Westside Barbell- The Strongest Gym In The World


Posted on October 14 2016

As always, Mike Ferguson, owner of the Powerstation gym in Cincinnati, OH hosted a great three day meet on August 20-22nd. Mike’s motto is no mistakes and there were none. It was held at the Fairfield Banquet and Convention Hall, a beautiful venue.

With the help of Jesse Rodgers, founder and President of the S.P.F., who supplies the equipment which includes identical equipment in the warm-up room as on the lifting platform, Four monolifts with safety straps, four Forza benches, all Okie Deadlift bars, Texas Power Bars and four Mastodon Bars were used.

No surprises on the platform. Mike and Jesse’s work is well recognized and appreciated. The price money was huge in the amount of $23,700. It came from our gracious sponsors such as Musclepharm, Rogue Fitness, Legend fitness, Cell Block Gym, Powerstation Gym, Jump Stretch, Westside Barbell, Atlarge Nutrition, APT, House of Pain, Clarks Auto, Billy Ayash, Sweatt Shop Gym, Eaton Barbell and Anderson Powerlifting.

The referees were from the S.P.F. who was Wade Johnson, Joe Ladiner, Mark Bell, Brad Bishop and Jesse Rodgers. In the past, I have brought referees from the I.P.A., W.P.C. the former W.P.O. and even the I.P.F. to eliminate politics.

But this year their governing bodies refused permission to judge the Powerstation Pro/Am, threatening to suspend some for a year. I can honestly see why. If the lifters from those organizations came to a real meet with great equipment, good judging and $23,700 they would stay in the S.P.F., the best organization for powerlifting in the United States. Thanks for men like Mike Ferguson and Jesse Rodgers for their tireless help.

On Saturday, the light weight Pro’s took the stage. There was nothing light about the lifting as we were about to find out. At 148 lbs body weight, Mike Anderson was impressive squatting at 630 lbs, benching 385 lbs and a 500 lbs deadlift to total 1515 and take first place. In second, Westside Barbell L.J. Hackett made 525 lbs squat opener, 360 lbs bench press and a 525 lbs deadlift to hit 1410.

At 165 lbs body weight, Laura Phelps was the only remaining lifter after Brian Schwab bombed in the squat. He came in very light at 157 lbs body weight that could have affected him somewhat.

Back to Laura, lifting for Westside, she opened at 700 lbs and took all three attempts to make it. After a shaky start she was four for four making 455 lbs opener 485 lbs on the second and a world record 510 lbs on a third bench. But not to be out done, a fourth at 525 lbs was blasted up, unreal for a woman.

There are only a handful of women who can qualify for the Powerstation Pro/Am which requires a male USPF elite total. I hope to see more next year. If there is more then one, we will offer cash. Laura makes token 155 lbs deadlift, and then proceeded to pull 515 lbs and 545 lbs to total 1755 world record. And on top of that tried 585 lbs world record but missed. She is the current queen of powerlifting and the king would be up soon.

After Westsider Tony Ramos bombed in the bench press, the 181’s had four competitors left. My friend of many years, Sakari Selekainaho of Finland came to lift, doing the best of his life at 48 years old. At an all time 770 lbs squat, an all time 495 lbs bench, and a turn down at 510 lb bench and a 535 lbs deadlift, to give Sakari a lift time 1800 lbs total.

Next up Westside’s Arnold Coleman came in third place. Nursing some injuries, Arnold made 700 lbs squat and passed his third; a 550 lbs opener bench and misses 600 lbs. then after a 650 lbs opener pull two close misses 695 lbs to leave behind a 1900 lbs total.

Brian Tincher from Orlando Barbell was strong, making all three squats ending with 805 lbs. In the bench, again three for three, getting a 575 lb. bench. Brian made a 645 lbs opener in deadlift with misses at 665 lbs to total 2025 lbs.

In first place, Al Caslow of Big Iron Gym moved up from the 165 lbs class and it was a good move. At 177 lbs body weight he was three for three with a huge 910 lbs third. He should have tried a forth. Al’s opener bench at 525 lbs was solid. A miss then success with 540 lbs and he was off to a great sub total 1450 lbs. He walked through his deadlifts with 620 lbs, 650 lbs and 675 lbs to total 2125.

The 198’s had a casualty when Derek Wilcox squatted 865 lbs but bombed in the bench. This left one man, Mike Cartinian from Big Iron. Mike is the current world record holder in the squat and total at 181 lbs body weight but came in at a full 198 lbs body weight. We know he is a squat machine making 900 lbs, 950 lbs and a strong 975 lbs on his third. Mike can also bench, going three for three again. 685 lbs, 705 lbs and finally 715 lbs. Mike began his pulls with 610 lbs. and two more good deadlifts finishing with 660 lbs to total 2350, not bad to say the least.

The last class on Saturday was the 220’s but what a show! Chris Della-Fave of Skiba’s gym looked good in the squat, making 900 lbs, but the 600 lbs mark ended the show for Chris. This left four to battle it out.

