The King of the Bench will be held Saturday at Richey Raquet Club.
By KEVIN KELLY
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 16, 2000
Rick Lawrence is so sure the fourth annual King of the Bench weightlifting competition will be a success, he already is making plans for the future.
"We're planning on throwing a full (meet) in a couple of months," Lawrence said. "I have a feeling this year is going to be really good."
More than 50 lifters from Florida and Georgia are expected to participate in the bench press only meet, which starts at noon Saturday at Richey Raquet Club.
In three years, the meet has grown from 16 lifters in its first year to 38 last year. The money raised -- the registration fee is $40 for adults and $30 for teenagers -- will go toward sending members of the Pasco Power Team to out-of-state competitions.
Lawrence said he expects 10 lifters who can bench press 500 pounds or more to participate, which should create some excitement.
"There's going to be a lot of wives, a lot of kids," he said. "It's a family-oriented sport. There will be at least 50 to 75 people watching. People do scream, especially when somebody's pushing hard."
Last year, Johnny Yong, a 64-year-old from Sarasota, bench-pressed 420 pounds to beat out nearly 50 other lifters.
Because of a formula that includes age, weight and amount lifted used in determining the winner at weightlifting meets, Yong was the winner even though he didn't lift the most weight.
That honor went to Tampa super heavyweight Beau Moore, who benched 650 pounds.
Other winners last year included: Jason Bradford in the 16-17 age group; William Serocki in the 18-19 age group; Harold Rule in the 165-pound division and Nick Vavoulis (181), Kaz Marcinkowski (198), Richard Meyer (220), Anthony Vellake (242) and C.J. Jones (275).
The women's champion was Lisa Lazimen.