Chairman’s Notes

This will be my last year as chairman and also my last year as a meet director.  I know that some people would like me to stand for chairman again and continue with the meets.  However, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer de novo and I would like to change the way I live and spend my time because it would seem I don’t have much of that left.

In early November there will be a call to all interested members to put their resume’s forward for chairmanship candidacy. There will, for the first time, be an election to decide on the new chairman.  It will be an electronic process, managed by the USA Powerlifting National Office.

Meets will continue.  Gina Hensley is working on her own powerlifting meet company and will be up and running before I close my office door.

12 October 2019

The Rookie Rumble was a huge success, if one looks at the growth in powerlifting.  My first Rookie meet 3 years ago had 14 interested lifters and this year, the Rookie meet filled 2 platforms in 36 hours.

The talent we saw at this meet was phenomenal.  The Master lifters made a big impact and many new Michigan master records were set.

The USA Powerlifting Michigan membership has doubled since 2016.  It is truly exciting.  We hope that this trend in growth continues.

29 September 2019

The Iron Monger was a very small meet, only 21 lifters showed.  However, it was a great meet with an energetic atmosphere.  The spectators really got behind the lifters.  The best female lifter was Jennifer Kowalczyk, who had been in a car accident a month before this meet.  This lady obviously has grit.  The best male lifter has been chasing the best lifter award for a while, but Donald Watts made good work of it at this meet.

There were quite a few rookies at this meet, which always makes a meet special.  The best female master lifter of the day was a rookie!

The meet was small, but it was memorable.  The venue was clean and the hosts were excellent.  Great job by all, from the spotters and loaders to the drug testers!

22 June 2019

The Rochester Performance Gym BarBellum was a meet for the record books.  The meet sold out within 6 hours.  This was a mind blowing event for the meet director – seeing that this was also a double platform meet.  This meet was well attended by lifters and spectators.  Only 2 registered lifters did not make it to check-in, so we had two full platforms.  The venue let us know that it was a record spectator attendance for them too – with approximately 300 visitors.  We saw a number of Michigan records fall at this meet.  We also saw some known lifters returning to the platform after a period of absence., such as the best male lifter, Jordan Bywater.  The top three lifters of the day were all females, based on IPF points.  The top lifter of the day was Samantha Shinavier, a newbie!

It was a great meet.

4 May 2019

The Spring BarBellum was well attended.  It was another stellar meet at Rochester Performance gym. Keara Wilson a 72kg Junior was the best overall lifter of the day with a 422 total and a 728 IPF point score.  Terry Ahlander took the best overall male trophy with a 742 total.

7 April 2019

The Motor City BarBellum, a 2 platform meet, was held at Motor City Iron Gym in Sterling Heights yesterday.  Everything was first class, except the software we used let us down.  It grouped the 83 and 93 kg divisions together, even after manually changing the weights.  It will be brought to the attention of the national office.

The meet was good for many reasons.  We had a good mix of new and seasoned lifters.  I believe that it creates a good platform where the ‘newbies’ can learn and the seasoned lifters are reminded of how far they have come.  The venue was great.  A big open space with elbow room and the facilities were clean and inviting.  The spotters and loaders were on par, so the meet progressed at an impressive speed.

We did not see a lot of Michigan records being broken, but we did see many personal records being set.

It was a good meet with many new friends made.

24 February 2019

The 3D Fit BarBellum meet was held at 3D fit Arena in Riverview yesterday.  It is a new venue and it is hopefully a great space we will visit again.  The owners and operators Tim and Donna were gracious guests and very helpful.   The best male lifter was Dante Dalton and the best female lifter, Susan Mattingly.   Susan was not only the best female, but placed second overall.

A young first-time lifter, Seiry Morales, broke every record on her weight class. She is an impressive young lifter we will hopefully see more of in the future.

Overall, this was a good meet. Some new friends were made and we hope to see you all in the near future.

#michiganliftingmagic is alive and kicking!

