Jump to content

2019 - 9/29 - Hillbilly Hand Wars WV - Rivellese report


Recommended Posts

This past weekend, I took a road trip with Tim Butler to Morgantown, West Virginia to participate in the "Hillbilly Hand Wars" Arm Lifting competition, promoted by Sarah Jacobin Ott.  I had never been in that state before, except for a few minutes in December when we crossed the corner of it on our way to Crooksville, Ohio for the Last Gripmas.  But, I didn't have my son that weekend, Tim is good company, it was within driving distance (um, barely), Mike Saffell was kind enough to bring his Saxon bar so folks would be able to get a Saxon number on the leaderboard for purposes of trying to qualify for Worlds, and most importantly, it was called HILLBILLY HAND WARS!  I mean, with a name like that, how could a geeky lil New York paesan lawyer not fit in?

But, most likely primarily owing to the fact that I scrupulously avoided talking politics, I think I did.

As is usually the case when I attend an arm lifting event instead of a grip sport one, I had to make weight if I wanted my ideal weight class:  I am always pretty easily in the 83kg (under 183 pounds) weight class for grip sports, sometimes close and sometimes well within, never over 182 pounds though.  But Arm lifting has an 80kg and a 90kg class, which means that for 80kg, I needed to be under 176.3 pounds.  That is not unfamiliar territory, but I have to pay attention to be that weight lately, and I was 180 a week before and 177.5 (with light clothing) the morning before.  So I did the whole no water for a day, just a couple of bites of protein thing, and I made weight at 175.2 with light clothes.  I probably could have eaten and drank more water, but I made up for it with a huge McDonald's breakfast, coffee, orange juice, and water all day.  (And maybe a few swigs of Tim's 130 proof Jack Daniels black.)

MAS wrestling was first, and I did not participate because I could see immediately from what it looked like that I would be injured if I even watched it.  Just google it, you will see.  That's for young people who are fit all over and also don't mind getting injured anyway.  I had signed up just for kicks but when I saw what it looked like I backed out.  Tim backed out also (even though he is a young fit guy who doesn't mind risking injury).  During that event, they ran a crushed to dust certification elsewhere in the large open floor plan cross fit gym.  So I hung out and watched this ox Eli destroy the rolling thunder and of course close the 2 and hub 45 because if you can do 200 rolling thunder, you can do those.  I thought, damn, that stupid challenge, why not just make the hub and gripper part harder so it seems like it isn't just the rolling thunder challenge, or make the rolling thunder easier so it is just an easier challenge (even Mike Saffell, who is better at thick bar than at grippers and hub, made the gripper and the hub but missed the rolling thunder - correct me if I am wrong Mike).  So anyway, some poor fool whose name I didn't get (and who was very nice) was warming up with his own rolling thunder.  He happened to have my comp PR (and personal PR) loaded on it, just about exactly:  167.  So I asked hey man, let me try a pull?  And up it went.  Kinda weirdly easy, like, is this a rolling thunder?  So he says yeah, just got it, I'm warming up for crushed to dust.  So he adds 25 and makes it 192.  And I try ... GOOD LIFT!  Um, huh?  WTF?  I can't do 192 on a rolling thunder!  So deceived into wanting to believe something so much that I act against my better judgment, I signed up to try the crushed to dust also.  You get three minutes.  I picked up the 2 and Sarah said, "Just when you set it I have to put the credit card in ..."  "No, Sarah, that's OK, I won't be setting this."  Closed.  Hub, no prob, it's just 45.  Then ... well, unfortunately for me and for the unnamed nice clueless dude who was about to fail crushed to dust right after me, Sarah had just gotten her rolling thunder too ... but FROM IRON MIND, not from eBAY like he must have.  Because, of course, No.  Air.  At.  All.  Not on 200, and on that handle, wouldn't have on 192 either.  So after I missed that a couple times, and Sarah said you still have a minute you can try once more (no thanks, I don't need to pull myself closer to the floor again), I just no set the 2 for a couple reps in each hand and hubbed the 45 up to my neck and said to the video that would not need to be sent to Ironmind because there was no lift to judge, "Ironmind sucks."  I think all such videos SHOULD actually be sent to Ironmind, but whatevs.  It was fun to try.

