Rick Lawrence had a very well organized meet at a great venue. The venue was a very large gym, Cor Fitness, in New Port, Richey.

I didn't have any trouble dropping the weight this time and although our home scale said 164.4 pounds on Friday morning, I weighed in at 162...once again lighter than planned. I was able to put all of my weight back on and I felt extremely well. All of my warm-ups felt light.


First Attempt

  • 771 Pound Opener - beat Jo's command, cut it high, and knew it.

Second Attempt

  • 771 Pound Repeat - waited for Jo's call, was sure I had it in, got one white from a side judge, but a red on depth from the other side and the head judge? When I asked the head judge if he was judging depth from the front, he stated "I try not to." This made, and still makes, no sense to me at all. Jo stated to the side judge that he called me up at the same point as our other two lifters who got their squats, but I didn't get mine.

Third Attempt

  • 826 Pounds - I thought I might as well try for a PR to put my total goal within reach. I waited for Jo's call, came up with it and fought for it with all I had, but even though the head judge called the rack command I was called for other reasons (possibly a change of direction or incomplete lockout) and ended up with three reds. I was told that my depth was perfect on this one from the side judges.

Although all of my motivation was lost, Dale reminded me that he had made the trip specifically to hand off to me in the bench. The meet director, Rick Lawrence, was nice enough to let me compete in the bench only, so I decided to try to salvage what I could of the day.

First Attempt

  • 584 Pounds - good

Second Attempt

  • 628 Pounds - for a PR, but took it too low and dumped it

Third Attempt

  • 628 Pound Repeat - pressed it to just short of lockout. It couldn't have been any closer. Once again, the head judge said "rack it" instead of "take it" giving me a brief glimmer of hope that I had locked it out. I bench for a total, so I think I would've had a better shot knowing that it counted for something.

This was a very frustrating day. I could've deadlifted too, but had enough disappointment for one day to risk any more of my dignity.

Congratulations to the following Orlando Barbell lifters who had great days:

Brian Tincher got an 810 squat, 540 bench and 633 pound deadlift. This got him a 1983 pound total in the 181-pound weight class and best lightweight lifter.

Greg Godwin got a 661 squat, 396 bench and 562 pound deadlift. This got him a 1619 pound total and 1st place in the 198-pound weight class.

My client and friend, Larry Grant, benched 496 and hit a PR pull of 584 pounds in the Masters 275-pound weight class.

Congratulations to John Land for not only finally breaking 600 in the bench, but smashing it! John benched 628 pounds in the 181-pound weight class to take best lifter in the bench. This gave him the 14th highest bench of all-time in the 181 class! I only have video of his 611.

I finally got to see Jacksonville's Billy "Tank" Tutko lift after years of seeing him handle other lifters. He put up some huge raw numbers. One of the most impressive lifts of the day had to be Mike Schwanke of Tampa Barbell's opening raw bench of 501 pounds. He only weighed in at 200 pounds, and this was the first time he competed in years after being deployed by the Air Force.

Usually I walk away from meets knowing what to improve for the next one. This time, I'm dumbfounded. My training was right on, I was strong, and I know the depth I need to squat to depending on my technique for both raw and equipped. I felt that I did what I always do to squat and to the what the rules state. I was even asked if I had beef with the judges and was told "I'm judged to a higher standard." One thing I did take from this is that if I'm going to put my body through all of this, I might as well save it for a couple big meets a year, most likely the Pro/Ams. The August meet is too close, so I guess I'll have to wait for the March one now, if any. I'm honestly not sure what to think. For the first time in my life after competing for over 16 years, I have no desire to compete again. I feel like I gave everything I had and my goals were within my grasp...only to be denied.

Normally I would get pissed, motivated and immediately set my sights on another meet, but not this time. I've been training for meets non-stop for years and although I'm not injured physically, I need a break mentally. I also have some personal matters I need to take care of without having to worry about an upcoming meet.

I'll try to take a week off or so and see how things go from there.

Dale Lance, Trinity, Me, Jo Jordan, Greg Godwin, Brian Tincher, John Land, Caleb Land, Wendy Land. Missing: Marky Mark Lessmann, Ronnie Paras, Sheila Crisp. Thanks for all of your help everyone.