In fourth place was the return of Phil Harrington of Cincinnati, Ohio. Phil squatted well as always making 890 lbs on a third. Injuries have hurt his bench, making 440 lbs on a second with a close miss at 465 lbs on his third. After opening at 610 lbs easy, 675 lbs and 715lbs would not go. This left Phil with 1940 lbs total and I am sure we have not seen the last of Phil.

In third place and in a close battle for second was Dan Tinajero only 23 years old from Orlando Barbell Club. It does not happen often for a great lifter to go nine for nine in a great meet. Dan squatted 840 lbs and a strong 670 lbs bench press to sub total 1510 lbs. An easy 625 lbs opener and Dan finished with 700 lbs to total 2210 lbs.

In second place from the Ukraine, Vlad Venglovschi came to lift in the strongest meet in the world. After a strong 880 lbs opener and a fine 925 lbs second, 965 lbs on a third was a touch too much. The bench gave him some trouble. A miss at 605lbs, but good on a repeat and finally 640 lbs was too heavy. The trip must be hard on the lifters traveling half way around the world as Vlad missed his opener deadlift at 705 lbs. He came back to make it on a second only to miss 770 lbs on his third, but a second place 2235 lbs total that I hope was reward enough to come back next year.

Now its show time! I take my hat off to Rick Hussey and his Big Iron bunch for being a well coached team as well as incredibly strong. The strongest was about to take center stage. Shawn Frankl, a Big Iron freak began his assault on the record books with two solid squats at 1005 lbs and 1060 lbs passing his third. Believe it or not Shawn was nursing a rib injury. His bench pressing was perfect at 875 lbs on a third to sub total a crazy for a 220’er 1935 lbs! Can he deadlift? Yes, 725 lbs was smoke a PR at 765 lbs for his second and a strong 780 lbs on his third to hit 2715 lbs total. Shawn now holds the 198 lbs and 220 lbs world total records. Will he go for the 242 lbs total as well? After all he is 75 lbs over the 242 lbs record now. Just how much can Shawn lift in the future? Nobody knows but the freak.

The cash winners:

Shawn Frankl $5,000

Mike Cartinian $2,000

Al Caslow $1,500




Heavy Weight Pro


The Sunday crew was a well balanced group. First up was the 242 lbs class. In third, was Shane Church of Westside Barbell. Shane hit a solid opener at 910 lbs, but was out of the grove with a second 960 lbs but came back to make it on a third. In the bench a 535 lbs opener was all there was that day. Shane made 625 lbs on his first. A second at 650 lbs was smooth but 680 lbs stalled at mid thigh. A 2145 lbs total and a third place at the Powerstation Pro/Am. His team mate Luke Edwards was determined to lift even after being ill before the meet. But it did not stop Luke from squatting 870 lbs before missing 930 lbs. The bench when better going 625 lbs for his opener and a good 650 lbs on his second and passed his third. A 750 lbs first attempt was it for today and a 2270 lbs total put Luke in to second place.

The 242 lbs class winner for 2010 lbs is Clint Smith. His balance attack with squats of 875 lbs and 930 lbs on a second attempt but no good on 955 lbs. His bench looked great with a 765 lbs opener 785 lbs on a second but 805 lbs proved too much. Clint is also a solid deadlifter going 725 lbs, 755lbs on a second and miss at 770 lbs for a 2470 total for first place at 242 lbs class.

It was to be a showdown between three top 275 lbs. Chuck Vogelpohl from Lexen Extreme, Brian Carroll unattached, Dave Hoff of Westside, Mark Bell of Supertraining gym, Rich Douglass of Westside and Pat Hakola unattached battled to win this tough class. After an 1100 lbs squat Brian Carroll could not make any of his benches co-operate and was gone. Tough luck Brain, see you next year.

This left four to fight it out for three trophies. In fourth was Rich Douglas, a new Westside member. Rich went from 800 lbs, 850 lbs and a fine 900 lbs for a 60 lbs personal record. The benches were good as well. A 630 lbs opener than 680 lbs and his second but 700 lbs was a no go. After 700 lbs opener, 770 lbs to total 2350 which was a 150 lbs increase in 6 months. And a miss at 805 lbs and Rich was done for the day with 2350 lbs. In third Mark “Smelly” Bell from Super Training gym. He hit two good squats at 900 lbs and 935 lbs on his second, but 970 lbs proved too much on this day. We were looking for fireworks in the bench but not today. 760 lbs was no good on his opener, a good repeat with the same 760 lbs. A shirt change and all the way up to 880 lbs is Smelly crazy or what? The 880 lbs would not go for the inventor of the Sling Shot, on this day. His deadlifts went from 650 lbs of his opener, 705 lbs on a second, but 745 lbs was too much with a 2400 lbs total and a third place secured and the two-time loser was done but not forgotten.

