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What the Heck is the AOBS and When is its Next Reunion?

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  • #21
    Since I've never been to the reunion and I've never met any of the people involved, I figure I don't really have anything to say but I've still been enjoying reading about it. I'm looking forward to hearing what Dave Hartnett or anyone else has to say about this years reunion.
    http://www.strengthoftheword.com

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    • #22
      Originally posted by Mike Corlett View Post
      Dave, Julie going this year, or does she need to watch the "at risk" kids?
      Mike, Julie was able to make it again this year. We left the kids home (ages 20 and 17) but they ended up at Julies parents on SAT night anyways, which was good.
      The weekend was fun as always. You know, the dinners sort of drag out sometimes, so I left and went to bed during it. (I don't sleep well in hotels (or at all) and was up at 2 AM on SAT, so by 9 PM I was junk).

      The fun part for me is spending FRI thru SUN AM with friends Ive made on Iron History (Reuben Weaver, Dave Landau, Robert Francis, Richard, etc...). (Yes, that Richard). Dave Mastorakis (famous new england bodybuilder who was great friends w/ Mike Mentzer) came with us this year. I drive right by his place on the way so it was an easy pickup, and we had a great weekend. A class act that DMASS. Heard a lot of great Mentzer stories that many dont know. Also visited my friend Carl Linich (77 year old strongman who is battling some back issues) he cant make the dinners anymore, so we visit Carl and spend some time. For me its all about the friendships in iron. The dinners are OK, just not the highlight for me. Marvin Eder sat at our table, so it was good seeing Marvin again. spent the weekend with Robert Zuver (Zuvers Gym) and his great wife. Like I said, its about the friends and the people.

      Richard brought one of his circus dumbbells, everyone signed it and it was presented to Mighty Stefan, a generous act. (I know Richard gets some grief here, but Im good friends with him, and also think very highly of Joe, so I stay out of those conversations, none of my business really).

      My wifes B-day was SAT, all the friends and legends around signed her card and sang happy b-day, it was fun. even had a cake... Julie had a blast, as you can tell by her smile...

      Robert Zuver is on the left, and artist Jim Sanders is on the right.. Our friend Jesse is cutting the cake, she put the whole thing together...


      Click image for larger version

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      ------
      Dave

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Dave Hartnett View Post

        You know, the dinners sort of drag out sometimes, so I left and went to bed during it. (I don't sleep well in hotels (or at all) and was up at 2 AM on SAT, so by 9 PM I was junk).

        DAVE! Blasphemy! Plus, you are acting like Geezer!

        Okay, you got me defending the Dinner, this causes for a report on another year...

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        • #24
          My Second Year of attending AOBS was 2006. This time, my son weighed about 20 pounds less than he weighed the year before, having shed maybe 35 pounds of blubber and added 15 pounds of muscle from his first year of lifting weights. He was pretty psyched up, excited, wanted to see people he met the previous year, show he was getting into lifting, and so on.

          We ran around Brooklyn on Friday, went down to Coney Island, and made it back to the hotel before dark this time. I was going to shower, he wanted to meet people. I told him to just go down to the lobby and hang out, and he would bump into familiar faces. He made a new friend, some real young man there for a family funeral. The guy was from rural South Carolina, and was going to go to junior college in Nevada to play defensive line, get picked up by a Division I college, and then move on to the Pros. Needless to say, I imagine it stopped at the junior college level. At any rate, my son was hanging out with him. The kid had no idea what all these tough guy geezers were doing at the hotel.
          As I was entering the lobby, I saw my son with his friend, and Slim Farman had just arrived. For whatever reason, I was pretty straightforward and said, "Slim, I gave my son here your DVD for Christmas, and it is his favorite thing to watch, he can't get enough of it". Slim shakes our hands, and I say to the dreadlocked young man who stood a couple inches shorter than Slim: "Careful with this old man when you shake his hand, he might break yours". Slim seriously is putting the squeeze on the kid's hand, to which the kid, absolutely stunned, says in a thick rural South accent "I wish you was my Grandpa" We ended up hanging out in the lobby with Slim for approximately FIVE HOURS. We heard his opinion on every subject you could imagine. At times, it was just us, at other times, there were as many as a dozen. Probably 40 people came and left during that period of time. Joe Rollino was there quite a bit. When we spoke about shrinking with age, Joe said "Yeah, Slim and I used to be the same height!". Joe was around 5 feet four, Slim 6 feet four or five (down from 6'6"). It was entertaining and fun. Every hour or so the aspiring defensive lineman would say, "C'mon, squeeze my hand!" To which Slim would say "if I gave it everything I had you would be begging to kiss my white ___", and the kid would laugh and say "That ain't going to happen!"