Silver bullet was the first arm lifting event, and that was a little bit of a let down to get 2 seconds on a COC 3.5.  It's a weird feeling when you do a feat that people think is pretty good and you know it is far from your best, and so you kind of have to be gracious but you really just wanna scream.  I mean, a lot of the folks at this comp were not gripsters, and were fiddling around like "Oh, should I use the 1 or the 1.5 for the silver bullet?"  And that was just the guys!  I think one of the gals actually used the Sport!  So when I got 2 seconds on the 3.5, some of the peeps were like whoa, that's awesome man.  But I'm a gripper guy now (I think that is fair to say, having been in it for a coupla years now and grippers probably being my best event within grip sports), and I was really disappointed because that was the opener for the comp.  Warming up I had closed their unrated 3 MMS and felt like I could hold the 3.5 with the SB over 10 seconds, because I have done 12 seconds all three previous times I SB'd a 3.5 in comp.  But, I got kind of a bad set, and maybe had done too much rolling thunder (yes Chez, I know, I KNOW, I should not have done that!) -- and I just plain dropped it at 2 secs.  Tim had a similar but slightly less disappointing experience, since his "failure" was to get "only" 1 second on a COC 4.  But like me, he had done better recently, and had felt good warming up.

Redemption for me was not far away:  for DOH axle, I was hemming and hawing about my opening weight, which I told Sarah would be either 273 or 283 pounds.  She persuaded me to play it safe and start with 273, just to get on the board.  But, this comp gave lifters only 3 attempts.  So I went back to her and said, "No, bee otch, I am starting at 200 KILOS!"  No, I didn't say that, of course.  I went back and said, you know what, I'm gonna start at 283.  My reasoning was:  I have done 280 in comp a couple times, I got air on 305 at a comp in June but missed it, and I've done 303 at home.  283 should go up, and then I'd have two more shots to improve my score and maybe get my personal PR as a comp PR.  It worked.  I got 293 and then 303, and held it for like 8 minutes, or maybe 3 seconds, while Sarah just kind of looked and then said, oh yeah OK, you can if you wish perhaps maybe now put it down.  Well, it felt like that.  Jason Dingey (he and his wife are just about the nicest folks you will ever meet!) was kind enough to video it for me.  It was really cool of him to even think to offer, as a number like 300 ish on the axle should not make his antenna go up as being a big deal -- he can warm up with more, and probably does 400 for breakfast.  Unfortunately for my travel buddy Tim's axle plans, he had a very poorly timed twitch or tinge in his left hand that messed with his axle opener and caused him to miss it, and bothered him for the rest of the comp, so he zeroes and lost his shot at his weight class, which he otherwise probably would have won.

Then we moved to rolling thunder, which was of course not on the nice clueless guy's chalkful or somehow otherwise not so rolling thunder, but the new hard one.  So, I opened on 156, figuring I'd have a good shot at 166 which was very close to my PR, and if I made it I could go for 176 (all 10 pound jumps were required).  I made 156, but not as easily as hoped, and I got 166 up to lockout but lost it before she called down (Sarah was very, very tough on down calls, as many were saying all night - but on this one I think she got it right anyway).  So no PR there, but in my usual range and not upsetting at all.

Next was supposed to be hub, but it was getting real late and Sarah took a vote - almost no one wanted to do hub, so she removed it from the contest and just let the few who wanted to do it take one attempt for leaderboards purposes.  Maybe I should have done that, but it had to be a multiple of 10, and I had no idea what number to try on a brand new hub (other than that 45 had been easy, but every pound on a hub is noticeable), so I let it go.

Lastly, Sarah let those of us who wanted a Saxon bar number for leaderboards take one pull on the Saxon bar that Mike Saffell was kind enough to bring with him.  The only problem here was that Sarah decided to make it strategic (and in fairness, she had done this with the hub also):  only one lift.  I had come all the way from New York mainly for this one lift, that wasn't even formally part of the contest:  I needed a Saxon pull before year's end because one of my bucket list items is to be invited to the World comp in St. Petersburg Russia for my weight class (80kg).  Until yesterday, I was in 5th place in my class on the Arm Lifting leaderboards, and only the top three are invited.  But the ranking is computed on the basis of FOUR events: Silver Bullet, DOH Axle, Rolling Thunder, and 3 inch Saxon Bar.  I was 5th, but that was with a ZERO averaged in for Saxon Bar, since I had never done the 3 inch.  So ANYTHING I would pull on this would help immensely more than a zero.  But of course, having only one chance is not quite competitively equal to those who were able to do it in a rising bar or 3 or 4 attempt comp.  So I had to choose carefully.  And not much time to warm up.  And I had just done a whole comp for chrissakes.  So I did a couple of light lifts and then got 156 with some difficulty.  I had done 175 on this implement at Anton's in Queens, but it was of course a different implement and a different day etc. etc.  I was afraid I might have peaked, and if I missed 156 trying it again, I'd still have a zero.  So I did 146.  And I think that might have been a mistake, because I think the 156 had lit me up and I might even have made 166.  The 146 went up very easily and it was easy to just hold it for 10 seconds and put it down gingerly, which is something I often do when it is the last item and won't hurt the rest of my comp.  Also sometimes when it will but I just feel like a hold.  Because, sometimes you feel like a hold, sometimes you don't.

