Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
May 18, 2024
For Those Considering Running Thier Own Powerlifting Meets
By Roger Broeg

powerlifting meets I am writing this to be a help to anybody thinking about running his or her first meet. First of all, I am by no means a top-notch promoter. But I have run 6 small local meets and will be sharing from my experiences with these.

The first consideration is the federation you choose to run your meet under, if any. The advantages to running meets for a federation are records to set, and national, and world meets to qualify for.

There are around 30 federations out there. So here is what you should look at. Is your venue going to be insured? If you are running your meets in a gym it probably is. If you are not you better pick someone who offers liability protection.

The federations I am aware of, who offer liability insurance, are AAU, USAPL, APA, and ADAU.

Next it helps a LOT to run a meet for a federation already active in your area. This is because there will already be trained referees around, and lifters who have membership cards they want to use. But if there is some reason that is not your federation of preference you can still struggle through. Though it will be more difficult. If you are establishing a federation in a new area your first concern will be judges. Contact someone from that federation and find out how to go about getting judges trained. Now you need to find people who are willing to be judges. At our gym, I have a few judges who have never been to a meet. They went through a 4 hour seminar by the president of the AAU and his wife (both National referees), followed by on the job training the next day as I ran my first meet. On top of that we constantly practice with each other as we train. I watch my referees each meet, looking for weaknesses I can work on, they get a little bit better with every meet. This is a definite advantage to having people from your local gym serve as your referees.

The referees must be members of your chosen federation to hold their cards. The AAU gave a membership discount for referees. However the APA sponsors my referees into their organization for free. Check with your chosen federation to see how they are willing to help you out in this area.

Now, how to chose a federation. It is a matter of personal preference. The two big issues are equipment and drug testing. On equipment, do you want RAW (only a belt is allowed for supportive equipment)? Are you a single ply poly person? Or do you think any equipment should be allowed?

If you like RAW or single ply poly equipment only, the choices would be AAU, ADAU, or USAPL. Incidentally, these are all federations that require drug testing. The USAPL and ADAU require that at LEAST 10% of lifters be tested at the meet. Plus they have out of meet testing. By "at least 10%" I mean that if you have 11 lifters you test 2. If you have 21 you test 3, etc. These tests cost $65 each so be prepared to jack up your entry fee by $10. Lifters who are staunch on the drug free stuff will think it is worth it.

AAU drug testing is different; it is all out of meet by a third party. Each lifter is charged a $5 surcharge per meet to cover the expense. However the testing does not occur in every area. So if you are isolated from the mainstream locations, your lifters will be paying for testing that goes on elsewhere, while themselves lifting in untested meets. And those lifters, who are competing in tested areas, may have to take their own time to drive hours to get their test.

If you think all equipment should be allowed you would want to check into the APF or IPA. An advantage to APF is you can run either tested (AAPF) or non tested (APF) meets. Or both concurrently. But you have to buy your own insurance. The WPA/APA is the same way on drug testing, but they offer meet insurance at a very reasonable rate, however the drug testing procedures are not insured.

WPA/APA is more middle of the road on equipment. They allow double ply poly or denim, but no triple ply or canvas. They also do not allow patches. The rest of the federations fit somewhere in between the above. The next consideration is how do you feel about categories. These days there are so many categories offered by some federations, that everybody, who enters the meet, is assured a first place win. My personal preference is to see some competition. When I ran AAU meets, I only offered Teen, Novice, Open, and Masters categories. The problem with this was when the lifters were going for records; they kept seeing all these other categories they could set records in. So I was compelled to keep adding new categories to my meets. If you want to make a lot of money out of your meet this can be a good way to do it. But that is not the reason I chose to run my meets. For me all these categories did nothing but water down the competition at my meets, and create a headache keeping track of. So if you choose to encourage competition over just getting numbers for the sake of numbers, go with a federation that does not offer these categories to begin with. If you are after shear numbers, and a little extra profit, choose the federations that offer something for everybody.

OK, so now you have chosen your federation, you have your judges lined up, what are the expenses? There are a lot of hidden costs to running a meet. We will start with sanction fees.

Sanction fees vary from one federation to another. AAU runs $50 for sanction fees and insurance for a one-day event. However, once a year you must buy a club membership, which is another $50. So once a year it is going to cost you $100 to sanction a meet. Another consideration here is ALL AAU cards expire on August 31, regardless of when they were purchased. Be prepared to sell memberships that can only be used once at your late summer meets.

USAPL runs $35 for sanction fees and insurance. The insurance not only covers your meet, but it also covers drug-testing. They also have some kind of drug testing reimbursement program. Contact someone from the USAPL for further details.

WPA/APA charges $20 for sanction fees. Insurance is $3 per lifter. The memberships you sell are good for 1 year from date of purchase.

ADAU charges $50 for sanction fees and insurance. There is no club membership to purchase. And drug testing is insured. Memberships are good for 1 year from date of purchase.

NASA does not charge any sanction fees. Last time I talked to the NASA president meet directors were responsible for their own insurance. NASA is very obliging in helping to get referees trained. And their memberships are good for 1 year from date of purchase.

The next hidden cost is advertising. Fortunately a LOT of people can be reached via the Internet. However you will still need to print up flyers, mail them out, and drive around dropping them off. This means paper, ink, copying costs, gas, and postage. You will end up making long distance phone calls to various lifters (I buy a phone card just for this). You better set aside at least $5 per lifter to cover these costs.

Then there is your venue. I am fortunate enough to get mine for free. But where you hold your meet can be very expensive. Especially if you have to travel to run it.

The biggest cost should be your awards. I really splurge on these. I want to give away something nice. Final considerations. Don't take for granted that your weights are accurate. I weighed ours out on a freshly certified scale. Out of 30 45lb plates I got numbers ranging from 42lbs to 51lbs. Two of our 100s were actually 103, and two were 100. I always warn the lifters ahead of time about the 103s, then credit them for an extra 5lbs on their final results. I will soon be purchasing some new 100s to make up for this.

Computer scoring REALLY speeds things up. I am providing a sample score sheet. Please feel free to use it. It does everything but figure formulas. And it can be programmed to do that. There are various softwares out there just for this purpose. But they are very expensive.

If possible set up your venue the night before the event. And have your help show up at least an hour early. All kinds of things tend to come up at the last minute. You will need at least 3 spotter/loaders, 5 would be better, 3 refs, someone to keep track of the cards, someone to operate the computer, and someone to do the announcing.

This is all I can think of at this time, but as I come up with things I will revise this article. I find that I learn something from every meet I run. I hope this has been some help to you and good luck.

This *link * will take you to a downloadable excel sheet. This Excel sheet is the one I use to score my meets.

As you are running the meet, and the attempts come in, highlight the area you are working with, click the "data" pulldown menu, then click on "sort". You will have three feilds come up. The first feild should be the lift you are working with, in ascending order, the second should be "Lot" in ascending order. This will set up your round in a split second. At the end of the meet, highlight the whole score sheet, Then click on "Div" in ascending order, and "total" in descending order, and you will have your final results in a split second. Notice that as you plug the numbers in your subtotal and total are automatically figured. You can literally have your results tallied by the time the last lifter gets off of the platform.

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