          At dinner the next night, not sitting at any type of "cool table", we staked out a table with some pretty regular folks. The last two people to arrive at the dinner were wandering around looking for two seats at a table, and they found them at ours. It was Stanley "Stanless Steel" Pleskun and his long time partner Barbara. That was a trip in itself, and was the beginning of a long friendship with Stan. There was an older couple there, retired, now running a health food store, and the husband was like a kid in a candy store. The wife was a very nice lady, and was very "tolerant" of her husband's obsession with the Iron Game. That night, Russ Knipp, a US Weightlifter was honored. He had passed away a few months earlier, and had actually written his acceptance speech prior to passing away. His widow read it ,and it was good. Somewhere in there was a reflective "why do we do it?" question, and she was reading "it is certainly not for the money, the fame, etc.", and touched on some insightful and powerful observations shortly before his passing. An extraordinary acceptance speech. The lady at our table, who now knew our bios, leaned over to my son, put her hand on his hand and said "See what you are part of now?" It was nice.

          Stanley had approximately 37 beers that night (I don't know how many he really had). After the dinner, he was trying feats, and multiple cameras were focused on him as he was attempting them. On the one hand, the guys filming him thought he was nuts. On the other hand, they wouldn't take their videos (this was 2006) off of him. I did not know at that time that he had been a good performing strong man. I thought he was just a strong eccentric.

          My son came into the room at 3 am. I think he spoke with Dr. Ken "Leo" DaRosa (did I spell his name correctly) from 1:30 am to 3. My kid had apparently listened to his opinion about women from four different continents, and like the time with Slim, opinions on just about everything else as well.

          The AOBS newsletter that would be issued immediately after the banquet always contained Dr. Ken's writeup of the event. It typically went 10-12 pages. Dr. Ken passed away some months back, and the most recent dinner would be the first one he missed since the 1980s...

          My kid met more new people, connected with others he met in 2005, and armed with five hours of serious Slim, was more serious than ever.

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          • #25
            Another day, another year. The 2007 AOBS weekend...

            My kid and I ran around NYC experiencing "tourist-style" sites that year. Empire State building, Ellis Island, Liberty Island, etc. Got back to the Saddlebrook NJ Marriott before dark again.

            In 2007 bodybuilder Dave Draper was being honored. I saw him in the lobby seated on a sofa, early evening, with several guys intensely talking to him. AOBS fans. Because of his Weider-created persona, Dave had more of a Rock Star-style following than just about any I have seen at AOBS. Dave is a genuinely sincere, humble, quiet, introverted person. He was politely listening to the group he was speaking to. His wife Laree was sitting in a chair, not quite looking like the lady I had seen in 2005. I thought to myself, "wow, these people have no clue what they are in for", and felt sorry for them. I came over to her, sat down, and introduced myself.

