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Bros vs Pros XI: Grudge Match, Wrapup


Another Bros vs Pros is in the books and as they say, the show just keeps getting better. This event had been labeled a guaranteed success based solely on the premise that one of the strongest men walking the planet in Derek Poundstone, was competing in the middle of his training season, meaning he was in full power mode and should be unbeatable in the Mens 405lbs for Reps deadlift. On the flip side of that coin was a proven Bros vs Pros multiple time deadlift champion in the younger Mark Lerch. A handful of brave men knew what they were facing in these two, but threw their names in the hat for the opportunity at taking home $2,000.

As we worked our way through the pack, there were a few quality trained athletes who put up solid numbers in the upper teens and a newcomer from Coco Beach Florida who knocked out 32 solid reps before succumbing to the empty tank so many guys felt in the 100+ degree humidity. Because we were at Derek’s Poundstone Performance Training Center, Derek had the choice of when he wanted to make his attempt. Derek opted to go last which forced Lerch to the bar and go ‘til he couldn’t go no more!

Mark stepped up to a cheering crowd. He had pulled a record 37 reps in Chicago last December at Bros vs Pros IX and many wondered could he repeat his performance in the brutal Connecticut humidity? Mark was laser focused and as he strapped in, it was clear he knew he would be crowned champion. He stood tall on his first rep, took a deep breath and went to work, one after another after another. He passed 10, 20, 25… 30 and with a slight pause, gathered his senses and ground out another and another when he finally couldn’t go anymore, his total ended with a screaming 43 reps! 

Derek Poundstone looked on in amazement. Was he phased by the performance he just witnessed by Lerch? Could he put his mind in the right place and more importantly, at 330lbs of bodyweight, did he have the gas to go more?

Derek strapped in with his traditional blue Ironmind deadlifting straps and his signature Poundstone Performance t-shirt. Red in the face, eyes of steel he stood with his first one and let the weight settle in. He went to work. 10, 15, 20 and he paused. Sweating and breathing heavy, he rested the bar on his knees, readjusted the meathooks he calls hands and continued, but at a markedly slower pace. 25, and then another pause. Defeat had set in on Derek’s’ face. But he continued on until every last drop had been spent from his tank. He stood up around number 30 and then let go of the bar in mild disgust. He had been bested by a never been tested kid from Long Island in his own house!

Derek had nothing but praise and thanks for Mark. Camaraderie is paramount in this game. Support no matter how bitter the taste was the element that allows this event to plow forward with growing success. But Derek knew he wasn’t finished. He had another trick up his sleeve in the final event of the day… The Max Deadlift.

However, there were a group of girls who had their own battle waging. Former Bros vs Pros champion and perennial threat, IFBB Pro bodybuilder Tazzie Colomb was battling two other IFBB Pros and an unknown blond chick from Pennsylvania who thought she would stop by and see if Bros vs Pros was for her.

Tazzie has been the queen of the deadlifting platform in the past. She has decimated Pros as well as Bros on rubber floored platforms around the country. Tazzie however had competed the day before in the Hartford Pro show and was far from full of energy. A few cocktails the night before may have been the final nail in the coffin as well. However, Tazzie only knows one speed, and that’s all out. As she busted her tail knocking down one rep after another, it still wasn’t enough to take the lead over the massively surprising powerlifter in Rebecca Clapp. Rebecca put on a clinic, grinding out one rep after another after establishing an incredible rhythm. She wound down her display at 60 reps at 135lbs and hoped it would be enough. It was, by more than 20!

In the second Womens event, Tazzie was a beast. It was clear that Rebecca needed to learn some bodybuilding movements. Her form in the curl was lackluster as biceps training is not a necessary part of a powerlifters repertoire. Tazzie was left with needing to knock down 59 reps to create a tie between her and the Pennsylvania Powerhouse. Tazzie locked into the chrome cambered bar and started her assault. 10, 20, 30, 40… Was it possible, after competing in Hartford, being depleted and dehydrated, could she pull this off? And the answer became apparent as her struggle began about 15 reps short of her target. It was not to be for the rugged champion and instead, once again, showed that the Bros at our events are the real deal.

The last event of the day was what would prove satisfying for the days sponsor. The 1 Rep max sponsored by Derek and Kristen Poundstone put $1,000 on the line to see who was the baddest dude to grasp the bar that day. With a strong field of powerlifters, strongmen, top NPC bodybuilders and one of the baddest dudes in American Strength Sports for more than a decade, everyone waited for the moment the bar was loaded for some serious pulling.

