift, the lifter had to get a majority of white lights. Each bench press had to be specifically adjusted to lifters arm length with an adjuster lever. Weights were added and subtracted for all events by spotters.

Spotters played a key roll of ensuring safety and proper weight balances, so lifters would not fall or have a bad lift based on more weight being on the right or left side. Officiating for the Nationals were Alan Aerts, Bonnie Aerts, Anthony Pastorello, Tony Rodriguez, Dan Martin, Tim Sparkes, National Judge from Arizona, Jose Hernandez, International Judge from Calif, Scott Layman, International Judge from Calif, Jim Merlino, International Judge from Calif, Ron Scott, International Judge from Calif, Kevin Meskew, International Judge from Calif, Lisa Wheeler, International Judge from Calif, Lord Ellliott, National Judge from Calif, Tracie Marquez, National Judge from Calif, Tom Miller, National Judge from Calif, Ron Moormeister, National Judge from Calif, Leonetta Richardson, National Judge from Hawaii, Mike Tronske, National Judge from Calif, and Bernice Fuss, International judge from Canada who have all been lifting a long, long, long time. Chuck LaMantia was announcing all lifters as well as any information about exactly what was going on per each event. He had a very articulate sports announcer's voice which is suited for television or radio. Sample video will be included in this article.

When interviewing Robert Craig (23 years old) from Las Cruisas, New Mexico, he stated "I guess I do this for bragging rights."He bench pressed 330 pounds, squatted 430 pounds, and deadlifted an amazing 540 pounds. For his light weight class of 165-181, this is a lot of weight. He got the state record in New Mexico for all 3 events. He has been doing this for about a year now. Rachel Hererra spoke of this being more of an individual sport when on the platform. She says there is some truth to being a team for training, but, once on the platform one is truly on their own. This is very evident in seeing the soulful expressions on each of their faces just before a squat or starting position. From talking to most of the lifters, it seemed they were after personal goals more so than competing against others. Some of these lifters compete with a team within a flight. Motivational talks are constantly communicated. So, on the bench press there was a fellow team member shouting "up, up, up." Or on the squats I heard over and over "piece of cake," "let's do this," or "steady." There was a lot of comradery exhibited in a variety of ways: a simple task of tweaking someone's belt, motivating lifter on platform, massaging tense muscles, or a simple pat on the back for a job well done. A lot was to be learned from these lifters: strong work ethic, focus, individual determination, and follow through. Plus some really cool photography was yet to be made with all of the unique facial contortions and unique body movements. A lot of heavy weight weight was being bumped around. Look out World, America is strong. There were those lifting much heavier weight with no images or words about here. This is just to mislead the competition. Competition results will be posted here, maybe.