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

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  • #41
    The wife and I will be attending. Looking forward to meeting a number of people in person finally!
    The most difficult and most productive part of grip training...the time between workouts. -me

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    • #42
      Something just came up where I cannot attend after-all, hope to see you guys next year...
      ------
      Dave

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      • #43
        Originally posted by Dave Hartnett View Post
        Something just came up where I cannot attend after-all, hope to see you guys next year...
        Ahh, Bummer Dave.

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        • #44
          It should be noted that the Marriott still has rooms at the special AOBS rate...as of 5 minutes ago anyway.
          The most difficult and most productive part of grip training...the time between workouts. -me

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          • #45
            It has been nice reading all this first hand info about this annual event. This year, I will go!

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            • #46
              Well, the 32nd AOBS Reunion Dinner was this past Saturday. I went, along with my wife. Arrived late, as we had a problem with TSA concerning Boarding Passes on an i-phone. Some person could not handle two passes under one name, and we missed our plane, the fault of TSA(it was a small airport). So, I didn't get to the hotel until after 4 on Saturday. The good news is that my wife had a good time this time. I think she knew more what to expect, and felt more comfortable with the Stanless Steel Clan (how could the uninitiated be ready for that???!!).

              The two above grip dudes, Richard Cottrell and Nate Brous, both made it for the first time this year. I'd like to think it is as a result of this thread, but that is not the case. It is the first time in over 7 years, maybe more, that people "From the Gripboard" decided on attending for the first time. Been watching that for a long time, and it used to be common, but no more. Nate had a very good and long writeup over on the Gripboard, it would not surprise me at all if there were 2, 5, or 10 newbies next year based on his writeup.

              But the AOBS is so much more than "grip". It is a huge strength "Big Tent" that encompasses some of the best things about the Iron Game. In order for the completely uninitiated to get a better feel for what it is all about, I would highly recommend buying and reading John Fair's book "Muscletown USA". Though not perfect by any means, the whole "York" and East Coast and Hoffman flavor is in the book, and it would give some idea as to what the "manly culture" (author's term) of barbells' history is, as told by the author. Because of its strong editorial and at times cynical view of Bob Hoffman, a flawed book, but by far the best that exists. As the "old timers" pass away, the vibe slowly dissipates, but it is still there. And, as long as Slim the Hammer Man is still alive, kicking, and offering up his take on the world in person at the event, it will remain there.

              Rumor was that the attendance was down, and some, many, regulars were not there this year. But the dinner itself...I am not privy to the number in attendance, but my guess would be 175. Probably the least in over 10 years, but way more than what I figured based on preliminary estimates. It's the kind of thing where it would not surprise me if 250 were there next year, you just never know. Quite frankly, if it were announced say that Bruno Sammartino was going to be there next year, I could see a record being set for attendance. you just never know as I said. The many young guns that used to follow in a pack that I used to call "Disciples of Slim" (of which Sonny Barry, who is not young by any means, but is like a 20 year old 65 year old, is one) seemed to be missing. I heard that the "Rising Stars" afternoon bending performance, which I barely missed, was absolutely fantastic this year. John Decola's acceptance speech probably smashed the AOBS record for length of time, obliterating Ken Patera's or many of Bruce Wilhelm's presentations...but even my wife liked it! He had a folksy approach that worked. Wilhelm was there being Wilhelm. Slim was in very good spirits this time, good humor, offering his advice and take on whatever he felt like sharing. Both of the Mighty Atom's living sons were there this time, with their wives/ladies, Slim's great grandson offered the Pledge of Allegiance, Jedd Johnson had an excellent floor show revolving around super-sized "blobs" and an Inch Dumbbell replica, the Mighty Stephan's beard seemed to be in ZZ Top Territory this time (I prefer a clean-shaven Steve myself), and I sat next to a lady named Ruth whose late husband purchased some tiny dumbbells for her on their first date in the 1940s. Only at the AOBS. Next year, I think my son will be going with me again, and the magic, for me, will have 100% returned. So it was down a few points this time. But where does it get this good?

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              • #47
                I received my AOBS newsletter dated July 2016 the other day.

                It had a nice 13 page or so writeup on the life of Tommy Kono, who passed away a few months ago.

                The next Reunion is at the Newark Airport Marriott Hotel on October 29, 2016.

                They announced two honorees for this year. One is Gayle Hatch, a weightlifting and strength coach. The other is Evander Holyfield. You read that right, four time heavyweight boxing champion. The newsletter said he credits much of his success and longevity in his sport to weight training. I believe he is friends with performing strongman Dennis Rogers, so that would no doubt be part of the connection with AOBS.