            We had met at a "bash" at Dave's old gym in Santa Cruz California two years earlier. Santa Cruz is 35 miles from my home, and my brother and I went to a "seminar" that featured Dave and Bill Pearl (Ed Corney eventually showed up as well), listened to the guys talk for 90 minutes or so, and then everyone went to a nearby park for a picnic consuming mass quantities of charred mammal flesh (as the Coneheads would say!). Laree was running the whole show, barking orders, being part of the multiple person video crew (they made a DVD of the Draper-Pearl seminar that they sold for years), and she was awfully effective, organized, and just plain together. Impressive woman. She looked a bit out of her element sitting in the lobby. She didn't remember me (why would she) but she certainly remembered and knew my brother (the man who takes good photos and is generous about sharing them). After the initial pleasantries, I went into my spiel: Here is what is going to happen this weekend. You sit right here, and more and more people are going to be showing up, talking, catching up, and talking to Dave. This is going to go on all day, and the next day. The dinner is great, some speeches too long, some just right. She did not know much about AOBS, and pointed to Joe Rollino walking around and marveled at his shape at his age (it was somewhere between 90 and 102 at that time, depending on who you believed). Years later, I discovered it was Joe who suggested Dave be inducted. It was a few years after that when I shared that with Laree. She was pretty much in awe of the whole thing. We conspired as to what I was going to give my brother for a Christmas present that year, it had something to do with a 1966 MAD Magazine, Dave's signature, and MAD making fun of Dave in that particular issue. We talked a long time, so long in fact that Dave broke away from his fans to check in on who the stranger speaking with his wife in the hotel lobby was.

            The next night, around Midnight, Stanless Steel asked me to introduce me to Dave (I had known him a whole day), as he wanted to ask Dave a question (and, it was a doozy). Laree was up near the front table, a few feet from Dave, and there was still a line of fans waiting to talk to him. She looked at me, very seriously, and said "When do I get him back?"

            I had three other memories that stick out from that year. Dinner was sort of a repeat as the previous year, my son and I scrambling to get a decent table, and parking ourselves with a nice group. At the table was Steve Jeck, author of the book "Of Stones and Strength". The last two guys to show up at two of the last two seats in the banquet room, our table again, were Bruce and Steve Wilhelm. Wilhelm was and is a trip. Maybe I should just leave it at that. It was fun.

            The next morning, my son told me that a nice man he met wanted to buy he and I breakfast. I am not sure how he makes friends so easily, but he does...The guy was about 6 foot 5, early 40s, and had some type of martial arts studio in Western Europe, and his wife, practically 6 feet herself, was with him. I asked him how did he end up attending a dinner in America? He explained that he had heard of The Mighty Atom, was fascinated by his story, and bought the book on Atom. I asked how much he paid for it, and he said about 75 bucks. His fascination was that with Atom, he had never seen anything that embodied "pure strength" as with the case of Joseph Greenstein. He wanted more, and his research eventually enabled him to stumble across AOBS, which appeared to him to be the closest thing to that "pure strength" element he was seeking. His quest for "pure strength", leading him to a foreign country, attending an event with hundreds of strangers made for a unique and enjoyable breakfast. It was shortly after that my son began taking up martial arts...

            The 2007 AOBS was the first year that there was an informal show in the afternoon, in this case, outside the buildings. It was called "Slim Farman's Rising Stars". About 8-10 different performers. Tommy Heslep pulverized at least 5 pounds of potatoes, Greg Matonick, over 60 years old, bent a quarter using his teeth as a vice, Dan Cenidoza tore cards while balancing an Atlas Stone on his back, and other things. This was an example of "something new" being added during the early afternoon of the Saturday main event. I think that was the first time that Sonny Barry attended AOBS, another fellow that my son became friends with, and Sonny has got a few years on me. It wouldn't surprise me if Sonny Barry was/is one of the best barroom brawlers in the country. The whole "rising stars" format appeared to be the first time that a group of fellows who were hardcore followers of Slim attended. These are not gripboad-style benders. You will never see these guys making a video that contains 5 minutes of preparing the wraps. They are followers of Slim, who was a follower of Atom, for which "presentation" is a very big part of the picture. And wrapping bars in ritual-like fashion is not something that audiences are interested in watching. Not knocking the exact science of getting your wraps just right to set a personal measurable record with bending, but it is NOT something for which the general public has an even remote curiosity. This particular element of the AOBS attendees, as I call them, disciples of Slim, is a fairly new but growing piece of the big tent of the AOBS. And, in the lobby, one of the more interesting pieces to watch after hours. They never stop.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Mike Corlett View Post
              Another day, another year. The 2007 AOBS weekend...



