“When a contemporary man looks down into his psyche, he may, if conditions are right, find under the water of his soul, lying in an area no one has visited for a long time, an ancient hairy man.” — Robert Bly
“Anthropologists are almost universally agreed that these cave sanctuaries were created, in part at least, by men for men and specifically for the ritual initiation of boys into the mysterious world of male responsibility and masculine spirituality.” — Robert Moore
“People always assumed that men were drawn to certain kinds of activities, and that providing some sort of release valve for natural male aggression was healthy. It made men happy to do the things they wanted to do, and ways were found for men to exert their virility constructively — or with minimal destruction.” — Jack Donovan
“Only recently have we begun to discover the invisible cords which have moved us for so long, to feel their silent tugs at our fantasies, judgments, and fears. One can only dimly imagine what the world would be like if we could somehow turn the music off, cut the cords of sex roles, and discover ourselves.” — Robert Brannon
I started working out when I was 13 years old. I remember it was September, 1986, and it was one of the defining moments in my life. I needed to get stronger for softball and found out I liked weightlifting as much as anything else. I liked the pump. I liked the feel of the weight. I liked getting stronger. It was addictive. Especially for a young man, you have a lot of testosterone running through your body from age 13 to 18 — more than most of the rest of our lives. It is a great way to release stress at that time.
I continued weightlifting through high school and played football and baseball. I played a little baseball in college — kept lifting — and then became cheer leader and gave up baseball. Lifting was a part of cheer leading and it meant being surrounded by good looking women. The combination was hard to resist!
In 1999, I competed in my first competition — in Richmond, Kentucky — and took second place. I came back the next year and took first. After that, I started in my first meet with USA Powerlifting. I did the bench press division at the USA Powerlifting Kentucky State Championships in Henderson and I’ve been doing it ever’ since. I enjoy it. I do powerlifting, some strongman, and if I’m injured, I do bodybuilding.
Powerlifting is static. Strongman is movement. Powerlifting you can build up to a maximum effort. Strongman the events are maximum effort from the get-go — and you’re like, “Wait a minute! That’s a good way to get injured! But strongman is a lot of fun. I enjoy it. I watch it on television. I can recite every winner since 1977!
Powerlifting is very different from bodybuilding. With powerlifting, I get to listen to my body; take an extra day off if my joints are hurting. I may even take an extra week off. With bodybuilding, you are getting your weight down and pushing your muscles to the surface. You do that with diet but you gotta get that workout in every time, even if it is light weight. It’s fun but I like powerlifting more not because it’s less work but because it’s more fun to compete in something that is not subjective.
Well over a decade ago, I joined the Omega Force Christian Strength Team. We are known as the “World’s Strongest Team and the World’s Greatest Message.” We have traveled over the eastern half of the United States, had a lot of shows, been to a lot of different towns, and seen a lot of people make life-changing decisions.
We do what your power teams and other strength teams do — we blow up and break hot water bottles and break baseball bats and those sorts of things – but that is just the tip of the iceberg for what Omega Force does. We do every feat of strength you see on World’s Strongest Man and we create a high energy, exciting show based on those feats to illustrate the gospel.
This type of evangelism requires absolute faith because you gotta trust that God works on hearts and you pray your audiences will grow in their faith. I was at a gas station one time and a guy came up and asked, “Are you on Omega Force? You were there when my son got saved. It completely changed his life.” You hear those stories more than you think and it’s a real confirmation.
I like drug-free lifting. If you’re natural, you’ll last a lot longer. I workout with athletes who’ve been in powerlifting for 15 or 20 years or more and they are still healthy and lifting because their bodies haven’t been subjected to performance-enhancing drugs. It will take you a lot longer to get where you want to go. Your gains won’t happen overnight. But you won’t have the excessive problems with knees and hips and shoulders and find yourself broke down after five to 10 years of competing.
I eat eat whatever I want though I try not to eat as many carbs after six o’clock at night. Sometimes I get carried away (and I like lasagna)! When I went into the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, I competed with USA Powerlifting in the Pro Raw Bench Press. I weighed around 230 pounds and benched for 430 pounds.