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                • #48
                  Hmmm. Somehow I have never received a newsletter from the aobs. I just emailed the address on the site. Thanks for putting this up Mike. Hopefully I'll see you this October.
                  The most difficult and most productive part of grip training...the time between workouts. -me

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                  • #49
                    Mike C, are you going this year? we werent going to go, but with the recent passing of good friend Reuben Weaver, Julie and decided to go after -all to see our friends (like you) that we only see once a year or so...
                    ------
                    Dave

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                    • #50
                      Dave, no, am not going this year. Brother John is.

                      Decided that I will only go if I go with my son. Went with my wife twice. Not her cup of tea, but last time was better for her than the first time, knowing a bit more what to expect. Hope to be there next year with Andy. With two young kids and joint custody, he has his hands full.

                      I did not know Reuben had passed. It is sad that both honorees and attendees are leaving us, some, like Reuben, way before they should. And with each one, there is a bit of the "magic", gone forever. Who can replace Tommy Kono? But, as you know, it is not just the honorees that make the event worthwhile. Some of the friendships that you form, at times in the most unexpected ways, are a powerful thing.

                      Say "hi" to Julie for Andy and I. Hope that we can share some laughs and fun next time. Gotta tell you, Andy's got more funny stories these days than just about anyone I know. He is one strong mother as well...

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                      • #51
                        I figured John would be there, he usually is. OK, I hope you and Andy go in the coming years, 1st time we met him Julie and I laughed non-stop, dude (Andy) is hysterical.
                        Yes,and very strong indeed!
                        ------
                        Dave

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                        • #52
                          Well my fellow AOBS and IronMind Forum participants, don't all write at once about your 2016 AOBS Weekend Experience last weekend!

                          Seriously, there are people who enjoy hearing about it.

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                          • #53
                            I'm one of those people. I've never gone but I do like hearing about it. Hopefully someone will post something about it. Enquiring minds wanna know.
                            http://www.strengthoftheword.com

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                            • #54
                              Originally posted by Mike Corlett View Post
                              Well my fellow AOBS and IronMind Forum participants, don't all write at once about your 2016 AOBS Weekend Experience last weekend!

                              Seriously, there are people who enjoy hearing about it.
                              Hey Mike. As soon as I got back from the AOBS, my heart went wacky again (hospitals etc) and it really took the wind out of my sails so to speak.

                              Unfortunately I missed the first couple of hours (meet and greet etc), but caught the rising stars on. I don't have the energy for a trip report this year...but I'll throw up some pics.

                              Hope to see you next year. -Nate

                              The most difficult and most productive part of grip training...the time between workouts. -me

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                              • #55
                                The most difficult and most productive part of grip training...the time between workouts. -me

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                                • #56
                                  The most difficult and most productive part of grip training...the time between workouts. -me

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                                  • #57
                                    The most difficult and most productive part of grip training...the time between workouts. -me

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                                    • #58
                                      So...Evander gave an amazing speech. It's obvious when listening to him, he's a little punchy now, but overall, he's such a kind warm person. Not at all what I thought he might be like. He literally talked to me for like 25 minutes before some people waiting cut in (no problem with that).
                                      The most difficult and most productive part of grip training...the time between workouts. -me

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                                      • #59
                                        Nate, thanks for posting and for the photos.

                                        For those who attend the AOBS quite a bit, did anyone notice if there looked to be ANYONE who came there because Holyfield was being honored? One, two, 10? Curious.

                                        I heard that super-longtime-consecutive-attendee (20 years, what do you think?) Bruce Wilhelm was not there. Richard Sorin was not there either, but he tends to average around 75% attendance in my estimation. Quite a number of folks had passed away since last year, some very famous (Norb, Tommy), and some known mostly just to AOBS attendees.

                                        Hopefully, I will be back next year with my son.

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                                        • #60
                                          I attended last year's reunion/dinner for the first time in a long time. This year's event seemed to be a little more well attended. True, Wilhelm was not present, nor Richard Sorin. John DeCola returned, after being honored last year. It was nice to see him again. I always thought it a shame when someone would get honored, and then never show their face again. Marvin Eder was there, a true legend.
                                          There was a nice couple at our table who were big fans of Holyfield. She used to live in Atlanta, and had a collection of photos tracing back to his days as an amateur boxer. I'm sure the were other fans, but it didn't appear as if a large number of people showed just for him.

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