Most people believe powerlifters are young, muscular, and strong. Don’t tell that to either Donald Judd or Gene Lawrence.
The two continue to break records at 74 and 72 respectively.
Cold Iron Gym hosted the Second Annual U.S. Powerlifting Federation Region 7 Championship Meet on Saturday, March 24. Region 7 consists of Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
Powerlifting is a sport that requires strength and endurance, and the competitions are broken into three categories: squat, bench press and deadlift. Each person has three attempts at each, adding more weight each time, with the goal of breaking records. And that’s exactly what Lawrence and Judd did.
Judd started powerlifting when he was young. He coached the sport for 50 years, and competed in Olympic lifting before switching over to powerlifting. He has been participating in the senior Olympics since he was 50.
Judd, from St. David, holds records in the standing long jump, with 9-foot-3-inches, and in chin-ups, with 30. Lawrence started lifting only 17 years ago and has been competing in powerlifting competitions for just three years — a short time for a man who has three world records, including a 407-pound deadlift in the 308-pound weight class in 2010, which set the record for the 60 and up masters class.
Lawrence decided to begin competing in powerlifting at the age of 55 because he said he started getting out of shape and wanted to do something about it.
“I was getting to be just what I never wanted to be, so I started lifting weights,” Lawrence said. “I made friends with personal trainers and they pretty much forced me into a powerlifting competition.”
People kept saying he was too old, but Lawrence said that just added to the motivation he already had in wanting to get into shape. He completed his first meet with a bang, setting two national records, and said his success has inspired his grandkids.
Before Saturday’s meet, Lawrence said he hoped to set records in his division, which is ages 70 to 74, in the weight class of between 220 and 242 pounds. He achieved his goal, setting three state records, including a bench press of 220 pounds, breaking the previous record by 20 pounds.
“I feel good,” Lawrence said. “Not the best I’ve ever done, but I feel good.”
He said he is excited for his next competition, which is April 1 in Prescott.
Like Lawrence, Judd headed into Saturday’s meet hoping to breaking state records. While he didn’t do quite as well as Lawrence, he was able to set a new Arizona state record for the 70 to 74-year-old, 165-pound group, squatting 226 pounds. Judd came extremely close to breaking the Arizona state record on the bench, but couldn’t quite put up the attempted 126.8 pounds on either the first or second attempts.
“I wanted to make two more state records,” Judd said. “I fell short on the deadlift and bench.” Judd said what makes not breaking the records even harder is that after July he will be in the 75 to 79 age group.
“At least I totaled,” Judd said. “I didn’t bomb.”
There was a big crowd on hand to watch Lawrence, Judd and 20 others compete.
Region 7 and Arizona chairwoman Danni Eldridge was very satisfied with the turnout at the meet. This is Cold Iron Gym’s second meet owners have hosted in seven years, and they will be hosting its third next month.
According to Eldridge, whose daughter Sheri Hartmann owns Cold Iron Gym, they host the meets not to get publicity, but because of their love for powerlifting.
“Danni bought tons of powerlifting equipment for Cold Iron Gym,” said USPF Technical Officer and executive committee member Vince Moser. “The equipment is here, so this is where the meets take place.”