              The next morning, my son told me that a nice man he met wanted to buy he and I breakfast. I am not sure how he makes friends so easily, but he does...The guy was about 6 foot 5, early 40s, and had some type of martial arts studio in Western Europe, and his wife, practically 6 feet herself, was with him. I asked him how did he end up attending a dinner in America? He explained that he had heard of The Mighty Atom, was fascinated by his story, and bought the book on Atom. I asked how much he paid for it, and he said about 75 bucks. His fascination was that with Atom, he had never seen anything that embodied "pure strength" as with the case of Joseph Greenstein. He wanted more, and his research eventually enabled him to stumble across AOBS, which appeared to him to be the closest thing to that "pure strength" element he was seeking. His quest for "pure strength", leading him to a foreign country, attending an event with hundreds of strangers made for a unique and enjoyable breakfast. It was shortly after that my son began taking up martial arts...
              Mike- The tall man you speak about is John McGrath who is as nice a man as you will ever meet and is strong as an ox. He is very good at long bar scrolling and performed at the AOBS dinner on the main stage in 2011. As a matter of fact, he also certified on the Ironmind Red Nail right on the main stage that night as well.
              Train hard, eat well, rest sufficiently and repeat. Sounds simple? It is!

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              • #27
                Originally posted by Steve Weiner View Post

                Mike- The tall man you speak about is John McGrath who is as nice a man as you will ever meet and is strong as an ox. He is very good at long bar scrolling and performed at the AOBS dinner on the main stage in 2011. As a matter of fact, he also certified on the Ironmind Red Nail right on the main stage that night as well.
                Steve, thanks. I missed the 2011 and 2012 AOBS dinners. I think it was 2009, in one of the conference rooms, where Slim had one of his "rising stars" presentations, and he performed there. There had been a gap in time from the 2007 dinner, could have been 2010. He did some long bar bending, and it was something to see, as I had not laid eyes on him since seeing him at a breakfast table, and then a couple years later, wow, there he was performing. So the trip across the pond was not a one-shot deal for a middle-aged man either...
                I'll have to go back and look at an early 2012 MILO for his Red Nail writeup. Man, doing a certification on the main stage! Is that the only time that has ever been done? Red Nail or Number 3? I don't remember seeing any.

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                • #28
                  Big John McGrath was there again this year, and like Steve said, very nice man.
                  Mike, if it were the dinners only, I probably wouldn't go as much.
                  For me its seeing friends, hanging out, having fun. I do like the dinners most of the time, but my 70 hour work weeks, plus insomnia issues, catches up once in a while.
                  I happened to hit the wall around 9 PM. (After a 19 hour Saturday). Its all good, everyone enjoys different parts of the weekend.

                  My highlight last year, was sitting on the couch at the bar, from 11 PM 'til 3 AM with Ken Patera and Wilhelm. Unforgettable time for me...
                  ------
                  Dave

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Dave Hartnett View Post
                    Big John McGrath was there again this year, and like Steve said, very nice man.
                    Mike, if it were the dinners only, I probably wouldn't go as much.
                    For me its seeing friends, hanging out, having fun. I do like the dinners most of the time, but my 70 hour work weeks, plus insomnia issues, catches up once in a while.
                    I happened to hit the wall around 9 PM. (After a 19 hour Saturday). Its all good, everyone enjoys different parts of the weekend.

                    My highlight last year, was sitting on the couch at the bar, from 11 PM 'til 3 AM with Ken Patera and Wilhelm. Unforgettable time for me...
                    See what happens when Julie leaves you alone?

                    This will not be the last time I quote this quote. It might take me a few days to get to, but I will. It concerns Ken Patera...

