The Arnold was an awesome trip and everybody should go once to see the sights and events. I had a good training cycle leading up to the Arnold and had hit a 1,025 squat, 705 bench press, and 785 deadlift. My goals for the meet were around those numbers. I opened the squat with 954 and dumped the bar and pulled my calf in the process. Then I went to 976 and squatted it easy for 3 white lights. This beat the IPF Open World Record by 6 lbs. I then moved up to 1,025 and squatted it but got turned down 2-1 on depth. The bench press was very close but not all there. I pressed 635, 672, and got called on 705 for a soft lockout. The deadlifts went poor partially due to my calf. I opened with a conservative 715 to secure the WR and got called for a hitch – which was a surprise because I have never hitched a sumo pull in my life, so something was off. I repeated the 715 and got it, then went to 766 and got turned down 2-1 for a hitch again. I still have some learning to do in the gear but I walked away with 1st Place and had the highest Wilks among all men, women, ages, and weight classes. I am very grateful to Dan, Jen, my parents, and the Soehners. RMLC has a great support crew and we were really represented well at the Arnold!


Jen Gaudreau, Gage Soehner, and Blaine Sumner from Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Lifting Club made an impressive showing in the Brown’s Gym Pro Powerlifting competition at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio on March 3rd.

Jen took 2nd in the Women’s 63kg class with a 442.5 kg (975 lb) total. With a 5 of 9 performance Jen squatted 167.5 kg (369 lb), benched 107.5 kg (237 lb), and deadlifted 167.5 kg (369 lb). Jen’s bench was a PR and she was in contention for the win against a lifter 17 years younger.

Gage placed 3rd in the Men’s 120kg class with a 912.5 kg (2012 lb) total. Gage went 6 for 9 with a 370 kg (816 lb) squat, a 240 kg (529 lb) bench, and a 302.5 kg (667 lb) deadlift. Gage earned PRs in both the squat and total along with membership in the 2000 lb club.

Blaine won the Men’s SHW class and took Best Lifter with a 1072.5 kg (2364 lbs). Blaine got 4 of 9 lifts including a World Record 442.5 kg (975 lb) squat, a 305 kg (672 lb) bench, and a 325 (716 lb) deadlift. In addition to his World Record squat Blaine’s total puts him second all-time in the USAPL to Brian Siders. It should also be noted that although all his 3rd attempts were turned down, they were all completed and would have tied the World Record total.

Complete results for the powerlifting competitions at the Arnold Classic can be found at Congratulations to these lifters. Each of them have written a post of their Arnold experience.

Gage Soehner from Rocky Mountain Lifting Club was a member of the USA team competing in the IPF Open World Championships which took place in Pilsen, Czech Republic from November 7th to 13th. This was Gage’s first World Championship, he competed in the 120KG (264 lb) weight class which included 23 lifters and place 11th.

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Here is Gage’s report on his first World Championships:

Flight over was very long, and due to the rescheduling of my lifting from Sunday to Saturday, it was half rushed.  We flew 10 hrs to Frankfurt, then a flight to Munich, then a bus to Friesing, then a train to Pilsen, then a taxi to the hotel.  The total amount of hours of travel that “day” was 36 hours of my wife Alisson and I being awake.  Sleep was screwed up due to the time change and marathon traveling.  Anyway, we got in at 11 pm on Thursday and basically slept all day Friday.  Bodyweight was 265 basically during the daytime.

I threw up Friday night due to something, virus/food/nerves were probably all accountable.  Anyway I woke up Saturday and weighed 263, went and had some breakfast, then I went back to sleep.  Weighed in at 3 PM at 119.4 kilos.

Squat warm ups were fine, last one was 675 in full gear
727 opener easy enough, got forward a bit
771 good, little bit of a “oscillation” out of the hole but it went up fine
794 easy lift miss on depth, easiest lift of all three.

Upon review of the film I think the depth call was BS, my third was just as deep as my first two, and as deep as the squats passed in the “A” flight.

[Gage was not the only one to dispute the call on his depth – he was robbed]

Bench warm ups were good, last one 496 in the shirt
507 opener miss.  We didn’t pull the shirt down much (which was my request), and the spotter handed off and then stood there for like 5 seconds, I didn’t say “I got it” so he continued to stand there.  By the time I got the press command I felt like I had held it for ten seconds, haha, and couldn’t lock it out.
507 second smoked it, made sure to yell when I had the handoff
535 third was easy and fast, but I did receive one red light because I brought the bar a little low

606 easy
651 easy
672 easy
I really felt like I could have went over 700 here.

