Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
January 29, 2023

President Madison and the 2009 USAPL Raw Nationals
By Eric Talmant for CriticalBench.com

President Madison and the 2009 USAPL Raw Nationals
Platform 2 of Friday's Action. Notice the professional judge's attire as well as the score board.

In a letter to W.T. Barry on August 4, 1822, President James Madison wrote, "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives". I do believe that knowledge does lend itself to power, and so I would like to tell you-the reader-why I would consider the 2009 USAPL raw nationals an outstanding event. I would hope that both lifters and meet directors alike both gain some knowledge from this article, and then use this knowledge to help determine which meets to attend and direct.

In this article, I am not going to focus on the outstanding lifters that made this event great. Rather, I am going to focus on all of the other things that made the Charlottesville USAPL raw nationals a success.

For me, I really enjoy history; whether it is American or otherwise. So, when I first heard that the USAPL raw nationals were going to be held in Charlottesville, Virginia, I was immediately interested. Since I had already committed to a competition a week after this one, I decided to make the journey as a spectator. On my drive south from Baltimore's BWI, I was debating whether to visit Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (which I have been to before), or James Madison's Montpelier. I decided to see Madison's Montpelier, and for me it certainly did not disappoint. Since I am such a huge history buff, the newly restored mansion, well informed tour guides, and manicured gardens provided exactly what I was looking for.

James Madison's Montpelier
James Madison's Montpelier

My point is that in order to draw and appeal to lifters in a rough economy, you have to perhaps provide more for the lifter than just a great competition. Meet directors Will Morris and John Shifflett obviously understood this when they put in their bid to host this meet. Numerous lifters that I talked to over the course of the weekend shared the exact same sentiments with me. Many lifters will usually look for some other type of draw besides just the competition in order for them to commit to going. I think this is very important when it comes to running a successful national event, and I believe it would benefit potential meet directors who wish to hold such an event to keep this point in mind.

In addition to "things to do", I believe that it is very important to surround the event with very knowledgeable people. Once again, because they are veterans of the sport, Morris and Shifflett brought in some of the best in the sport of powerlifting. The judging was excellent and was done on two platforms that ran simultaneous on Friday. The scorer's table had some of the very best in the business, and the announcers that called the event and that kept the lifters informed of their position in the rotation did so with passion. Having directed a few meets myself, I can tell you that without knowledgeable personnel it is impossible to have a great event.

Al Siegel
Powerlifting raw originator Al Siegel (right)
was part of the judging team at the 2009 USAPL raw nationals.

The warm-up room is another integral piece to the puzzle of running an outstanding national competition, and again Morris and Shifflett did not disappoint. For Friday's action, there were four warm up stations. Each one was complete with ER rack, proper bars, adequate weight, and even two projectors that clearly showed the lifting order. Although a bit snug, the warm up room was everything and more that the lifters needed to get ready for their upcoming lifts. As a competitor, I have been to meets where the equipment in the warm up room was different from the equipment on the competition platform. For a national level event, this is certainly not a good idea and not what the lifters deserve. For those of you that are considering running a great powerlifting competition, I will tell you that a warm up room like this will ensure that all of your lifters have everything that they need in order to be successful on the competition platform. It is a very important detail that should not be overlooked, and I promise you that the more serious lifters will gravitate towards those meets or those federations that provide excellent warm-up rooms.

2009 USAPL Raw Nationals
The four platform warm-up room for the 2009 USAPL raw nationals.

Since I was handling a lifter during the Friday AM session on platform 1, it was VERY helpful to follow the action in the warm-up room on one of the two projectors that were in sync with the projectors on the competition platform. As a coach, this allowed me to watch where in the line-up my lifter was, which allowed me to keep her informed. Since the USAPL does use a 60 second clock from the time that the bar is announced as "loaded", it is even more important for each lifter to know exactly when it is their turn. The projectors also help the lifters and coaches see not only their total, but the other lifters totals and rankings. For my lifter, this was very important because it came down to the last deadlift as to whether she would win the competition. If not for the easy-to-use projector and computer program, then it might have been much more difficult for us to figure out what she needed to deadlift for the win. I would highly advise any meet director to take a look at and consider Joe Marksteiner's Next Lifter Software for their next powerlifting contest. It can be found here: http://www.nextlifter.com/index.shtml

Eric Talmant & Natalie Freed
The author with his lifter at Friday's AM session on platform 1, Natalie Freed

Capping off the weekend, on Sunday meet director Will Morris honored the father of Virginia powerlifting, 76 year old Curtis Walker. Curtis is a multi-time state, national, and world masters champion. Many considered Walker to be just about unbeatable at 242. In 1980, the great John Gamble found out why. Gamble decided to drop from 260 to 242 to try and beat Curtis Walker in the Virginia state championships. The result was a victory for Walker, and he handed John Gamble his only career loss. I think that honoring legends in the sport is a great idea at any meet; and especially at a national level one. Knowing the history of the sport is always very important, but to see the iron warriors of the past in the flesh is a real treat. Once again, this nice touch by meet directors Morris and Shifflett comes from a place of experience and having been in the sport for many, many years.

Will Morris & Curtis Walker
Will Morris (Left) with Curtis Walker.

It is my belief that if more powerlifting meet directors would take the time to do the things that Will Morris and John Shifflett did in Charlottesville that it would be much better for the competitors and for the sport. Charlottesville provided plenty of extra-curricular activities for all sorts. The meet was made up of very knowledgeable personnel, which ensured a very well organized and professional event. The warm up room was everything a lifter needed and more; and finally the weekend was topped off with a touch of nostalgia in honoring one of Virginia's own powerlifting legends. I know that even having run the Raw Unity Meet for 2 years that I will be incorporating some of the things that I observed and learned at this event for Raw Unity 2010. In my opinion, the 2009 USAPL raw nationals in Charlottesville, Virginia, was a great success. There is no doubt that even James Madison would have approved.

Joe Marksteiner, Will Morris, and John Shifflett
Left to Right: Joe Marksteiner, Will Morris, and John Shifflett.

About the author: Eric Talmant

Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a certified Metabolic TypingŪ advisor www.mt-advisors.info/EditIndex.php. Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic TypingŪ Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test, U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test); as well as the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone saliva test Profiles.

Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet. He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that.

His best equipped lifts are a 683 pound squat, 391 pound bench press, and a 650 pound deadlift in the 75K weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485 pound squat without knee wraps, 290 pound bench press, and 635 pound deadlift.

He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet www.rawunitymeet.com which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009.

Talmant brings a unique skill set and 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems. He lives in rural Spring Hill, Florida, and can be reached through his web site at www.erictalmant.com


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