APA Space City Bench Press Extravaganza

  June 26, 2004
Houston, Texas


148 lbs.

Teen 11-12

Jesse Burttschell
100 t a w
115 t a w
125 t a w
Teen 13-15

Beaux Leitz

165 lbs.

Teen 16-17

Andrew Kerai
181 lbs.

Teen 13-15

Joseph Sassie
225 t
245 t
270 t
Junior 20-23

James Evans

198 lbs.

Teen 13-15

Ricky Steinecke
225 t

Master 50-54

Brian Kline

220 lbs


Joshua Ash

242 lbs.

Master 45-49

Gene Wagenseller
405 t
275 lbs.

Master 45-49

Tom McCullough

308 lbs.


Tiny Meeker
765 t a w
800.5 t a w

Texas Record = t
American Record = a
World Record = w

The 2004 APA Space City Extravaganza got started at 2 pm in Houston, Texas.  Despite this meet being quickly put together on a very short notice, lifters and spectators came out to set records.

The meet started off with 11 year old Jessie Burttschell lifting in the 148's opening with 100 pounds.  On his 2nd and 3rd attempts he went 115 and 125 all for WPA World Youth Records.  Jessie came back for a 4th attempt at 135 and just missed it.  Not bad for this young lifter's 2nd meet ever.  Also lifting in the 148's for his very first meet was 14 year old Beaux Leitz.  Beaux went 135, 150, and just missed his 3rd attempt of 170 pounds.

In the 165 teens, 17 year old Andrew Kerai  nailed 225 on his opener, but missed 250 on his 2nd attempt only to come back to blast 250 up on his 3rd attempt.  Andrew came back to take a 4th attempt at 265 for a Texas record but just missed locking it out.

Joseph Sassie (15) lifted in the teen division opening his day with a 225 bench.  On his next two attempts he went an easy 245 and 270.  Going for a Texas record Joseph came back and took a 4th attempt at 285 but it just wasn't his day.  Junior lifter James Evans started off very strong with his 300 pound opener.  Coming back on his 2nd attempt to nail 320.  On his 3rd attempt James took 330, but about half way up his wrist rolled and the bar quickly fell to his chest.  Despite having all this weight hit his chest James only suffered a bruised rib.  He will be back in July to give 330 a try again.

Fourteen year old Ricky Steinecke lifting in the 198's started his day off with a 225.  He took 250 on his 2nd attempt missing it.  On his 3rd attempt he gave 275 try  but missed it as well.  In the masters division, Brian Kline (53) started his day off with a huge 425, but even that amount of weight was not enough to get the bar to the chest.  On his 2nd and 3rd attempt Brian took 450 pounds but it was still just not enough to get to the chest.  Once Kline gets enough weight on the bar I can easily see 500 going for a quick ride.

In the 220's, Josh Ash opened up with a very easy 400 pounds.  Coming right back on his 2nd attempt, Josh nailed 415,  On his 3rd attempt Ash took 425 and just missed locking it out.

Gene Wagenseller (45) had a great day in the masters 242's opening with an easy 325.  Wagenseller came back to nail a 375 on his 2nd attempt and then a huge 405 on his 3rd for a masters Texas record.  On a 4th attempt Gene just missed  425 pounds.

Meet director and promoter Tom McCullough (47), decided to step up to the platform and see what his new shirt could handle.  McCullough opened up with 455, but obviously this weight was far to light and never got close to the chest.  On the 2nd attempt Tom went 475 with the same result.  The weight dropped about 5 inches off the chest, stopped and then popped up like nothing.  On his 3rd and final attempt he took 500 with the same result.  Looks like McCullough will need 550 to 600 pounds to get the bar to the chest.

In the 308's, the BIG SHOW, Tiny Meeker from Houston, Texas, showed up to prove a point.  He came to this meet, weighing in at 294.4 pounds, wanting to be the first man to hit 800 with a single layer shirt.  As it was the day before the meet, 765 was the mark.  As Tiny woke Saturday morning, another competitor had just upped th mark to 785.  The Tiny now had a big job ahead this day.  Tiny put on his single layer Inzer Rage X and psyched up for his opening attempt of 765. Everything was right, the hand off was perfect and the weight rocketed up like a space shuttle on the way to the moon.  On his 2nd attempt Tiny called for 800.5.  The weight was ready, the crowd on their feet yelling, but Tiny just didn't have the right groove to lock it out.  On the 3rd attempt Tiny called for 800.5 once more.  This time the he took the hand off a little too far down his chest and the bar just dropped to the stomach and and had to be pulled off.  Being more determined  than ever before Tiny decided to take a 4th attempt for a record and called for 800.5 one more time.  This time everything was perfect.  The lift off went great, the huge weight slowly lowered to his chest and the head judge yelled PRESS.  Then just that quickly, Tiny shoved the bar to a strong lockout.  The crowd was crazy as they saw the white lights and Meeker suddenly realized he had gotten his goal.  After all of his hard work, Tiny Meeker will go down in the history books as the first man to hit 800+ in a single layer bench shirt.  Tiny also knew that he had joined an very small elite group of men in the 800 pound club, and now would set out to hit NINE!

I would like to take this time to thank out head judge Mark Harris and side judges Steve Burttschell and Shannon McDouglad, out scorers Ann Harris and Maria McCullough.  A special thanks also to our spotters who volunteered to help and Tony Cardella and Bobby Leitz who helped Tiny reach his goals.  Also a very special thanks to Houston ISD for the use of the facilities, Inzer Advance Designs for all the help and support they give not only our lifters but the sport.  Last, a special than to PLUSA for providing lifters with this space to cover their accomplishments and Scott Taylor who allowed us to get a sanction on a very short notice.