1979 total.  Last total at 120kg bodyweight was 1950, so it makes this a PR.  I think I have more strength than what the total was. All my lifts were easy besides the first bench obviously.  Attempts were conservative and that’s fine, given the nervous state I was in.  In the future I am going to bump up my openers.  I think I am quite a bit more comfortable competing now that I have done all of the big meets (Nationals, Arnold, Worlds)

Judging on the world level has the inherent quality to be inconsistent, as there are 50+ judges at the event. They are tight on some things, loose on others, and it will vary depending on who is in the chair.

Overall it was a good experience, and an honor to be a part of it all!  Huge thanks to Dan Gaudreau and my wife Alisson for the invaluable help.

The Russians that went first and second didn’t look like they were powerlifters at all, it amused me.  In your head you paint this mental image of Ivan Drago from Rocky 4 but Maxim Barkhatov (120kg winner) looks like he works at Big O tire, not like an 850lb deadlifter.

Everyone of the US team was very friendly and helpful.  As a team we didn’t perform as high as we wanted, but we had a couple of National Champions on the men’s team choose not to compete (Nick Weite, Kenneth Ruben).

Congratulations to Gage on his outstanding debut performance on the World stage. It is amazing to see him putting up PRs after the jet lag he had to endure. If you have seen Gage train at RMLC you know he has lots more in the tank and will be pushing his numbers much higher in the future.

Watch this video clip with Dan and Jen Gaudreau of Rocky Mountain Lifting Club:

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The 2012 NAPF/Pan Am Bench Press Championships will be held on the weekend of Nov 17-18, 2012 at the Red Lion Hotel in Aurora, Colorado.  Competitors from North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean Nations will be in attendance.

Tyler Moore, Sergey Shadioun, Volodymyr Narloskyy and Tom Cencich all won their respective divisions at the NAPF Bench Press Championships in Miami, Florida on October 8, 2011.  This was the first international competition for Tyler & Sergey. Volodymyr made an attempt at the open world record and Tom made an attempt at the M2 world record.  The record attempts were not successful this time but we are sure they will make these numbers very soon.

The NAPF Bench Press team was coached by Colorado State Chair, Dan Gaudreau.

Dan Gaudreau and Tyler Moore

Colorado lifters made an impressive showing at the IPF Masters World Championships which took place from 9/26 to 10/1 in St. Catharines, Canada. Dan Gaudreau won his 9th IPF World Championship wining the Superheavyweight M2 title, breaking World Records in the Bench and Total, and earning the Silver Medal (based on Wilks) overall lin M2. Ron Garafalo also broke a World Record in the Deadlift at 83kg M2 and Rob Grisham won the 120kg M4 World Championship Title. The USA team included 6 Colorado lifters and  took first in Men’s Masters 1 and 2, first in Women’s Masters 1 and 2, and  third in Men’s Masters 3 (there was no Women’s Masters 3 team placings). Following are the performances of the Colorado contingent:

















Ron Garofalo

Masters 2

83 KG










Dan Gaudreau

Masters 2

120+ KG










Alex Galant

Masters 3

59 KG










Mark Cucinella

Masters 3

74 KG










Rob Grisham

Masters 4

120 KG










Toni Kemper

Masters 1

57 KG










Congratulations to these Colorado members of the USA World Team for their personal showing and their contribution to the USA team’s championships.

Rocky Mountain Lifting Club had 3 lifters competing in the USAPL 2011 Raw Nationals in Scranton, PA. Scranton is a picturesque old town that is home to a number of colleges including the University of Scranton. It has some beautiful old buildings and some good restaurants that were within a few blocks of the venue. With 336 lifters the Raw Nationals was a monster meet and had to run 3 platforms on some of the days. That required a lot of referees and support and kept the sole announcer incredibly busy. Clearly raw lifting has taken off.

On 20 August Tom O’Keefe and his grandson Aidan O’Keefe lifted. Aidan and Tom both turned in excellent performances hitting 8 out of 9 lifts and achieving personal bests in all 3 lifts. Aidan won silver in the Teen 2 220 lb class (SQ-242, BP-143, DL-320, Total-705). Tom took gold in the Master 4B 198lb class (SQ-220, BP-182, DL-314, Total-716). Grandpa is still on top in the total! Aidan has made excellent progress and it has been great watching him grow in both size and strength while training at RMLC with his grandfather. Tom also set American and National Meet records in the squat, deadlift and total.

