The AOBS is the Annual Oldtime Barbell & Strongman Dinner. It happens once a year and is a weekend full of legends and strength athletes from the past to the present.
I attended and performed back in 2009 and was very eager to attend this year.
My journey started as I drove 3 hours to Nashville TN where I met up with my good friend “Iron Tamer” Dave Whitley.
Dave had the honor of performing on the main stage this year after the dinner was served.
We then flew to Newark NJ to the Marriot Hotel where the event took place.
I was so excited to be back at this event since I would be able to see some old faces and some new ones that I was looking forward to meeting.
When we arrived I was greeted by none other than the best MC going strong for 20 years now The Mighty Stefan. I new it was him because I heard, in a loud and boisterous voice “THE MACHINE”
I laughed as we hugged and said our hello’s.
Next more brothers of steel and iron arrived.
From my dear friend Pat The Human Vise Povalitis, Chris Haircules Rider, Steve Crusher Weiner, Sonny Steel Barry, Chris Sheock, John Mannino and more. (please forgive me if I’m forgetting anyone.
Of course the Grandmaster Dennis Rogers was in attendance. Anytime I get to hang out with Pop Is a great day.
Anyone that knows me understands how close I am with Dennis. I’m homored to call him one of my best friends and love him like a father.
Another legend that I got to speak with was Slim The Hammerman Farman. I don’t know Slim like David or Chris Rider do but I did have the honor of getting his autograph on my shirt back in 2009. What made the autograph even more impressive was that he actually signed the letter L in front of his name. I was told he does not do that very often.
I was flattered that he remembered me.
When I reached out to shake his hand he gave me a stern look. he asked if that was all I got? referring to the squeeze of my handshake.
I told him yes sir, I respect you too much to try and squeeze your hand. he smiled at me and then asked how I have been
Then I got put in a whizzer (wrestling hold) by a young man who just happened to be Russell Jones son. Russ was another gent I had spoke to on the phone but never had the pleasure of meeting. He also provided the AOBS with the fine audio.
I got to see The Mighty Atom JR again aka Mike Greenstein. What an amazing man and still going strong in hiw 90′s. Just this year he made the news by pulling a vehicle with a strap in his mouth using just his teeth!!! I had the honor of presenting him with a bar that Dave bent across the front of my throat back at the 2009 dinner.
I even got my picture with none other than one of the strongest men to ever pick up a piece of iron the great Marvin Eder!
One of the gents I was looking forward to meeting was Bill Hinbern. Bill owns one of the most vast collections of strength books I know of. I subscribe to his newsletter and always enjoy his great posts on legends of the past.
I had never met Bill, nor did I know what he looked like. We have developed a repoire over the past few years and was someone I was very excited to meet.
As I was standing in the lobby, I hear my name called again. Directly in front of me was the man himself. We shook hands, I was clueless as to who this gent was…..None other than Bill Hinbern.
As the days progressed more awesome men of strength trickled in to the hotel. We learned about the plans for the weekend and who was doing what and when.
I learned that Pat “Human Vise” Povalitits and Steve “Crusher” Weiner were performing together. Their performance was really cool to see. It was a combo of some of their personal signature feats and joint combo feats. The Insane duo.
Steve even scrolled a pair of bunny ears and then presented them to me at the main dinner. I laughed knowing he was poking fun at my rather large set of satellite dishes hanging off my head.
I got to see my friend Sonny Superman Barry. This gent looks no where near his 67 years of age. he is built like a mack truck with hands the size of a Grizzly paw and biceps that would make Hulk Hogan envious. Though Sonny looks imposing he is one of the kindest and humble men I know.
From across the lobby I saw a huge shadow of a man blocking out the sunshine that was trying to peek through the door to outside. For a second I though I had come face to face with the Legendary Bigfoot, but thankfully it was my friend Chris Haircules Rider. We had not seen eachother since 2009 and it was a joy to catch up. He of course had to poke fun of me about some of my prior escapades from my younger years, and during dinner of all times.
At our table sat Pat, Dennis, Slim, Steve and the rather svelte and trim Steve Pulcinella who owns Iron Sport Gym. Big Steve was even used as a prop for Pat and the Crusher performances.
My buddy Dave Iron Tamer Whitley got to demonstrate his amazing Kettlebell skills on the main stage and wowed the crowd. Dave has really come in to his own in regards to performing making a nice balance for his worldwide sought out skills in the RKC Kettlebell world.
I’m sure I have forgotten some, and please forgive me if I have. The weekend was one of the best times I have had. I am already looking forward to next years event where I hope to perform once again.
I can’t finish this post without mentioning the wonderful surprise that Grandmaster Dennis Rogers had for me. During the shining stars performances Dennis and David left their seats and made their way to the stage. Pat The Human Vise and Steve Weiner turned around and said “I think we are going to have some Machine time”
I then new what was going on and Dennis gave me a wonderful introduction about my world record bars bent across my throat on august 25, 2012.
He then called me up on stage and presented me with a certificate verifying the record. I was shocked and deeply humbled.
What an amazing time to be recognized by fellow brothers of steel and iron.
I’ll never forget this day.
With good times sometimes come sad. Thus the case when we got the news from the Mighty Stefan that Strongman Greg Matonick had passed away the night before. Greg was a good man and in my opinion and others the best teeth bender to walk this earth. The man could bend a quarter in his teeth. I had the honor of seeing him do this on 2 occasions.
Greg will be greatly missed by the strength community and by his loving family.
I hope I was able to give you a look into a wonderful weekend full of great people and lots of crushed steel and odd objects.
Until next year,
keep the Faith: