For the very first time, the Bench Press Nationals are coming to the Sioux Falls Convention Center. That means hundreds of really strong people from more than 20 states will be coming to town at the end of August. There’s still time to qualify for the event.
“Historically it’s been big bald dudes lifting weights and a little intimidating but the growth of the sport has been female,“ Leo said.
Jona Leo is the USA Powerlifting National Meet Director and a three-time IPF World Bench Press Champion. The Sioux Falls man runs LeoStrength and put in the bid to bring the Bench Press Nationals to South Dakota.
“Awfully excited. It’s a lot of work ahead of us but I know the city and the people and Sanford Health are behind it and it will be a great event for them,“ Leo said.
Anyone thinking about competing in the event should start their training now and think about finding a qualifier over the summer.
Lincoln Senior Morgan Hughes got into powerlifting recently to improve as a track and field thrower.
“Powerlifting is not just for the hardcore people. It’s also for all the people who want to get in shape and strive to do well in other sports,“ Hughes said.
She’s doing so well she’ll be competing in the high school nationals this weekend in Louisiana.
“Lifting on Saturday afternoon. Doing squat, bench, deadlift and hopefully getting that first place,“ Hughes said.
Leo says there are other talented lifters in the Sioux Falls area.
“Local lifters may not know their potential to get to an international or even on a national stage. I would encourage people to step forward, step out of their comfort zone,“ Leo said.
And not having to travel across the country is a big benefit.
“So the fact that a national meet is in Sioux Falls. This is the first time it’s ever been done for U.S.A. Powerlifting. Take advantage of it,“ Leo said.
Men and women will be able to participate at the Bench Press Nationals at the Sioux Falls Convention Center over Labor Day weekend. Winners will go on to the World Championships in the Czech Republic in 2020.