Lou Costa who pulled 765lbs in New York at Bros vs Pros VII was certainly a leading candidate for the money but with Mark Lerch putting his name in the hat, it wasn’t such a lock anymore. Akim Williams is arguably one of the leading favorites going into the USA Championships in three weeks, but was he strong enough while dieting to make an impact here and had Derek Poundstone recovered enough from his 405lb assault to recover in the heat and take what was rightfully his? Derek knew so.

The bar opened at 545lbs and many lifters passed. The lightest lifter of the day however was incredibly impressive as he made a pull of triple his bodyweight by going 595lbs at 180lbs bodyweight. The bar made its way over 600 and everyone was in. Akim blew everyone away by pulling 605lbs with no belt, no straps in nary a t-shirt and shorts.

When the bar made 700lbs, a few had dropped. Derek and Lou were still in strong. While the weight increased, so did the very apparent effort by Lou. His foe however, continued to look stronger with every weight increase. Akim missed at 750. Lou and Derek were the sole competitors to take it to the 800lb mark. Roughly only 20 or so men in the country right now are pulling more than 800lbs so to have two in the same building was an impressive feat. Lou came in with angst and determination as he was the first to attempt the 805lbs on the platform. For a brief moment, it looked like Lou may make it, but in the same moment, the glimmer disappeared as it crashed back to the floor.

It was up to Derek to prove he truly was the strongest man in the building. As Derek took to the bar, his training partner brutally slapped him on the back to increase his dopamine response and hone his focus into the task, literally in hand. Derek stood tall with 805lbs and paused at the top for the photo op. As head judge, Derek looked me dead in the eye and said “let’s go 850”. I gathered everyones attention to the premature celebration that was taking palce with his friends and family behind me to let them know, we were moving the bar up. Now everyone took notice. 850lbs is a monumental task. Clearly, Derek was seeking his own grudge match within himself.

Derek only took a few moments to gather himself and approach the bar. The humid room grew quiet. The Greek God Zeus spoke to everyone from outside as a gathering storm approached. With thunder and lightning swirling and vibrating outside, the electricity inside grew with an increasing audible whirl. Derek grasped the bar, rolled it out in front of him, pulled it back and up at the same time. He stopped just above the knees, placed the bar there (termed hitching), settled back and finished the lift and stayed there for an photo op. The “Poundstone Hitch” which is a known term in the strength community, served Derek victorious once again as he devastated the 850lbs in style.

As exciting as all of this was, it paled in comparison to my favorite portion of this event. Special Olympics superstar John Brillante came to show us how hard work and determination can produce results, no matter what your obstacles in life might be. John ambled proudly to the deadlift platform to bring levity to the entire day. See, Johns’ right side of his body doesn’t function the same as his left. His ability to stand evenly or grasp the bar would be major obstacles for nearly anyone attempting to powerlift. John doesn’t seem to know that though. We loaded the bar to the prescribed 105lbs and John clumsily grasped with his right hand and firmly grasped with his left. He looked up, dropped his hips and stood easily with the 105lbs on the bar, not once, not twice, but an easy 10 times. The crowd went nuts watching this incredibly gifted kid perform on stage like a rock star. Levity and tears were brought to many in attendance. Mine included.

Bros vs Pros VI was a culmination of firsts for us. This was the biggest in attendance event to date. The most reps ever performed by a single lifter. Disability was proven to not be a factor by any stretch of the imagination. The most weight lifted by a single competitor and the first time two heavily favored Pros were soundly defeated by two amazing Bros.

Dave, Sally, Pete, Jeff and I want to thank Met Rx for their incredible support of this event as well as Supplement City of Connecticut and of course Derek and Kristen Poundstone from Poundstone Performance Training Center which is an amazing training facility for serious athletes. We want to thank Vasi from Vasi’s Restaurants for providing food for which every penny he made was donated right to the Special Olympics of Connecticut and most of all, we want to thank the amazing competitors who once again proved, being the Pro is not always the best place to be at one of our events!

Look for Bros vs Pros XII for the first time as Ed and Betty Pariso have invited us to the Phoenix Europa Supershow on October 20th to bring our show to its biggest audience yet! Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we start to announce the details for that event. Our Pro is locked in and this guy is a huge fan favorite. If you are looking to showcase your company or team as a sponsor in Phoenix, contact me by email and I will give you all the details and opportunities available. Email:  [email protected]

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