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Steve Weiner View Post
                      Ben,
                      I have had the honor of performing a few times at the AOBS dinner and have had the honor of watching many others perform as well and some performances are more entertaining than others.
                      I was more impressed with your strength feats (visually) than the one you included of Pat. P.
                      http://goalorientedtraining.wordpress.com/

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Steve Weiner View Post
                        As for calling the strength feats a carnie show? Everybody has their own opinions, but I am certainly proud of what I did there along with Pat Povilaitis.
                        Yep, it's my opinion. Notice I never said that my opinion was what everyone thought of it. Besides, I happen to like carnie shows - any strength show, really - so I'm sure it (AOBS) would be plenty interesting to watch. Especially if the strength performers threw out open "challenges" - where the performers openly invite ANYONE in the audience to come on stage and try their pet feat of strength. That would liven things up quite a bit for the crowd. And probably for the performers. It would also humble a few here and there - both performers and challengers - along the way. The featured performer could charge a small fee for the opportunity of attempting the challenge in front of an audience. Of course the challenge would vary based on what audience the performer was entertaining. That makes it even more interesting to watch.


                        http://goalorientedtraining.wordpress.com/

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Steve Weiner View Post
                          Here are some examples that you are welcome to try yourself. If you have any questions about the weights of anything you see in the videos, you are certainly welcome to ask. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yjin9EZdhE
                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdT5De5J_R4
                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltko5rhyvEc
                          I did watch these videos. Although I suspect that if I had included some of my own videos, you wouldn't deign to watch them. The way you worded the "examples that you are welcome to try yourself" made me chuckle a bit though. It seems like you "forget" what forum we're on. There are quite a few members on this forum who have a few very strong pet lifts/feats that they are proud of. Like you. And me. Although I'm smart enough to not challenge a performer (usually) on their pet lifts/feats, because it makes sense that if they practice it enough - they will be better at it than I am.

                          You would have about as much success matching my pet lifts/feats (when I was at my strongest, and actually training vertical bar) as I would have matching yours. That's part of what makes grip and other strength shows so interesting to me though.

                          You (Steve) "are welcome to try yourself" to match just one of my pet lifts/feats from an impromptu stength show I put on for a small group of strength athletes back in 2010. I used Olympic weight plates so nobody had any questions about the weights of anything they saw in person. Or if they did have any questions, all they had to do was add up the weight of the 45lb plates and - voila! - they knew how much weight was being lifted. A big plus is that it's easy to get a hold of seven 45lb plates and a single 10lb plate. Then stack them together on a 1" diameter vertical bar. I used a Fat Bastard Barbell Company vertical bar. The empty bar weighed about 6lbs. Total weight on a digital scale (some plates were overweight) was about 337lbs.

                          This is half of the preparation for this feat. The other half was my certification #3. RGC-rated at 146lbs, for the record. So not the easiest #3 out there, definitely not the hardest. About an "average #3." Carefully balance the #3 on top of the 1" vertical bar. Or you can just hold onto it. For now. Keep it close though. You'll need it for what comes next.

                          The feat is pretty simple. Straddle the vertical bar. Using one hand, grab the vertical bar (not lower than the non-painted surface on the FBBC bar) and pull the 337lbs off the ground until both of your knees are locked out. You probably won't be fully upright, but that only makes it hard to breathe when holding onto 337lbs - with one hand. Which is just a fun part of the challenge. As soon as you achieve the locked out knees position - TNS (table no set) close the #3 - while continuing to hold the locked out knees position, at least until you feel the handles touch on the #3. Then you can lower the weight back to the floor. And at the same time let the #3 urge your hand open again.

                          Great job. You're halfway done with the feat.

                          Now switch hands. If you TNS closed the #3 with your right hand a few moments ago, just switch the #3 to your left hand. And the same with the vertical bar.

                          It's probably not as visually appealing to the general public as what you and Pat are doing though. So I guess I'd be safe from having it duplicated very often by a "couple of middle age guys
                          ."
                          http://goalorientedtraining.wordpress.com/

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                          • #33
                            2008 AOBS. This year was Big. It was the 25th Dinner, and they planned Big. Moved the event to the Newark Airport Marriott to both accommodate more attendees, and to make the event more accessible to out of towers. All the previous honorees were invited, and there were to be no new inductees as a way of honoring the organization and past inductees.

