Led by a trio of Georgia IronDawgs, local powerlifters closed out the season this past Saturday in strong fashion at meets in Loganville and Houston, Texas -- a Saturday which included a lifetime achievement award for one of the 'Dawgs.
Mt. Airy’s Joey Murphy, a 15-time world bench press champion, was honored by meet director George Herring at the Southern Powerlifting’s (SPF) Monster Mania Meet in Loganville. The 48-year-old Murphy also won the meet championship in the Open, 220-pound class. At a bodyweight of 207, Murphy pressed 575 pounds to win the equipped single-ply bench-only division. He set the SPF state record in the class and took home a "best lifter" award.
“(I) made my opening weight attempt of 575 pounds and missed my other two attempts. My strength seemed to be on, but my technique was not. Got some work to do going into next year to improve,” Murphy said.
“Today was one of my favorite days on the lifting platform since I began competing. I was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from one of the greatest lifters of all time, George Herring. George has trained multiple powerlifters, college football players, and professional wrestlers. He has also won more Powerlifting world championships and held more Powerlifting world records than anyone I know. I am certain that I would not have achieved the success that I have in lifting without his coaching and influence over the years. Thanks for the incredible honor today coach Herring. My very first sanctioned event was the World Association of Benchpressers and Deadlifters (WABDL) Southeastern Championships promoted by George Herring in 2003 in Suwanee. George made the event both fun and entertaining. He made every lifter feel welcome and ready to lift. After seeing how well the event was run and placing first in in the Class 1, 242-pound division, I was hooked on competing in the future.”
Murphy also mentioned that he would at times drive more than an hour to train with Herring at his Body by George gym.
“Besides learning proper technique, he instilled in me a confidence to lift heavy weights that I would not have attempted before," Murphy said. "He also taught me that my real competition is against myself in trying to improve each time that I am on the platform. If I could do that, then I would be successful regardless of where I placed when the competition ended. Though I tried to pay him something for the time that he took on those Saturday mornings to train me, he would never accept it. Witnessing that taught me to always try to help new lifters any time they needed it without expecting any kind of payment in return. If a multi-time world champion powerlifter would not charge me for his time, then there is no way that I could not pay that forward in the future. I have helped many people over the years in the local gyms around my area with questions about their normal training or training for their first meet, and I have never forgotten that lesson.
“In November 2007 at the WABDL World Bench Press and Deadlift Championships in Anaheim, California, I won my first world championship in the bench press. Since that time, I have competed across the country and have won another 15 world championships in the bench press that were spread over several lifting federations. I have also held multiple state, national, and world records as well. Looking back, I know that I was fortunate to have learned from one of the best lifters of all time and honored that he holds me in such high regard.”
Herring has said this would be the last meet he would promote.
A fellow IronDawg also praised Murphy.
"The Lifetime Achievement Award for Joey is well-deserved. He has been a good friend and a strong ambassador for our sport in more ways than one," IronDawg team captain, R. Garry Glenn of Oakwood said.
Also at that Mania Meet, IronDawg Zack Layfield of Flowery Branch established the SPF National record in the Master’s Men’s, raw, bench-only 165-pound, 75-79-year-old-class with his press of 185 pounds The dean of the'Dawgs at 76, the 161-pound Layfield was the oldest competitor in attendance.
Veteran lifter Jerry Crow of Flowery Branch joined Layfield at the meet.
“I hit two good bench presses at 210 and 220 pounds, which tied my last year’s record,” Crow said. “I missed my third attempt. It was much better in the deadlift. I went four-for-four, hitting all lifts of 385, 405 and 425 pounds -- which broke my record set last year. I was then granted a fourth lift (for record purposes only) and was good at 440 pounds -- 425 and 440 pounds are my best lifts to date. My total of 645 pounds also beat my last year’s push/pull record total. All records are SPF national records.”
Meanwhile, halfway across the nation in Houston, Texas, Gainesville’s Tim “T” Moon lifted at a World United Amateur Powerlifters (WUAP) regional meet, and took the title in the Equipped, Master’s Men’s, 50-54, 140 kilogram/308.64-pound class at the 2017 GrindHouse Open with an opening press of 345kg (760.59 pounds) to close out a year in which he defended his Olympia Title and won his 21st, 22nd, and 23rd World Championships in various associations. Moon, who weighed in a little under 288, fell shy of his personal record goal of 37kg (826.73 pounds) on his next two lifts.
“I had a lot of fun this year with many great trips” Moon said. “Thanks to all my friends and family whom God has put into my life. God has made me strong.”
And after six meets this year, anything else for 2017?
“I’m done,” Moon said with a tired laugh.
“We had another great year,” added Glenn, who earlier this year won his 10th national bench-only title and 12th national championship overall before undergoing a series of surgeries to “correct some long-standing issues,” and having to take time off to recover.
“We continue to prove that some of the strongest people in all the world live right here in our area. I need to recruit some of these Flowery Branch folks like Jerry (Crow) and Val (Smith-Palmer), and we would be even tougher,” Glenn said. “We look forward to 2018.”
Both Moon and Glenn are alumni of Jefferson High.