Northwest Grip Challenge Workout Results
September 29, 2002

All weights listed below are in pounds.

Lifter Age Block Hub COC grippers
COC for time RT Trap Machine hold Points Place
Jim McIntyre 36 66 48.5 #1 52.75 (#1) 171 1:16.40 42.5 1st
Mark Wechter 31 43.5 46 #2 31.42 (#2) 168.5 1:28.63 39.5 2nd
Morgan Guthner 32 61 36 #2 35.20 (#2) 201 1:14.72 39 3rd
Tod Becraft 39 51 46 #2 23.22 (#2) 161 1:19.80 38.5 4th
Vince Eldridge 37 43.5 38.5 #1 40.72 (#1) 183.5 1:22.47 31 5th
Joe Shaffer 25 48.5 41 #1 24.20 (#1) 161 56.10 24.5 tie for 6th
Paul Imholt 30 51 48.5 #1 12.74 (#1) 131 45.21 24.5 tie for 6th
Julie Havelka 27 36 41 #1 47.49 (#1) 128.5 51.51 18 tie for 8th
Mike Barney 35 43.5 41 #1 32.0 (#1) 146 --- 18 tie for 8th
Dave Fish 48 31 31 --- --- 131 1:02.61 9.5 10th

Click on the links below to view photos:

Jim No 2 attempt
Jim No 1 gripper hold
Vince No 1 hold
Joe No 1 hold
Mike No 1 hold
Julie No 1 hold
Morgan No 3 attempt
Tod No 3 attempt
Morgan No 2 hold
Tod No 2 hold
Mark No 2 hold
Joe Rolling Thunder
Tod Rolling Thunder
Morgan 201 Rolling Thunder
Vince HS hold
Jim HS hold
Julie HS hold
Paul HS hold
Morgan HS hold
Joe HS hold
Mark HS hold
Tod HS hold
Dave HS hold
Group Photo

The first Northwest Rolling Thunder Championships was held in September of 2001 in Portland, OR. It was such a hit that we decided to hold another contest, only this year we made things more interesting. The Northwest Grip Challenge Workout was held on September 29, 2002 at the Jungle Gym in SE Portland, OR. The owner of the gym, Noel Fuller, welcomed us warmly and looks forward to more strength contests at his gym in the future. We wanted the contest to be well-rounded and test the three main types of grip strength - pinching, crushing and sustaining. The contest began with two pinching events, Ironmind's hub grip and block grip. Although these two apparatuses might seem quite similar, we had some varied results for some of the competitors from one apparatus to the next. Most notably, competitor Morgan Guthner only pulled 30 lbs on the hub, but came in a close second to Jim McIntyre's 60 lb winning pull on the block with a 55 lb pull. Paul Imholt had both a good pull on the hub and block. It's exciting to see what happens after most people have maxed out and only two or three guys are left vying for first place.

After the pinch grip events, we moved on to Ironmind's Captains of Crush grippers, No. 1, 2 and 3. We started with everyone attempting the #1, then moved on to the #2. Three of the ten competitors closed the #2. Only two men attempted the #3, one of them being Morgan Guthner. Morgan gave it a good shot, and is just a hair away from closing the #3. His determination is high - he will soon close the #3. Tod Becraft also attempted the #3. Tod is closer now on the #3 than he has ever been. Within time, Tod will also close the #3. The second part of the CoC event involved holding the grippers closed for time, with a scarf held in between the handles. When the scarf dropped, the timer stopped. Everyone who closed the #2 held the #2 for time, and everyone who only closed the #1 held the #1 for time. The scoring was set up so that if you were in the #2 group, you would receive higher points than the people in the #1 group. People dug deep and gave it their all. This is not a fun event - it's a challenge in the mind. Notable times were done by Morgan Guthner, Mark Wechter and Tod Becraft on the #2: all three men were within seconds of each other. Jim McIntyre held the #1 the longest with 52 seconds. Julie Havelka, the sole female in the contest, came in second on the #1 hold with 47 seconds. Mike Barney gave it his all on this event, as well as the other events. Mike is always great to have around for intensity and positive energy!

After about 10 minutes rest, it was onto the Rolling Thunder. The Rolling Thunder is a rotating handle that is 2 3/8 inches in diameter. A regular gym barbell is 1 inch in diameter, so that gives you and idea of how hard this lift is. A few of the competitors had not used the RT before, and one was overheard saying 'This ought to be interesting!' And interesting it was. Many people set personal records. Vince Eldridge, who drove 3 1/2 hours down from Washington set a 12.5 lb personal best with a good lift of 183.5 lbs. Vince is a 700+ lb deadlifter, and recently deadlifted 751 lbs in competition. Joe Shaffer shattered the NW Lightweight RT record of 147 lbs with a strong 161 lb lift. This was Joe's first time on the RT. Julie set the NW women's record at the 2001 NW Rolling Thunder Championships with a 111 lb lift. She reset it this year with a 128.5 lb lift. Becca Swanson, the world's strongest female powerlifter, holds the current World Record in the RT with 135 lbs. Julie is inspired by Becca's lift and hopes to break it someday! The biggest excitement of the RT lifting came with Morgan's easy 201 lb lift. This is the first time the 200 lb barrier has officially been broken in Oregon. Morgan had more in him and plans to work on the RT hard between now and April, when the next RT competition will take place in Spokane, WA. Wesley Kampen of Monster Muscle Magazine will be hosting the competition.

The final event of the day was probably the most grueling. Hammerstrength's trap machine was chosen to simulate the sustaining grip of a car deadlift hold. Five 45 lb plates were added to each side of the machine, for a total of 450 lbs. No straps were allowed - only belts and chalk. The best time was set by Mark Wechter with 1:28.63. Dave Fish set a personal best and beat a few others in the process. This lift, simulating a car deadlift hold for time, is all about mental toughness. You have to first want it in your mind before your body will endure the lift. Top US Strongman Phil Pfister, who has been on the World's Strongest Man TV Show more than once, is a master at this type of grip event. Phil says 'Take your mind there and your body will follow.' So everyone had to dig deep for this event - and we saw who had the strongest mind and sustaining grip when the dust settled (chalk dust that is!)

The awards were then handed out. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place all received certificates commemorating the event along with their placing. 2nd place received an 18 inch barbarian knife with leather case. 1st place received an 18 inch folding knife with leather case. Both knives had metal plaques on the cases naming the event. There was also a cup trophy awarded to the biggest Rolling Thunder lift. Jim McIntyre took 1st place with 42.5 points. Mark Wechter took 2nd with 39.5 points, and Morgan Guthner took 3rd with 39 points. Right behind Morgan was Tod Becraft with 38.5 points! As you can see, the points were close enough that every lb or second made all the difference in the competitors' final placings. The contest was such a success, we plan to hold something similar every year. Again we'd like to thank Noel Fuller at Jungle Gym for his continual support of our strength events!