                            My "boy" (then just shy of 27 years of age) and I went to the Bronx Zoo, and got back before Friday night dinner time. My brother, a very serious Iron Game enthusiast and amateur historian and "amateur" photographer (he is quite good) was attending for the first time, and had arrived while we were running around NYC. When we arrived at the hotel around 6ish, the lobby was packed unlike I had seen it before. Many attendees, many early attendees, people who perhaps not gone in years, were there already. New attendees as well. Like I said, it was big. I went up to my room to shower, and when I came down, I wanted to point out David Prowse to my son, the actor who depicted Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars movies, as well as a British weightlifting champion, who was there. My son had already had his picture taken with Prowse by my brother!

                            Kim Wood was particularly exuberant that night, as there were some guys he knew there from WAY back (Big Jim Flanagan for one), and was in great form. I met multiple Olympic WL coach Jim Schmitz, and most importantly, the legendary team of Dave and Julie Harnett, who I believe were at their Second Dinner. There was an odd mix of around a dozen of us who spontaneously decided to have dinner in the on-site restaurant, which was nice but a bit pricey. No one in the group knew half of the others, and someone asked David Prowse if he wanted to join us, which he did. So there were three Corletts, two Hartnetts, a Prowse, and roughly half dozen others. Prowse was relatively quiet, and I was sitting across from him. At some point I asked him about the original Thomas Inch Dumbbell, which he owned for roughly 30 years. I figured it would be silly and inappropriate to ask about "Star Wars", and he obviously was into the Iron Game, so what the heck. He spoke at length about the first time he saw it, his buying it, his selling it to Kim Wood, etc. His recollections that 2008 evening are somewhat inconsistent with what has been stated and written by others (acquisition date for example between what David Horne has written and what I heard), but nothing "materially" different or inconsistent.

                            My favorite Prowse story though was the subject of Bruce Wilhelm. By his low-key nature, David looks pretty bored much of the time. Meet him and mention "Bruce Wilhelm" to him, and his face just lights up. He told a story of his brief "training" of Wilhelm in California over a period of days or weeks. Side-splittingly funny. My son had the pleasure of hearing Wilhelm's version of their meeting from Bruce himself the next night in the bar. Since then, I have seen excerpts from a later autobiography of Prowse's on the Internet. Let's put it this way: The stories don't completely reconcile, except for two things: Bruce slept a lot from being tired from workouts Prowse put him through, and there was a trip to the Pink Poodle, a Strip Club in San Jose, California. You had to be there, but, trust me, it was entertaining to hear.

                            Slim Farman performed at the Saturday Dinner. He had had cancer surgery a few years early, and had not performed in public since the 2005 dinner. I figured it was his last performance. Turns out I was wrong on that too. It was pretty impressive, and "felt" like you were witnessing history.

                            The next day, my son and I were riding the shuttle towards the airport (we were going to Yankee Stadium to attend a game at the last year of the old stadium), and AOBS Honoree and Olympic Heavyweight Silver Medalist Jim Bradford was riding on the shuttle. He had a legendary "inspirational sports moment" in the 1950s where he had a lock on the World Championship Gold, and didn't take his last lift as his friend and teammate John Davis' unbeaten streak would be broken because of an injury suffered towards the end of the competition. Bradford did not want to win that way, so he passed, took a Silver, and Davis got the Gold. I made small talk with him and his wife, he explained his lifetime home of Washington DC ("ah, you're not missing much" he said to my only having been there twice), how he got started in weights (YMCA). He and his wife were very nice very kind people. A few months later, I read the best seller "Rome 1960: the Olympics that Changed the World" book by Pulitzer Prize winning David Maraniss (now associate editor of the Washington Post) that made a cosmic case for how special the 1960 Olympics were, and Mr. Bradford had more than a few pages in it. The best part was when it described his riding around in a limo owned by Olympic Champion Weigtlifter Yuri Vlasov, which had a dedication on the front passenger dash "Presented to the President of the United States of America". It was to be a gift to President Eisenhower, but America's "U-2 Incident" caused the gift to never be made. A WEIGHTLIFTER ended up with the car instead of the American President! And like the story in the Bible of the Devil tempting Christ, Yuri was talking big to Bradford to defect to the USSR. When I said goodbye to Mr. Bradford, I knew he was never coming back to AOBS again, but I had not heard the wooing-of-him-to-defect story. Mr. Bradford passed away in 2013. If I knew then what I know now, I would not be able to resist asking the question "Did that REALLY happen?". As it is, I can say that I can attest that Jim Bradford was a decent and wonderful man.

