One of my favorite trips every year is the Association of Old-time Barbell and Strongmen dinner. This year Dennis Rogers invited me to perform on the main stage along with John Mannino, The Human Vise Pat Povilaitis and Steve Weiner. I did not get any video of those guys performing, but they all brought some SICK strength to the stage and i had some great laughs in the warmup area with them. Gentlemen, it was an honor to share the stage with you.
Mike the Machine Bruce drove down from Kentucky and we left early on Friday morning to fly up to Newark NJ. When we arrived I remembered that I had recently been having a Facebook conversation with a chiropractor and newly minted RKC in NYC named Dr. Kathy Dooley. I sent her a message and she, along with fellow RKCs Matt Tolstoy and Amanda Clark traveled over to the hotel to meet me and spend some time together.
I had never met any of them, but they all embody the spirit of what Pavel tries to instill into his instructors. I always enjoy getting to meet folks like this when I am on the road. It makes feel even better about the future of the NEW organization (which Pavel is launching very, very soon) to know that the newer instructors are bringing such talent to the table.
Before the evening was over we were having swing and getup critique in the hotel hallway, thanks to Joe Walker, RKC and the kettlebells he loaned me for my performance at the dinner. I also got some attention to some of my physical issues that get stirred up from sitting on planes and sleeping in strange beds. If you are in NYC and you need a Chiro, I fully endorse Dr. Kathy Dooley.
On Saturday morning, we went to meet up with Grandmaster Strongman Dennis Rogers in the lobby and the day of the AOBS dinner began. When we got to the lobby Slim the Hammer Man was already there and so was Bill Hinbern of Super Strength Books.
The son of the Mighty Atom, Mike Greenstein spent a long time with me in a conversation about strength, health, his father and breathing. Mike recently made the local news in NYC for pulling a car with his teeth. He will be 92 in December.
Blundering around, talking to the everyone I was given some shocking and very sad news. Local NJ strongman Greg Matonick, who has been a perennial figure at every event like this I have attended, died suddenly in the early hours of Friday morning. “I was just talking to him the other day, about coming to the dinner” Slim told me. He was one of the greats and will be missed.
A highlight of the AOBS for me is always talking with the Hammer Man. If Dennis Rogers is the Grandmaster strongman, then Slim is my strongman Grandfather.
I picked up this picture, taken circa 1975, from him. His stories and advice from 50+ years of doing this and being the protege of the Atom is, by itself, worth the trip. Having him tell me after my performance “You did good, boy!” is PRICELESS.
And what would an Oldetime Strongman gathering be without a bent press demonstration.
There are so many other people that I get to rarely get to see that I was able to catch up with. Haircules Chris Rider, The Mighty Stefan,Chris Wonder Shoeck ( a relatively new face, but VERY strong and talented) Russel Jones, Sonny Barry……..I’m trying not to leave anyone out but there were a LOT of folks there. I apologize if I skipped over anyone. It was wonderful to see everyone and get to experience this event. I am already looking forward to next year…….