January 2019

The new year is here and we already have 9 sanctioned meets on the 2019 Calendar.  The first meet, the High School Qualifier, had to be cancelled due to a lack of registrations.  However, there were 10 youngsters needing to qualify for Nationals.  We ended up having a ‘garage meet’ at Wixom Lake to give these young lifters a chance to qualify and 8 out of 10 did so!

We are looking forward to this year with a couple of new venues.  There are more meets in the Southern part of the state.

The State meet and Rookie meet does not have a venue as of now, but we are working on finding a suitable venue with the required amenities.

USA Powerlifting Michigan has almost doubled its membership numbers since 2016!  We hope for this to continue.

See you on a platform soon.

4 November

The Michigan Teen and Youth meet was held on 3 November at Birch Run High School.  It was a very small meet, with only 20 lifters.  Most of the lifters were from Goodrich High School, trained by coach Ron.  We saw many new Teen records and Youth records being set.  The new talent in this group of Teen and Youth lifters was phenomenal and it makes one realize that this sport is growing and the future is very promising.  The outstanding lifters of the day were Aiden Roeder and Willow Tetmeyer.  They both set numerous records.  Aiden missed a 400 Wilks’ by 0.27, a personal goal of his.  We hope to see them on a platform again soon.

The youth lifter of the day as Macy Smith.  This young lady made her debut on the platform a couple of years ago and her progress was evident yesterday.

The Chairman’s Choice went to a young lifter named Daniel Leone – he went 8 for 9 with an injured knee, but showed grace and sportsmanship on the platform.

14 October 2018

The Michigan Iron Monger was held on 13 October in Rochester Hills, at Rochester Performance Gym.  This is one of the favorite venues due to the cleanliness of the gym and the support provided by the owners, Steve and Amanda Stuecher.

The Iron Monger is an annual push/pull meet.  It was well attended, with 50 lifters.  Almost 50% of the lifters were rookies, which made this meet very exciting to watch.  The third attempt deadlifts, especially by the rookies, were a crowd pleaser.

Some lifters noted that the information did not show new records being broken, but that was due to the fact that lifters were comparing their efforts to the full lift records and not the push/pull records.  We did, however, see some new records set by masters.

Corissa Geer dominated the female lifting and Basel Elias took best male lifter.   Both awards well deserved by these two Michiganders.

We look forward to this meet next year.  It will be held at Rochester Performance Gym again, on 28 September 2019.  Hopefully we can repeat the energy and great effort.

16 September 2018

The Rookie Rumble was held at Raw Mana in Holland on 15 September.  It was a very good meet.  Out of the 44 registered lifters, 37 showed up and it was a magnificent show of new talent.

The overall best lifter was a female lifter! Chandler Babb is a young lifter, trained by Rudi.  She deadlifted three times her body weight and her other achievements are also worth looking at.  Coming in a 71kg, she benched 87.5 kg and had an impressive 145kg squat.  I do believe we will see more from Chandler in the future.

Raw Mana was a great venue.  The crowd was loud and responsive.  It sure is a meet to remember.


2018 has started with vigor. The first meet of the year as the Michigan High School meet where we saw numerous records broken and a number of athletes qualify for nationals.

Our 2018 calendar is rather full this year.  We have a meet almost every 6 to 8 weeks, which makes for an exciting lifting year.  The meets are filling up quickly, quicker than expected.  Getting your registration in when its opens is important.  The meets are all capped and therefore the first to register are the first to make the roster.

I have been asked why the meets are capped.  The answer is all in the capacity to provide a well-run and manageable meet.  It is important for meets to start on time nd not to continue into all hours of the night.  The referees, spotters and loaders work throughout the meet and also reach a point where it becomes task instead of being a pleasure.  Each platform requires at least 5 referees and 8 spotters and loaders – referees and people willing to load weights for hours on end are in short supply.  So, to make the meets manageable for the meet director and to keep volunteers willing to come back, we have to restrict the number of lifters per platform.  Why not run 3 platforms?  Well, that entails quite a bit of additional equipment and volunteers.  It is much easier said than done.  Currently we have one promotor running meets in Michigan and their capacity ends at 2 platforms and 90 lifters.