                            Just riding in an airport shuttle at AOBS can be a moving and historical experience.

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                            • #34
                              Ben- I am glad you watched the videos. I actually did not practice very much to do these lifts. I actually put more work into thinking about something original that would also be visually impactful. I am sure that many others at the AOBS could duplicate what I did. A challenge aspect would be interesting and Slim The Hammerman has done this before at the AOBS, but that is the only time I have seen this happen. That being said, I do not think that I could duplicate the feat you described no matter how much I practiced. No offense to you and others that enjoy all the typical grip contest lifts, but I actually lose interest in them after I train them a few weeks in a row. I like putting my efforts into other aspects of my training. It is just the way it is with me. I don't know why you think it would be "below me" to watch your videos, bit for the record have watched many of your videos over the years and your feats are impressive. Please post some others. Good luck with your training.
                              Train hard, eat well, rest sufficiently and repeat. Sounds simple? It is!

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                2009 was the first time we slept in a bed on Thursday night. In the past, it was on the airplane. Friday morning, who do I bump into at the restaurant but Joe Rollino. One of the first to arrive at AOBS that year, his last year alive. I was a strength nobody, but he gave a big smile upon seeing me, having recognized me immediately. Went to Harlem that day, visited Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and had ribs at Sylvia's, a Harlem institution. Tried to go to Bill Clinton's office, but could not even get on the floor of his office. Long story better left untold.

                                After the dinner that year, a couple of burly guys were tugging on a bright orange electrical cord that was wrapped around Stanless Steel's neck. It didn't seem like a strength stunt, it looked like attempted murder! One guy on each side, and the cord was plugged into the wall. I said to Slim Farman "Look, the plug is in the outlet!!" Slim deadpanned "Adds to the drama". Slim then went into story telling phase, and talking about Stanley, how long he knew him, the difference between their philosophies of performing, etc. Honest to goodness, it was my 5th year at AOBS and I did not know that Stan was a long time performer. Slim explained how his performance style was to make something look good. Stan's style was to go to failure. He said they would discuss their differences, and Stan would say "Aw c'mon Slim, no one wants to see something look easy..." To which Slim replied "But Stanley, don't you think you could do something IN BETWEEN??!!" It was funny if you were there...

                                When we were flying home, I asked my son what was the best part of the weekend this year, and he said "Listening to Tommy Kono talk". Tommy had a seminar, something that cost a small fee, and around 35 people attended. He had photos that were from the 1950s and 1960s. There was one shot in an auditorium in Europe, showing Kono on stage from behind, facing hundreds of people, maybe thousands, in an auditorium. Tommy said "This is what American Weightlifting is all about. It is just you". That was somewhat inspirational to my son, and he wanted to take up Olympic Weightlifting. When we got back, Randy Strossen connected him with a coach and gym about 25 miles from his home. He wanted to use it to increase explosiveness in his Brazilian J Jitsu. At one of the AOBS dinners, my son decided he wanted to be a MMA Fighter, so he took up BJJ. Turns out the place he went in San Jose was at the time, possibly the epicenter of the world for BJJ. Yep, my son can say he "rolled with Cain Velasquez", and be telling the truth. And Hershell Walker for that matter too. Did he "hold his own"? Are you kidding me? No. But he was strong enough and tough enough they threw him in with them and he was not afraid to get thrashed within an inch of his life. So, his Olympic Weightlifting pursuit had the goal of not only the Oly WL in itself, but some functional uses with his BJJ.

                                Reflecting on Slim Farman's comments, I contacted Dr. Strossen to see if he was open to my doing an article on Stanless Steel. I had no idea that someone had been filming his life for a documentary for almost 10 years, so the article ended up being a bigger project than I thought, and it led to a long friendship with Stan and Barbara.