On 21 August Blaine Sumner competed in the Open SHWT class. Blaine also hit 8 of his 9 lifts equaling Ettore Ewen with a 2,039 total (SQ-854, BP-452, DL-733) but taking silver on bodyweight. It was a thrilling contest in Superheavys with Blaine’s record shattering 854 lb squat giving him a 143 lb lead. Ewen reduced that lead by 77 lbs in the bench leaving Blaine 66 lbs ahead going into the deadlift. Blaine opened conservatively in the deadlift to protect his record squat allowing Ewen to move into the lead then pulled 705 to move into the lead on his second attempt. Ewen then pulled 771 to move back into a tie. After watching that pull Blaine called for 733 on his final deadlift expecting that Ewen would not be able to pull 799 to match Blaine’s total. Blaine succeeded with his 733 moving back into first place then watched as Ewen struggled but got 2 white lights to tie on the total and win gold based on  lower bodyweight.

Although disappointed in not winning gold,  Blaine had only had 3 weeks of preparation for this competition as he had been training for football up until that time expecting to be in an NFL camp. His Wilks total was the 3rd best of the competition behind only Ewen and Mike Tuchscherer (formerly of Colorado) who won outstanding lifter honors. Blaines’s 854 lb squat broke his own USAPL open raw squat record by 50 lbs and according the Powerlifting Watch is the heaviest drug-tested raw (no knee wraps) squat ever recorded in the world. Powerlifting Watch’s All-Time American rankings (tested and untested federations) have him No. 2 in the raw squat  and No. 6 in the raw total.

Here is a link to the video of Blaine’s  854 lb squat (you may need Dramamine after watching):


Congratulations to Aidan, Tom, and Blaine for their performances at Raw Nationals.

USAPL Colorado had 2 lifters represent the USA at the BP World Championships in Solden, Austria.  They were sub junior lifter Omar Valdez and open lifter Jennifer Gaudreau.  Jennifer was also the coach for the sub jr and jr teams.  This is only the second world championships with the new weight classes.  Omar went up to the 66kg class and Jennifer went down to the 57kg weight class.  Both lifting on the same day, it made for a busy day for team USA.

Jennifer, in true form, weighed in at 57kg on the dot.  She smoked her opener of 90kgs (198lbs) and went to 102.5kgs (225lbs).  This was a fairly big jump, however a very achievable weight, and needed to keep her in the medal hunt.  The lift was not successful as Jennifer was not able to push the weight up.  Another small jump was taken, 2.5kg,  to try and bump up a placing.  She made some slight technical and gear adjustments and the lift looked better but Jennifer was again unsuccessful.  The final placing for her was 6th place.  In looking back at the competition Jennifer stated,  “This was a new weight class for me, dropping 3kgs (6.6 lbs) is a lot on someone my size.  I always learn something from each meet.  This time I learned (again!) that I really, I mean really, HATE to sauna.  Lifting in the 60kg class for so long I had it all dialed in and knew where I needed to be when I got on the plane.  I need to be much closer to 57 kg when traveling in the future.”

Omar had the pleasure of gaining a few kgs as his new weight class was 66kg, he weighed in light at 63.10kg.  Not only was this Omar’s first time competing at the World Championships, it was the first time he had ever been on an airplane.  Omar stated “I was honored that I was representing my country at the IPF World Bench Press Championships.  I was also nervous to be competing against the best lifters in the world!”  With this being Omar’s first World Championships his opener was quite conservative, 80kg (176lbs).  He pushed it up with ease and the 2nd attempt was turned in at 85kg (187lbs).  Omar pushed it up, again with ease, unfortunately his butt came off the bench and he was not awarded the lift.  Since his 2nd attempt was easy the coaches decided to go ahead and add more weight for his 3rd attempt, there was nothing to lose.  The bar was loaded to 90kg (198lbs).  Unfortunately Omar had the same issue and he was red lighted for his butt coming up again.  In Omar’s reflection of the meet he said “To me it did not matter what place I came in, I had a fun time and a great experience.  Now I know for next year I have to work on a few technical things and I will give them a run for their money.”

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Congratulations to Omar and Jennifer for representing USAPL Colorado like champions!