In second place was powerlifting icon Chuck Vogelpohl of Lexen Extreme. He was a national champion in 1987 and now in 2010 holds the world record squat at 1140 lbs at 242 lbs body weight and the 1175 lbs at 275 lbs body weight. He came in rather light at 255 lbs but opened at 1075 lbs and blew it up. He was off balanced with 1155 lbs and fell backwards. An all time 1175 lbs was loaded on the bar. Out he came like a mad man and destroys it for three white lights. The bench was next up and a 330 lbs opener was good; 565 lbs on the second and a good 610 lbs on his third. Now on to what he likes, the deadlift. A cautious 750 lbs opener, 800 lbs on his second and finally a strong 840 lbs was pulled to lockout only to pop out of his hands. Even without the 840 lbs pull, Chuck totaled 2585 lbs. When will it end for this man who personifies powerlifting?

This leaves one, or is he the chosen one? Dave “Neutron” Hoff of Westside. Dave opened at 970. A 1040 lb squat on the second was strong, but not as strong as the 1075 lbs third attempt. The man can bench as well. 810 lbs opener, 860 lbs on his second and 880 lbs was out of the groove. At subtotal time read 1935 lbs. “Neutron opened at 775lbs for 2710 lbs total, the biggest ever at Westside, 805 lbs of his second to move it up to 2740 lbs. And with a back like Iron, a 815 lbs on the third to make it official 2750 lbs and the winner at 275 lbs body weight. Dave is one of the most consistent lifters ever at Westside and the second to surpass 2700 lbs for the club.

The 308’s were represented at the Pro/Am. Six strong men competed for top honors. In fifth place was Rick Lahourcade, the tattooed Powerhouse from out west was very light at 278 lbs. A 905 lbs opener was all Rickey could get passed on this day. The benches went a lot better going three for three. Starting at 650 lbs then moving on to 675 lbs on a second and a fine 700 lbs on a third attempt. Rickey is surprisingly strong in the deadlift for his stocky build. A 705 lbs opener deadlift was a smoke show. A great 750 lbs on his second, and a pass on his third to total 2355 lbs.

Tony Bolognone of Westside squatted 1130 lbs only to bomb in the bench. In fourth place was Henry Thomason, a squatting machine making 1060 lbs, 1115 lbs on a second and finally 1165 lbs on a third. Henry even tried a world record 1200 lbs on a fourth but had trouble getting set and passed. He opened benches with 660 lbs but 720 lbs and 730 lbs would not cooperate on the second and third attempt. With his massive build, the deadlift is tough for Henry. A 600 lbs opener was easy. 675 lbs on the second but 710 lbs was not to be. With 2500 lbs he set back to see what would happen. In third place Matt Hammock, he weighed only 283 lbs not able to make the 275 lbs class but it does not matter at the Pro/Am, you can run but you can’t hide. And Matt doesn’t have to hide from anyone. After a strong 1015 lbs opener and a good 1040 lbs second he passed his third squat. In the bench, Matt opened at 705 lbs moved on to 725 lbs on a second for a good attempt and again passed his third. He had to move ahead of Henry Thomason so 735 lbs opener deadlift moved Matt into third on bodyweight. A strong 755 lbs pull on his second passed his total to 2520 lbs and after a miss at 770 lbs he had to be satisfied with 2520 lbs for today. But I can see much bigger things to come from Matt soon.

In second place was Jake Anderson from Westside. His squats were flawless: 930 lbs, a strong 1005 lbs on his second and a great 1050 lbs on the third. A 685 lbs opener bench was good. 735 lbs would not touch and a jump to 760 lbs blew out his shirt. Next up were the deadlifts. Jakes opener was easy at 755 lbs. 815lbs was a toy on his second and a final 835 lbs was pulled easy only to get off balance and fall forward after locking it out. But when the smoke cleared Jake totaled 2550 lbs for second place behind Westside teammate AJ Roberts. AJ walked through three squats, 990 lbs on his opener, 1075 lbs on the second and a strong 1100 lbs on his third. His benches were down a little with 770 lbs opener but two miss at 825 lbs was a no go. In the deadlift his opener 735 lbs was easy. A second with 780 lbs was good and insured him of first place with 2650 lbs total. A third attempt with 800 lbs was close

The one and only SHW was Paul Childress from Buffalo. Paul has had it tough for a couple years but he’s back. A 1050 lbs opener and an 1115 lbs second attempt were good but 1160 lbs was not passed. Paul’s opener bench with 710 lbs was no go. A good 735 lbs on his second to stay in the game but 750 lbs would not happen today. After a 730 lbs opener a strong 770 lbs on his second was good, only to miss 800 lbs on his third. But a 2620 total isn’t bad for a come back. Now the prize money

AJ Roberts for third $1,500

Chuck Vogelpohl for second $2,000

Dave Hoff for first $5,000

Best Bench Press Shawn Frankl $1,000

Bench Squat Chuck Vogelpohl $1,000

Best Deadlift Shawn Frankl $1,000

The champion of champions is Shawn Frankl who walked away with $10,370. Next year will be better.

Congratulations to the following lifters from the Amateur Day who qualified for next years Pro day; 181 lbs class Marty Bavetz 1815 lbs total; 220 lbs class Zane Geeting 2150 lbs total; 220 lbs class Joe Jester 2075 lbs total.

Louie Simmons

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