                                Had my worst failed attempt at Certification of the Number 3 gripper that year. I came darn close in 2008, close as in perhaps 1/40th of an inch away. In 2009, I was 1/8th of an inch off. Richard Sorin was my witness. Richard, with minimal set, closed the gripper. Other than the late Gale Gillingham, I don't believe that any human to date has done that at the age that he was at the time. I was right there, it was impressive.

                                I think by this time, my son had made so many friends at these dinners, and would be so busy visiting and having fun, there just seems like less to talk about than in previous years.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  A couple of years after publication, the AOBS Newsletters go on the Internet. Here is a writeup of the 2009 reunion. The issue that comes immediately after the dinner used to have a very lengthy writeup by the late Dr. Ken "Leo" Rosa. He passed away in early 2014. Dr. Ken was a mysterious guy. In the AOBS issue that covered his life, there was not a date of birth, date of death, mention of family, etc. He was even guarded about his racial background, which appeared to be Latin, African, and European. He was absolutely a world traveler, an outstanding musician, and an interesting guy. The photos and writeup here, at Joe Rollino's last dinner, give you a good perspective on the types of people in attendance:


                                  http://www.weightlifting.org/aobsnew...tterAug092.pdf

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Okay, after a nine month hiatus, I am continuing the long-winded painstaking description of each year's dinner. I'll just stick to my personal experience.

                                    2010. This one was very different for me. My MILO article on Stanless Steel had been published in MILO (March of 2010), and I was good buddies with Stan. So my brother, my son, Stan, Barbara, and Barbara's sister all sat together, and I was hanging out with Stan some from Saturday afternoon on.
                                    I brought an extra copy of the magazine and gave it to Slim the Hammer Man. I wanted him to read it, and I would call him a couple of weeks later and see if I had his blessing to write an article on him. That all worked out. It was the last dinner his wife attended, as she passed away the following year. It may have been the last AOBS performance by Slim, and it was just plain magical. I covered it pretty well in the September 2011 MILO, which had a couple of very cool photos my brother took in it. There was a NPR reporter there to cover Dennis Rogers induction, and while he was at it, he interviewed Slim. Ultimately, the fellow got several stories out of it, so he was happier than heck.

                                    Unfortunately, it was my son's last attendance, as his life got more complicated with having children.

                                    2011 and 2012. Nope, did not go.

                                    2013. Went with my wife, who was not, by any means, into the goings on at all. We went to NYC, and had visited with her brother in New England before the dinner. For me, the highlight of the evening was having dinner with Stan. It was interesting in that my wife had seen the documentary on Stan's life, so she didn't know what to expect. When we got home, she would tell people "Stan and Barbara had the nicest skin!". My daughter's response was "it's because they are hard core vegetarians", or someone else would say "good genes". Stan was "way mainstream" around her, which is really quite something if you know Stanley! I loved Bruce Wilhelm's marathon introduction of Ken Patera, and loved Patera's marathon acceptance speech. My wife wanted them to be over. The next day, saw and spoke to Ken Patera about Norb Ski's personality. Ken liked him. I did not speak with Ken "Leo" Da Rosa, hung out for 5 minutes as he spoke to someone else. Unfortunately, he passed away a few months later. And that is the worst part of AOBS. There are guys, great guys, and you never know when the last time you are going to see them.

                                    2014. As reported here, did not attend.

                                    2015. I am going! My son is not in a position to attend. Going with my wife. Hoping she has a little better idea this time of what to expect.

                                    2016. I have big plans. Not sharing them with anyone, but they are big. Looking forward to it. Hint: I am not performing! Ha!

                                    Will report on the upcoming 2015 banquet as the information becomes available.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Nice write-ups Mike... This is the 1st year since I've been going (2007) that I cant make it because of a conflicting trip. But Ill see you next year!
                                      Tell Andy I was asking about him...
                                      ------
                                      Dave

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Dave, so your first year was the "Dave Draper Year"?

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Mike Corlett View Post
                                          Dave, so your first year was the "Dave Draper Year"?

                                          Mike, yes, that was my 1st year. My plans have changed again (canceled my conflicting trip) so I will be at this years gathering again...
                                          (SAT only I believe).
                                          ------
                                          Dave

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