Feats of Strength

The 21st Annual Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) North American Strength Sports Championships will be held Friday-Sunday, April 6-8 at Harrah’s Laughlin.
AAU Strength Sports is the umbrella for AAU Drug Free Powerlifting, AAU Drug Free Weightlifting, AAU Drug Free Bodybuilding, AAU Drug Free Feats of Strength and Strongman and AAU Drug Free MAS Wrestling. Once again AAU Strength Sport National Chairman and Hall of Fame Athlete Martin Drake is the overall event director. Drake is also a Natural Mr. Universe Master Champion. AAU FOS Chairman Ray Anderson and Hall of Fame Athlete Bill Weinstock will be in charge of the FOS/Strongman, and Hall of Fame Athlete Odd Haugen will run the MAS.
Athletes who participate will undergo drug testing by a third party, the Center for Drug Free Sport, which tests for the NCAA, MLB, NFL and more.
There is a $10 per day spectator fee, which covers all contest events on that day. It also provides food and beverage discounts at Harrah’s Laughlin restaurants. Tickets can be purchased in the main Ballroom, located right behind the Fresh Market Square Buffet.
Local teams lead by Mikel Meadows of Bullhead City and Jerry Homer of Kingman will engage in friendly battle with several teams from Nigeria, Oklahoma, Texas, Nevada, Indiana, California, Washington and New Mexico.

AAU Powerlifting
Powerlifting originated in the AAU in 1964. It is comprised of three basic lifts — the squat, the bench press and the deadlift. In the squat, the athlete essentially does a deep knee bend with the bar on his back and descends to below parallel before ascending. The depth and precision of a competitive squat is far more precise than a typical “gym squat.”
In the bench press, the athlete, while lying on his back on a bench, removes the bar and holds it at full lockout until given the command to start. Then he brings the bar to the chest and stops it until the referee issues the press command. He then presses it to a full lockout and waits for the rack command.
In the deadlift, the lifter picks the bar off the ground and stands erect. When they are in the proper position, the referee will give the down command.
Athletes have options to do all three (powerlifting) or single lifts (bench only, deadlift only) or the pushpull (bench & deadlift). Male and female athletes of all ages and weight classes will be competing.
Some of the top lifters and teams include. Damyah Smith, a.k.a. “The Powerhouse Princess.” This 12-year-old “mini monster” is already a many-time AAU World and Junior Olympics champion. Veteran competitor Jerry Homer Sr. and his son, Jerry Homer, bring their world champion talents down the hill to Laughlin from Kingman. Several of the greatest raw benchers in Drug Free history will be competing including Drake, Glen Tenove and Henry Fultz.
A popular portion of the AAU Drug Free Powerlifters are the impressive female lifters. Along with the Powerhouse Princess, world champions including Camille Curto, Dr. Chandler Marrs, Dawn Wermuth and Anna Shaw will be competing.
The lifting each day begins at 9 a.m. in the Main Ballroom.

AAU Weightlifting
Weighlifting is often referred to as Olympic lifting. It is comprised of two lifts. The snatch where the athlete lifts the weight overhead in a single movement and the clean and jerk, a compound movement with the bar finishing locked out overhead. Numerous AAU World champions and AAU World record holders are expected to compete. Two promising Nigerian-born lifters, Rasaq Tanemowo and Joseph Ndbuisi, will return to the platform. Other AAU world champions or record holders competing include: Ashley Svendbye, Kristin Finn, Robert Piloton, Danny Henry and many more.
Lifting will be Saturday and Sunday (9 a.m.) in the Harrah’s Laughlin’s Main Ballroom.

AAU Bodybuilding, Physique, Figure, Bikini, Sports Model & Mixed Pairs
Drake decided in 2017 to bring back the legendary AAU bodybuilding program. He recently appointed chairman Lorenzo Gaspar to lead this effort and magic is occurring. As you can see by the lengthy title, there are a variety of events suited to the physique of the various competitors. Since these events involve subjective judging, it is essential that the judges are highly experienced and completely impartial.
This year’s panel includes Gaspar, Drake, and former Mr. America Doug Brignole, Figure Champion Monica Lopez, DFAC World Bodybuilding Champion Vicky McCann and Guy Addison.
Competing coaches and their teams include Danny Torgl (Team Perfect); Michael Haelea (Platinum Physiques); Laurie Delaney (LaDel); and Coach Smitty’s team.
The event will be held Saturday, April 7 (6:30 p.m.) in the Fiesta Showroom within Harrah’s. General admission seating is $10 and covers all Saturday events in all sports.

AAU Indoor Feats of Strength
These events are referred to as FOS. They are comprised of various indoor strength movements not covered by traditional powerlifting and weightlifting. They often include bench press for reps, deadlifts for reps, strict curls, axle bar deadlifts and log presses.
Stand-out athletes competing include Weinstock, Tenove, Ray Anderson, Mike “Irish” Kane and Loren McClurg. The event is in the Main Ballroom on Friday, April 6 (9 a.m.) prior to competing in outdoor events on Saturday and Sunday (9 a.m.).

AAU Outdoor Strongman Events
These events, like the other sports are open to males and females of all sizes and ages. Some of the fun events include: Car deadlift, Frame Carry, Hussafel Stone, Conan’s Wheel and other tests of strength and endurance. Team Maxt from California is the team to beat, but others could prove tough as well.
The Strongman events will be held Saturday and Sunday (9 a.m.) in the Rio Vista Amphitheater at Harrah’s. Tickets are available in Harrah’s Ballroom.

AAU MAS Strength Challenge
This sport is a strength and grip challenging event that originated in Russia. It is essentially a complicated two-person tug-of-war in a seated position. Athletes from all the various disciplines are expected to compete.
MAS will be conducted Saturday afternoon in the Showroom between the Bodybuilding pre-judging and evening show at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Special Events
The Florida Greco Art Gallery of Laughlin will be on hand all three days displaying several pieces of artwork. Gallery artist and vocalist Karen Lopez will perform songs during various portions of the bodybuilding show on Saturday.
Andy Gil Garcia, Las Vegas on-air personality and director of marketing for Lake Las Vegas, will return as the DJ for the Bodybuilding show.
In addition to judging, Brignole will be on hand to discuss health and fitness.
A free Posing and Bodybuilding prep class, lead by AAU World Champion Megan Johnson-McCullouch, will be in the ballroom Friday (7 p.m.). Other world champions are expected to assist. The class is open to all current AAU Members. AAU Memberships are $14 for youth 19 and under and $24 for adults.
For more information, call Martin Drake at 310-953-5030.


AAU STRENGTH CHAMPIONSHIPS

Ballroom, Fiesta Showroom, & Rio Vista Amphitheater at Harrah’s

Friday-Sunday, April 6-8 (events begin at 9 a.m. daily)

$10 admission each day