A competitor in the first-ever USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition hosted in Juneau starts his first round of deadlifting Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A competitor in the first-ever USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition hosted in Juneau starts his first round of deadlifting Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Pump it up: Residents compete in first-ever Juneau USA Powerlifting event

“The atmosphere was electric”

On Saturday afternoon a group of around a dozen men from across Alaska gathered at Juneau’s Tongass Fitness to squat, bench press and deadlift in the first-ever USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition hosted in Juneau.

According to Billie Denison, meet director and state chair for USA Powerlifting in Alaska, the competition was a major success.

The crowd cheers on a lifter as he attempts his final round of bench pressing at the first-ever USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition hosted in Juneau Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The crowd cheers on a lifter as he attempts his final round of bench pressing at the first-ever USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition hosted in Juneau Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

“There’s an excitement — people aren’t used to seeing these types of strength sports happening here,” she said. “Everyone that I’ve talked to is just excited — it’s an exciting sport.”

A competitor successfully completes a deadlift during the USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition Monday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A competitor successfully completes a deadlift during the USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition Monday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Saturday’s event turned out to be an all-male meet, which Denison said isn’t typical, noting it just happened that no women signed up to compete at the weekend event, though she said it’s a great sport for anyone to get involved in. USA Powerlifting is a substance-free sport that conducts drug tests for competitions and has a heavy emphasis on natural lifting without enhancements, Denison said.

A competitor at the USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition adds chalk to his hand before heading to the bar to deadlift Monday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A competitor at the USA Powerlifting Coastal Clash competition adds chalk to his hand before heading to the bar to deadlift Monday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

“We always want to get more people interested and to get more people to know what we’re doing,” she said. “Hopefully next year we’ll have another half dozen people.”

Denison said USA Powerlifting would like to make Juneau a yearly location where they come to and invite residents to compete and give them a chance to qualify for more advanced competitions.

Denison said even though the competition pool only had a dozen, the people in the competition can advance to higher levels all across the state and country, and can even have a shot at qualifying for the annual Arnold Sports Festival, a highly competitive competition named after retired professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It was absolutely amazing,” said Logan Lott, owner of Tongass Fitness who also competed in the event. “The atmosphere was electric — there was a lot of cool energy in the air.”

Volunteers add weight to the bar Saturday afternoon at Juneau’s Tongass Fitness for a powerlifting competition. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Volunteers add weight to the bar Saturday afternoon at Juneau’s Tongass Fitness for a powerlifting competition. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Lott said he hopes Tongass Fitness can continue to host the event in the coming years, and invited people from Juneau to get involved in the sport if they are interested.

“I just think it was a really cool thing for Juneau, we don’t get stuff like this all the time,” he said. “I think next year has a really positive outlook for bringing more women and competitors to Juneau.”

Results of the competition can be found at https://liftingcast.com/meets/m8b3yxxesi4v/results

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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