TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The sound of weights hitting the ground and encouragement for everyone rang through the Raw Iron Gym in Tyler this weekend for the 2021 Tyler Takedown full power meet.
It was the first powerlifting meet of its kind in Tyler, according to one of the owners of the Raw Iron Powerlifting League, Robert Doherty.
“The Tyler Takedown is the very first full power, sanctioned, nationally accredited meet. So Tyler has never had a meet like that here,” he said. “A lot of the powerlifting organizations that are out there only stick to big cities. So people that are further away in East Texas or some of the lower populated towns have a lot of distance to travel just to be able to go there to perform.”
The Raw Iron Powerlifting League hosted veterans and new lifters. Doherty said this gives everyone a chance to compete at a national level without having to travel as far. For 14-year-old Grace Dailey, this is her first meet to lift in.
“The atmosphere here is great. I think it’s a great sport because everybody supports everybody, and everybody wants you to be successful,” Dailey said. “I got involved in lifting because my mom went to this gym, and she talked to the lady that owns it and she wanted to train me, so now I power lift.”
Another local powerlifter, Ty Ward, is also in his first year of competing and said he was nervous at first, but quickly felt welcomed.
“As soon as I got here everyone was super friendly, super nice and they’re giving pointers, helping me out. Allowing me to get in warmups with them before my lift, and we’re just working together,” Ward said. “Even when we’re lifting, everyone is cheering each other on.”
There were also national record holders in attendance. Alex Hamblin is a lifter from Rockwall, and he has been competing for about 11 years. This weekend, he hit a personal record.
“Today was my first time breaking a 500-pound raw bench press, so that was a personal best for me. Hopefully, it’s just up from here,” Hamblin said.
In 2019, Hamblin was invited to compete at The Olympia in Las Vegas, an international competition.
“A few state and national records, did a couple different federations. I’ve gone to the Olympia twice. Last year in both bench and deadlift I finished first in those. My first year I finished third, still made podium,” Hamblin said.
The ongoing pandemic, which started last year,, has also created hurdles for those in the lifting community but Doherty said it was a good day.
“For over a year now, we’ve dealt with COVID, it’s been very hard. Very hard for people to get out and compete. There’s been so many restrictions,” he said. “To see this many people show up for an event like this, and everybody just be able to get out and do what they love, be a part of the fellowship, and be a part of the organization and what our mission is, it’s just a blessing to see.”
Raw Iron Powerlifting League’s goal is to give back to the lifting community as well as charities, and they have more events coming up this summer.