Saturday's lifts are historically STACKED every year. This year was no different when Richard “The Ant" Hawthorne, a mainstay in The Cage, deadlifted 600 lb x 5 reps. I got chills when I saw Richard on the platform with tears streaming down his cheeks before pulling those reps. His quiet approach to focusing on a big lift is very unique compared to the usual yelling, slapping, hyping, and smelling salts.
I was really pumped for the next event. Jay Nera and BOSS performed some heavy bench presses with their feet up and legs straight. Both lifters were coming off of some serious injuries (such as a torn quad tendon and torn labrum), but they still could press some monster weights. BOSS worked up to a 545 lb single… With no absolutely no leg drive. Jay also managed to get up to 495 lb with his feet up. Watching these two guys bench more weight than guys who have their feet down was unreal.
Flying into Ohio on a 25-hour flight from Australia was Rhyss “The Wolf” Keane. This dude obliterated 800 lb x 3 reps in the deadlift and almost got a 4th rep. I spoke to him briefly and he was fighting jet lag hard, but he just nailed it in The Cage. Can you imagine flying all that way then pulling that kind of weight for reps? Incredible.
Chris Duffin was next. This guy has a massive following. He walked into The Cage, barefoot as usual, and set up an amazing exhibition: 915 lb squat, 600 lb row, and 885 lb deadlift. I get heel spurs watching him lift barefoot. Man, just some crazy shit from Chris in The Cage.
KC Mitchell always inspires me. This man has been to hell and back and I was so happy for him that he got to deadlift in The Cage. That one-legged monster proves that we can get things done no matter what the circumstances.
My favorite event was seeing the great Mikhail “Misha” Koklyaev deadlift with Pete Rubish. Misha worked up to a 755 lb single and then turned the stage over to Rubish. Pete then pulled 735 lb for 7 reps… With NO BELT. Just amazing stuff coming from these two.