I competed at the IPA Flex Lewis Classic in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on October 7th, 2017. I competed as a super heavyweight for the first time ever in my 25 years of competing. I competed in the men's multi-ply bench only super heavyweight class, men's open and masters divisions at 43 years old and at a bodyweight of 314 pounds on meet day.

I have been training tentatively for this meet for about six months. If my body held together and my injuries did not become any worse, I felt like I could do a multi-ply bench only meet. I knew there would not be a lifetime PR multi-ply bench press at this meet for me, but what I could do is strike another bucket list personal accomplishment off my shrinking powerlifting to-do list. That bucket list personal accomplishment would be to bench press 700 pounds or more in my fourth multi-ply weight class. I have benched 700 at 242, 730 at 275, 805 at 308 and now 735 at SHW.

I had nine competing Team Nebobarbell lifters to coach, call depth, call attempts, hand-off, and support, plus myself competing at this powerlifting meet.

We attended this powerlifting meet last year (2016) and it was so f'n awesome. I did not compete at it and hated that I didn't because it was so awesome. I told my team that if I could remain healthy, I planned on doing it next year (2017). Our training cycle went excellent over the past five months (off-season of eight weeks plus a meet training cycle of 12 weeks, for a 20-week training cycle). I could really see my lifters taking another step forward in their training, diets, cardio, PR's in the gym, competitiveness with each other, hunger, drive, dedication, and more. It was easy to see even several weeks out that my team was hitting on all cylinders for this meet.


We had four female lifters and six male lifters competing at this meet. Every Team Nebobarbell member competing or not competing was there helping out and supporting. And let's not forget all of the team members' spouses, kids, friends, and family members that attended. Everyone included, around 40 total people made that five-hour drive! I am a numbers guy and believe that numbers do not lie. So after every meet we compete in, I like to evaluate how we did as a team, what we excelled at, and what we need to work on. Here is our list of stats from last weekend's IPA Flex Lewis Classic in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where 10 Team Nebobarbell lifters competed:


  • 22 of 27 attempts made
  • 8 of 9 lifters hit a PR
  • 577 pounds of total PR's achieved


  • 22 of 30 attempts made
  • 9 of 10 lifters hit a PR
  • 975 pounds of total PR's achieved


  • 21 of 27 attempts made
  • 7 of 9 lifters hit a PR
  • 433 pounds of total PR's achieved

Placing, Records, and Achievements

  • 5 IPA World Records set
  • 1 Overall Best Lifter award
  • 2 Open Elite Pro Totals
  • 1 Masters Elite Pro Total
  • 8 first place finishes
  • 4 second place finishes
  • 1 cash payout
  • 1 junior lifter with the biggest raw squat of the meet with 700 pounds
  • 1 teen lifter with a 600-pound raw squat
  • 2 lifters went 9 for 9
  • 2 lifters went 8 for 9
  • No bomb-outs
  • No injuries


For myself, I had to re-up my Rhodestown membership and gain almost 17 total pounds to get myself above 308 pounds so I could be a SHW. I weighed in at 311 pounds but weighed 314 on meet day — my heaviest competing bodyweight ever. If you’re a gear whore then you understand extra bodyweight changes the dynamics of your gear, especially in a bench shirt.

Touching becomes even more of a task than it already is with tight gear (which I am a fan of). In the warm-up room, everything was feeling fine raw. Then after it was time to shirt up, I knew it was going to be a toughie for me getting that bar to touch with what I consider lightweight. But again, I was not going for a lifetime PR. I wanted something around 700 pounds. I was being conservative, and conservative is not my thing when competing. I try to always remain smart and go for a PR first, then attempt whatever it takes to win. If there is not a chance of winning then lets up the PR.

But that was not the case for this meet. I opened with 705 pounds. This is light for me, but not really heavy enough for the shirt and the added weight. I was hoping it would be. It was not. Not even close. I called for them to take it as I hovered around an inch or two over my belly. No need to waste any more energy than I already had. I called for 720 for my second attempt. It was the same battle. I finally touched, but pressed it into the racks and the weight was grabbed. More red lights. So there I was again. 0-2. Third attempt. Either get it for my fourth weight class with an over-700-pound bench press of my career, win the money, win the meet, be the leader I am supposed to be, and show I am clutch when I need to be, or bomb like a punk and wonder if I still have it at 43 years old. Third attempt. I call for 735 pounds. It's now or never. I believe in myself. I trust in my training and I know without a shadow of a doubt I am going to get this. Hand-off is great, descent to my belly is great, lockout is great. Three white lights, baby! Mission complete!

I really hate being in that position, but making a lift like that with everything on the line at a meet like this with a ton of legendary lifters lifting and watching made that moment even sweeter. Heck, even Louie gave me some love afterward! That was icing on the cake!

I finished:

  • First Place Men's Open, Multi-Ply Bench Only, SHW Class
  • First Place Men's Masters, Multi-Ply Bench Only, SHW Class
  • Best Overall Multi-Ply Bench Only Lifter
  • Cash Payout

I have a few more "competition bucket list" lifts that I still want to accomplish:

  • 700-pound deadlift
  • 800-pound raw squat
  • 1000-pound multi-ply squat
  • 2300-pound multi-ply total
  • Five elite totals (I have three now)

I want to thank my daughter, Katelyn, for believing in me and loving her daddy. I want to thank my rock, my support system, my fiancé, Melissa, AKA Lil Momma. She takes care of me and loves me like I have never known. If I had to choose between breathing and loving you, I would use my last breath to tell you I love you. Thank you for all you do, baby!


I want to thank Dave Tate and Traci Tate for sticking by this old country boy in the middle of nowhere (Nebo, North Carolina) for these past 10 years. I have taken pride being a part of your great company since day one and that has not changed at all. I am honored to be an elitefts team member. '

I want to thank all of Team Nebobarbell Teammates. Without each of you, I am nothing. You guys and girls are my brothers and sisters. My real family. Thank you to each of you for believing in me and supporting this old man. I love y'all with all I am.

Thank you to all the Team Nebobarbell family members, friends, spouses and kids that came to support us all!

Thank you to Team USPlabs for keeping my body filled with the best premium supplements available. You guys keep this old man and this old battered body grinding and continuing to hit meet PRs and conquering goals.

Big thanks to Minna and Ano for making the best powerlifting gear on the planet, Go Metal!

Thanks to all the loaders, spotters, judges, table crew, DJ, meet director Bobby Betts, all the fellow lifters competing at this meet, the IPA, and Flex Lewis for making this one of the best events I have ever been a part of.