AAU Weightlifing Competition

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) returns to Laughlin on Fri-Sun, April 7-9 when they showcase AAU Powerlifting, AAU Weightlifting and AAU Feats of Strength and MAS Wrestling at Harrah’s Laughlin.
AAU Powerlifting has been recently rebranded as AAU Strength Sports to best describe its new direction of putting drug free powerlifting, weightlifting, feats of strength, combines and MAS wrestling under one umbrella. As of two months ago AAU Bodybuilding, Physique, Figure and Bikini also are now under the AAU Strength Sports umbrella.
The operative words in the previous sentence are “drug-free.” To event director, Martin Drake, the emphasis on the fact that this is a “steroid” and other “PED” free group of athletes is highly important. And Drake knows all about lifting weights, drug-free, for he has 43 world titles to his credit. The other meet directors, Bill Weinstock, Odd Haugen and Ray Anderson, are also multi World Champion lifters. The Harrah’s Laughlin event is the only one on the AAU calendar where AAU World Records in weightlifting, powerlifting and outdoor Feats of Strength/Strongman can be set.
There will be both indoor and outdoor events this year. The indoor events take place in the Harrah’s Laughlin Ballroom located down the hall from the Fiesta Showroom at the south end of the casino. The outdoor events are held in the Rio Vista Outdoor Amphitheater adjacent to the south parking lot at Harrah’s.
There is a $10 admission fee each day, which allows spectators access to all events. Their wrist bands will entitle them to food discounts at most of the Harrah’s dining establishments during the weekend.

Here is what’s up…
• AAU Drug Free North American Powerlifting
The “main event” is the AAU Powerlifting, a sport comprised of three distinct lifts—the squat, bench press and deadlift. All powerlifting occurs in the Harrah’s Laughlin Ballrooms (8 a.m. start each day). The lifting on Fri, April 7, features all women competitors plus men 165 pounds and below. The Sat, April 8, lifting features men 181 and 198 pounds; The Sun, April 9, lifting is the heavyweights with men 220 pounds and above.

•AAU Drug Free North American Weightlifting Championships
This is the sport often called Olympic lifting. Athletes compete in two disciplines, the “Snatch” and the “Clean and Jerk”. The AAU North American is the only weightlifting championships ever held in Laughlin. All lifting in this championship will take place during the morning sessions on Sat, April 8, and Sun, April 9, in the Harrah’s Ballrooms.

•AAU Drug Free North American Feats of Strength/Strongman:
This is the sixth year for the Feats of Strength/Strongman competition at the Harrah’s AAU event. Feats of Strength brings a different look to the traditional strongman/woman events. The indoor events will be held in the ballroom on Friday April 7 and a few events on Saturday April 8. The outdoor events will be held Saturday and Sunday in the Rio Vista Amphitheater.
The Feats of Strength/Strongman events are designed to test the strength and fitness of athletes of all ages and weights, both male and female. The categories include such feats as Axle Deadlift, Standing Long Jump, Tire Toss, Farmer’s Walk, Sled Push, Log Clean and Press for Reps, Strict Curl, Stone Carry and Duck Walk.
Many of the Feats of Strength/Strongman will take place at the Rio Vista Outdoor Amphitheater. Spectators must stop by the Harrah’s Ballroom to get their admission wrist bands for the outdoor events.

•AAU Drug Free MAS Strength Challenge (aka MAS Wrestling) is the latest addition to AAU Strength Sports. Legendary strongman Odd Haugen is the driving force behind this Strength Challenge.
The event is a one-on-one tug of war which sees two challengers sitting, facing each other with their feet propped against a board set between them. They each hold onto a common stick and then try to pull the other wrestler over the board (or have the other wrestler let go of the stick).
Haugen will present a showcase of MAS Wrestling on Sat (2 p.m.) for powerlifters and FOS athletes coming off their meet. The MAS Strength Challenge is scheduled for Saturday (at approximately 4 p.m.) in the Harrah’s Ballroom.

The contestants and teams …
This year’s AAU North American is drawing many talented men and women of all weights and ages from not only the U.S., but other parts of the world. In addition to Martin Drake, among the notable lifters expected to compete are:
•World Champion Glenn Tenove is one of the top Bench Press specialists in the sport as well as being a strong contender in the FOS events.
IN 2018 AAU Bodybuilding will also be a part of this event and will take place in the Fiesta Showroom at Harrah’s.
•Damiyah Smith from Oklahoma is a ten year old powerlifter with a future in the sport. At the AAU North Americans expect her to re-write the record book in both Powerlifting and Weightlifting.
•Jerry Homer Sr—is a local lifter of note out of Kingman, Arizona. He and Martin Drake are the only two men in history to be an AAU World Champion lifter and win their class at the ABA/INBA Natural Mr. Universe bodybuilding championships.
•Donald Walker is an AAU World Champion and IWF Master World Champion Weightlifter, who continues to defy the aging process. He will also be coaching his grandsons Damien.
• World Champion Danny Henry will be defending his titles in both Powerlifting and Weightlifting.
•Some of the other weightlifting stars are Fred Martinez, Keith Miller and Craig Swanson.
•Many versatile crossfit athletes such as John Schleifer, Chris Lovett and Ross Vivion, also excel in weightlifting and powerlifting.
•Henry and Karen Fultz, will be among the World Champion lifters in the Pushpull division.
•The MAXT team from Southern California is expected to be contenders for the FOS/Strongman Team Award (a new Hi-Temp sled), but Glenn Tenove is bringing a stellar indoor FOS Team.
•Powerlifting teams lead by Alan Arts, Kristenee Smith (Team Powerhouse), Mac Smith and Jerry Homer will duke it out for the new Hi-Temp training plates awarded to the winning team.
•Outcast Crossfit appears to be the team to beat if you want to win the new Hi-Temp training plates awarded to the winning weightlifting team.
•Contestants are from California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oklahoma, Iowa, Louisiana, Washington, Wisconsin, Israel and Nigeria
•Legendary Powerlifting World Champion Gordon Santee will lead a panel of national and international Referees including Bernice Dea, Martin Drake, Greg Lau, Henry Fultz, Alan Aerts, Phil Crawford, Bill Weinstock, Ray Anderson and more.



Harrah’s Ballroom & Rio Vista Outdoor Amphitheater

Friday-Sunday, April 7-9. $10 admission each day.