100% natural latex, onyx-colored (black), and calibrated for consistency. 41" x 1 1/8
7/29/2012 9:56:35 PM -
RPS Last Man Standing Pro Bench Off writeup with video
Ok, so this Last Man Standing Pro Bench Off was my idea. Rhodes and I were inspired years ago when we saw the same format used at a Pro Strongman deadlift event at Madison Square Garden. It was very crowd friendly. Knowing multiply benching is still out of the Arnold, I approached Gene Rychlak of the RPS with this idea and he quickly ran with it. The days of catching lightning in a bottle at the Arnold are over. They want to see made benches. To some of you, 700 might not sound like a big bench, but the rest of the world thinks it's huge. I have competed at the Arnold. It's awesome, we need to get it back!
The next move was to get some competitors. There were two guys who I went to immediately, Rob Luyando and Travis Bell. I respect them both immensely as lifters and consider them both great friends. I shamed Tone Barbaccio into doing it. He's stronger than he knows and needs to get his head around that fact. Another great addition was my new friend Brandon Lilly. Seeing him go big raw and equipped, I knew he'd be up for this challenge. A nice surprise was Gene Rychlak throwing his hat into the ring. Gene is one of the best equipped benchers of all time hands down. Last, but not least was my training partner and 900+ bencher Tee Tee McCray. My homie jumped in even though he's hardly been able to train.
For those of you who follow my log, you'll know I have been training raw exclusively for a bench meet I did two weeks ago. So I got one training day in the shirt the week before the contest. I decided to go with the Ace because I had a loose 66 (with pinched sleeves) that I could get weight in easy with. So I hit a 700 and an 800 last week and that was the extent of my training.
Rode up that morning with Jessica and Rhodes. I don't think we talked about the contest once. I stayed on my backload plan and did not eat any carbs prior to lifing. I did however eat breakfast which I don't normally do and made sure to take in extra healthy fats to get me through the day. We got to the meet and hung with the competitors for a while.
Before you know it, we were warming up. I warmed up on a bench with Travis. He was matching me. I think his 500 raw was faster than mine. We both put the shirt on with 600 to a board and we were ready to go.
The comp went like this, all the heavyweights hit 700, Tone missed a call and under the rules was allowed to take it again and got it. Big Gene showed what a gamer he is and hit a token 700, then stepped aside to get back to running the show. Brandon was out with 750 because he had no idea he had blown up to 325 lbs. His shirt looked tighter than a grape skin. He then took over the microphone and got the crowd going. Next out were Tone and Travis with 800. I gotta say Travis' 800 looked really close.
Then there were three. Me, Tee, and Rob had 850 on the bar. I got out of my 66 Ace and jumped into my 62 Ace. I have not worn this shirt in over 2 years. When I took the weight I could not get it in. Part of the problem was the shirt was completely cold. It really is a good thing to get these things on and warm them up. Anyway, I almost panicked and went back to the 66. Travis told me to stick with the 62 and big Tone told me I was really close and to just push my belly up. Sure enough I listened and got the 850. I can't believe I tied a pr on what was essentially a fifth attempt. Of course Rob smoked his first 850. However, my man Tee did not did not get one in.
Now we were down to two. Without getting too dramatic, neither Rob nor I got it. My first attempt at it got out of the groove and I had them take it. I was really surprised I got a decent push on it for my seventh lift of the day. Rob was super close both times. The winner came down to the scale. Rob was 290 and I was 286. Rob was all class. He shook my hand and congrtulated me.
Not to forget about the lightweights, they crushed it. Tim Hensley, Jeff Johnston, and Josh Stottlemire hit 550, 575, 600, 625, and 650. Tim and Jeff tied on 675. Tim won on by bodyweight. You have my respect boys, that was a lot of weight to be moved. Thanks for coming out.
All in all, I couldn't have imagined it going much better. My wife has been to far too many meets, God bless her. She usually corrects papers or reads books when I'm not lifting. She said she was riveted to the stage the entire time. The format was so user friendly, everyone knew exactly what was going on and it was a real competition. In total I think there were 34 made attempts with only 10 lifters. That has to be some kind of record for a bench contest.
I want to thank all of the competitor for coming out. The camardarie was like nothing I had seen before. Each lifter was cheering the next on. This is what lifting is about. Thanks to Gene and Ame of the RPS for putting it on. Rhodes, Karsten, and Josh for helping me out. We have one of the tightest crews around. Thanks to my sponsors EliteFTS, AtLargeNutrition, and DangerouslyHardcore, I couldn't do it without you.
I will leave on this, I am a man of my word. I took home $550 for first place. I said that would all go to the Special Olympics. I was overwhelmed by lightweight winner Tim Hensley who donated $100 of his earnings to the cause as well, so friggin' cool. Matt Rys also said he'd chip in $50 if I won. To my pleasant surprise when I got home today and checked my email, he had already sent it via pay pal. Powerlifters are great peeps. This Novemeber I will have the great pleasure of presenting a $700 check at the CT Special Olympics Powerlifting Meet. Good times.
Oh yeah, I don't think I saw a single person pick me to win this event. For all of you I did my favorite "Suck it!" dance. That fueled me all week. I have said it before and I'll say it again, the best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't. Your silence spoke volumes.