Pahrump weightlifters break records and bring home the gold

The 2014 World Powerlifting Championships were held on Nov. 23 at Ballys in Las Vegas. The meet attracted 619 lifters from all over the world.

Pahrump sent five lifters who placed and won awards. The five lifters were Gary J. Miller, 64 years old; Rodney Graves, 90; Bill Prince, 77; Craig Gustofson, 60 and Elijah Daharsh, 17.

Miller benched 335 pounds in his division and set a world record. He also set a world record in the push-pull event. This combines the bench press score with the deadlift. For this event, Miller received a score of 694.1, which was good enough for a world record. Miller currently has 28 world records in his division.

Graves also benched himself into the record books. He pressed 121.6 pounds for a Nevada state record.

Prince also had a good day benching 297.5 pounds for a world record for his division. Gustofson benched 209.4 pounds and the youngest lifter, Daharsh benched 225 pounds.

Prince says it’s not all weight lifting.

“We have to do cardio to maintain our weight division and it keeps the blood going,” he said. “When I started I weighed more. At 70 I was at 198, then I went to 220 and 240. This week I was down to 180. My wife gets mad at me because I can lose weight so fast and she can’t. I just know how to do it.”

Miller sold Prince out and said Prince gained too much weight too fast.

“He gained so much weight he had a heart attack and has three stints put in,” Miller said. “Bill likes eating cake and ice cream. He also at the time refused to diet. I remember he had the best workout ever at my gym and he didn’t feel so good and had to go to the hospital. He passed out on the floor and needed surgery for the stints.”

In general, Miller says weightlifting keeps you healthy. Miller is a senior citizen and says since he started lifting weights eight years ago his health has improved. For each meet he trains about eight-10 weeks for a meet and that’s lifting three times a week.

After a bad car accident, where he spent two years in a hospital, he is now in the best shape of his life. For seniors, he says resistance training keeps your muscles from deteriorating.

“Some say weightlifting reverses the aging process,” Miller said. “I don’t like to say that. I say it slows it down. Nothing reverses it. It is scientifically proven to add muscle tissue, bone density and it improves your ligaments, tendons and joints. The way the human body deteriorates, is that you lose muscle tissue, bone density and the joints deteriorate.”

Miller trains at Alien Rage Gym and Prince trains at Custom Health and Fitness. Miller is a certified fitness trainer and is the Nevada state chairman of the Nevada World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters.

The next meet for the Pahrump weightlifters will be on March 7 at the Pahrump Nugget.

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