(Times-News (Twin Falls, ID) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 25--TWIN FALLS -- They're all after a number, an accounting of their determination, proof of their work ethic, validation of their desire.
For it they load inconceivable amounts of weight onto their back, bending with it as low as they can, later pulling it from the ground as though they were uprooting redwoods. They'll take slightly smaller loads and push it off their chests, where they block out the thought of it crushing them in a weak moment.
Some, and some of the biggest, later get on the fronts of their feet and pitter-patter as fast as they can through tiny rope boxes.
Athletes -- and they're all athletes -- from across the Magic Valley compete this Saturday in the Magic Valley Powerlifting Challenge, the second straight year the event has been held in Twin Falls.
From prospective collegiate football players, to semi-pro weekend warriors, to Miss Idaho contestant Sierra Sanderson, each has their own reason to be part of the Excel gymnasium, an invitation or recommendation only gym.
It's really just a warehouse on Kimberly road, where mostly crude (and some sophisticated) iron objects weld mind and body.
National records will be broken, and some will qualify for an international power lifting competition called the World Cup.
There's a 26-year-old Serb some call Ice Monkey, Dario Mikic, who can deadlift over 600 pounds, and Jacob (appropriately last-named) Savage, a proudly self-proclaiming meathead who's headed to Butte College and at 18 is significantly stronger than the program's starters he's seeking to beat out.
"Everything is intense, it is like you come into the gym and you're a whole new person and you turn into an animal," Savage said. "You come in here and take it all off. It's a lifestyle."
Said Mikic, one of the many Excel athletes who prefers action over words: "I like being with the guys."
There's Adam Taylor, soon-to-be Lighthouse Christian senior running back/middle linebacker who's one of the best football prospects in the area, and who has worked with Excel gym owner and trainer Derek Molesworth since his freshman year (Molesworth has trained athletes at Lighthouse Christian and Canyon Ridge, and will work with Filer athletes this season).
"It gets you mentally strong," Taylor said. "I'd like to be in the record books. But for football, college coaches have said I'm at the level of a sophomore or junior."
There's Anthony Archuleta, a Twin Falls graduate and former football player who suffered hamstring injuries in his junior and senior seasons, and is trying to fight his way back into the game through Molesworth's training.
"I'm just building myself from the ground up," Archuleta said. "There are great people in here, they are all athletes and they all want something. It really helps you athletically."
Sanderson was the lone female in a testosterone-heavy group interview this week. She's competing in the Miss Idaho contest in three weeks.
She's not like the other girls.
"The other girls they tell me they don't want to do (powerlifting) because they'll get too bulky," Sanderson said. "But lifting will shape the body into the natural way it's supposed to be, and the media gives us the misconception that women are supposed to be thin, tall and blonde. The girls that do lift, they shouldn't be told that there is something wrong with them. We are healthy and beautiful. Other girls will ask, 'Why aren't you trying to slim down and do cardio?' I don't want to be the stereotype anymore; I aim for being strong instead of skinny."
Participants will come from across the globe. The event will be judged by world certified judges. The event is open to spectators.
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