I won my weight class (which consisted of two, the other person not being a gripster, so not really competitive), and I won the Masters 2 category because, well, I was the only one over 50 so that was easy.  Jason Dingey obviously won the Masters 1 category (40-50), and beat me on every event.  So I reiterate my relief that at 50 I am still allowed to be in my weight class, as my odds of beating spring chickens my own size, while rarely a sure thing, still seem better bet than my odds of beating the Jason Dingeys and Mike Rinderles of the world (no Mike was not at this comp, but he's a year ahead of me and an inspiration).  Sarah made these awesome Hillbilly Hand Wars goblets for the winners, so that was cool.  We all also got a nice tee as part of the comp fee, which was awesome.

There were a few glitchy things about the comp - it was originally going to be rising bar but was changed upon arrival to three attempts, it required jumps of 10 pounds from initial numbers chosen arbitrarily, one event was cancelled, and it ran very late.  And the Saxon qualifier seemed a little arbitrarily strategized.  But, the promoter - Sarah - was EXTREMELY careful to be consistent, congenial, and concerned with everyone's involvement and the time.  The decisions she made were based on trying to make the comp more efficient and dealing with having scheduled a lot to do in a short time.  She meant well, worked hard, and respected everyone.  I can deal with the things I disagreed with because of her professionalism and decency.

Overall, I think Sarah did an amazing job and it was a pleasure to have my first visit to (and not just through) West Virginia be to attend her comp.  I'd go again, and I would recommend that others do as well.  I think she is gaining experience as a promoter and learning from the things that didn't go so well, and becoming better at making things go well.  And she is attentive to detail and fairness.  I will be looking for chances to attend her comps again.

Thanks to everyone, as usual, for participating in this awesome niche sport.

Edited by Vinnie
  • Like 15
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just goes to show you how inconsistent a “new” Rolling thunder can be! 2 were present there, Vin? That’s a big discrepancy between the 2. Definitely not good for competition comparisons across the board from contest to contest unless the SAME RT is used in every comp. That is very disheartening!

Edited by Guest
Link to post
Share on other sites

It was a great time! Nice write up as always, Vinnie! See ya the 12th!

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Joseph Sullivan said:

Just goes to show you how inconsistent a “new” Rolling thunder can be! 2 were present there, Vin? That’s a big discrepancy between the 2. Definitely not good for competition comparisons across the board from contest to contest unless the SAME RT is used in every comp. That is very disheartening!

I think there were three RT handles there.  Only one was used for the comp, and it was a new one purchased directly from Ironmind for the comp by the promoter (or provided by Ironmind as a sponsor, I don't know the payment arrangements).  That one felt just like my personal (relatively new) one at home, on which my max is usually in the 160s as it was at the comp in Texas and as I almost made yesterday.  But on the RT that someone brought, I got that ridiculous number.  So your point is right about variance, and using consistent, standard implements to get comparable results.  But they definitely used the right one for this comp.

On the side, as my buddy Anthony C. pointed out to me, I still pulled almost 200 on a 2 3/8 thick handle with one hand.  Not bad for a guy weighing 175.2 with some clothes on, eh?  I bet there aren't THAT many guys who can pull 10 per cent over their body weight one-handed on a handle that thick, even without the full rotation.  And it certainly wasn't zero rotation.  I'll take it.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the write up Vinnie! I I was certainly overwhelmed with the number of competitors but most of you were so understanding and considerate it made it a much better first competition for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope you return.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Vinnie
1 hour ago, sottful said:

Thanks for the write up Vinnie! I I was certainly overwhelmed with the number of competitors but most of you were so understanding and considerate it made it a much better first competition for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope you return.

 

The criticisms were constructive only, but the praise unconditional.  You threw a great event.  I am very glad I came!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
JStepien

Nice write up vicious vin!!! Surprised you didn't try the mas wrestling

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Vinnie
1 hour ago, JStepien said:

Nice write up vicious vin!!! Surprised you didn't try the mas wrestling

It looked like begging for strains and sprains and pulls.  I just couldn't.

Link to post
Share on other sites
richcottrell

great write up.  Thanks for taking the time to write this all out.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
JStepien
19 hours ago, Vinnie said:

It looked like begging for strains and sprains and pulls.  I just couldn't.

Too busy drinking with Tim The Anvil Butler??? Just kidding, ah just out of your comfort zone

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy policies.