The key to a lot of it is participation. If you want to be on Team USA, then take the steps, go compete, be drug-free, get a qualifier in, get a nationals, and when you do, you may earn yourself a spot. You’ll never earn a spot if you don’t make the effort!
— Clint Poore is seven-time Bench Press National Champion, six-time member of Team USA, and five-time gold medalist in North American and Pan-American Bench Press Championships. He lives in Albany, Kentucky.
“I’ve competed in one Highland Games — and that probably shouldn’t be discussed! I’m five-foot-seven on my best day. Bulky powerlifters don’t do too good with Highland Games. The throwing requires strength — and they are usually big guys — but throwing means they are constantly stretching their muscles maximum distance. They have a totally different look.”
“Omega Force was also invited to be a part of America’s Got Talent. We went on and it was a lot of fun to meet people, get to go behind the scenes, enjoy the experience, and be seen by over 25 million people.”
“We use a Bavarian deadlift. We lift logs. We do a Basque bell-raising contest, raising a 150-pound bell, arm-over-arm. We carry a 350-pound cross on a special apparatus (it’s awkward but really cool). We use a Basque stone — a 314-pound stone with a mirror inside that must be rolled onto your shoulder and placed on a barrel.”
“Crowds love to see fun feats of strength — breaking bricks, breaking bats, tearing 1,000-page phone books in half. Blowing up hot water bottles are probably the most dangerous. If you don’t know how to handle your breathing, the pressure from the bottle can rush back down into your lungs and — potentially — explode a lung.”
More from Clint: “Powerlifting is static to me. It’s completely static lifting. But strongman is movement. You have to move with the heavy weights. Powerlifting you can build up to a maximum effort. In strongman, the events are all max-tempered from the get-go — you’re like, “Wait a minute, that’s a good way to get injured! So, powerlifting lets you build up to a maximum effort; not start out at a max effort and try to not get injured. Strongman is a lot of fun. I enjoy it. I watch it on television. I can pretty much recite every winner since 1977. Know them all by heart! Strongman is a lot of fun.
“Moonshine Pears are mighty good on the dark winter nights of January… but they’re not too shabby anytime of year (as long as you can get good pears).” — StateoftheOzarks
One to four firm D’Anjou pears
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 375*F
Wash, halve and core pears. Place on foil-covered baking pan. Fill cored center with honey. Add liberal pinch of cinnamon and allspice.
Bake pears for 20 minutes. Turn oven to broil (525°F) for 5 additional minutes. After 5 minutes, turn off oven, keeping pears in oven for 10 minutes. Then, remove pears, place in serving bowls, add to each pear:
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1/2 shot moonshine
1/2 shot Irish whiskey
Garnish each pear with a moonshine cherry.
— from the StateoftheOzarks Kitchen
“It’s a bad time to be a boy in America. The triumphant success of the U.S. women’s soccer team at the World Cup last summer has come to symbolize the spirit of American girls. The shooting at Columbine High last spring might be said to symbolize the spirit of American boys.”
— Christina Hoff Sommers, The Atlantic, May 2000
From top, left to right:
Farnese Hercules by Glykon, AD 216, Naples. Wikipedia Commons.
The Majesty or Great Oak at Fredville, drawn from life by Jacob George Strutt for the Sylvia Britannia, 1824.
Anti-aircraft Fire, Hell’s Belles’ Marine Corsairs in foreground, Okinawa, 1945. US Marine Corps.
Cairn in Snow (Hünengrab im Schnee) by Caspar David Friedrich, 1807, Gützkow, Germany. Wikipedia Commons.
Clint Poore Photos courtesy of Clint Poore, Albany, Kentucky, and Omega Force.
Rob McDonald photos courtesy of Rob McDonald and ModernWildMan.
Moonshine Pears Photos by Joshua Heston, StateoftheOzarks, January 12, 2017.