The economics of running a meet

I thought I would write a bit about the economics of a meet.  It seems that many lifters think that a meet simply appears on the day, like magic.    There also seems to be a common belief that running a meet is free and that the meet director is given all the equipment for free.

We have great days filled with drug-free lifting because someone is working and paying to make it happen.

There is an enormous effort that takes place before any of it comes to the point where you click and register for a meet.  After that, there is another enormous effort before the chief referee says the word, “Start”.

Firstly, we need a way to communicate with the lifters and provide a way for them to register.  So, there is the cost of the website and the cost of maintaining the website.  Furthermore, making the meets known via Facebook marketing is not for free either.  The paid FaceBook marketing is also covered by the meet director.

Then the meet director has to acquire equipment, a platform and everything that goes with that.  From the floor protection demanded by the venue, to the bars, calibrated weights, calibrated scales, ER rack, collars, weight trees, computers, projectors, screens, tables and the other bits and pieces to make the meet run.  The ‘little things’ like t-shirts, baggies filled with goodies and providing lunch for the officials, also has to be paid for.

Venues don’t host meets for free.  The meet director has to negotiate a fee with the owners.  The venue fee, depending on the size of the meet, can be up to 15% of registration fees.

Getting the equipment to and from the venue is also something that bears some attention.  Hauling 3000-6000 lbs from one part of Michigan to another, takes some doing.  Whatever is used has to be road worthy and capable of moving that amount of weight safely.  Payment for the truck, trailer and the accompanying insurance does not come cheap.

Setting up for a meet takes time.  Registrations have to be captured and the administration around it takes many man hours.  From personal experience, a meet can take up to 250 hours from beginning to end.

The equipment has to be set up the night before the meet.  Once the platform is up, sleep for those who have to work the next day is important and driving home is not always an option. The local hotel/motel does not house people for free.

During the meet we need officials, computers, volunteers, software that works and ways to project the loading charts on screens for loaders.  Talking to the crowds and lifters also requires some form of a portable sound system.

After the meet we need medals, awards, certificates and furthermore each drug test has to be paid for by the meet director.  All of this comes at a cost which is not negligible.  Once all is done, the administrative process requires that the results are sorted and uploaded to the national office.  Documentation for every meet has to be filed and fees need to be paid.  The records have to be double checked before posted and the urine has to be sent off to a clinic in CA for testing.

All of these costs are covered by the meet director, whether the lifter shows up at the meet, or not.  A refund costs the meet director.  Money for all these expenses comes from registration fees.

USA Powerlifting is a brand, it does not own any equipment and it does not contribute to any of the expenses.

All the equipment, from the USA Powerlifting banners (which have to be purchased from USA Powerlifting) to the collars on the bar, belong to the meet director.   The meet director pays the federation for the use of the brand name and to have the meet sanctioned. This adds a great flavor to the meet because we know the playing field is level and we have records to compare ourselves with.  It also gives the lifter the possibility to lift on a regional and national level.

Weeks of prep and organization goes into getting it all set up for the big day.   If this is not done well, the meet will reflect that.  I try to keep our meets professional and fun, this can only be done while there is money to cover these costs.  Anyone who thinks this is a profitable business, think again.  Making a profit should not be a motivation to run a meet.

Lastly, most lifters seem to think it is wrong for a meet director to make a profit based on his/her hard work, dedication and effort.  The meet director will never become wealthy, the profit margin is too small and is non-existent, whilst the loans for the equipment have not been paid off.  Furthermore, expecting a person to work for no reward does not seem fair.  The meets are not run by USA Powerlifting, it is run by a promoter who only derives an income from the registration fees.

So, registration fees will not be refunded. Registration fees will also not be transferred.

On another note, our calendar has grown and we will continue to do so for as long as lifters want to lift.  We would like to bring more meets across Michigan and we are always looking for new venues suitable for a meet.  If you have a powerlifting friendly gym, please put them on our list!

Best of luck to all our Michigan lifters in the upcoming meets.

Many happy and heavy lifts!

Regards,
Alex.