Iowa State weight club lifts for the Sanford Children’s Foundation at Bar Wars

Iowa State Senior Ben Briggs works out in the lower level of Beyer Hall April 03 as part of the ISU Weight Club. 

Belle Thrapp

This Saturday, the Iowa State Weight Club will host its annual Bar Wars mock competition. This year, however, Bar Wars is raising money for Sanford Children’s Foundation — a foundation that is close to a member of the weight club.

Sanford Children’s Foundation located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, provides education and ground breaking technology specifically for childhood cancer. The president of the Iowa State Weight Club, Ben Briggs, has a personal connection to the foundation.

“[Sanford Children’s Foundation] definitely helped my family and friends battle through cancer and many deadly diseases,” Briggs said.

Bar Wars has a goal of raising $50,000 this year and plans to donate to this foundation in future mock competitions.

“I thought that this would be a good way to give back and to involve the ISU Weight Club in giving back as well,” Briggs said.

Along with the general public being invited to participate or even just to watch, the Iowa State Weight Club invites many Division I schools to join the action such as the University of Iowa, University of Minnesota and Drake.

Individuals will participate in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. There are three attempts allowed for each lift. Social media director Austin Aiello explained, “Your score is based on the sum of your best successful attempts from each exercise.”

Participants can choose which lifts he or she wants to attempt.

For some, training can start 15 to 20 weeks prior to power lifting competitions. However, a mock meet is a great way to practice, try out the sport, or in this case, support a great cause.

“You can kind of get a feel about what a power lifting competition is like,” Aiello said.

The overall atmosphere of Bar Wars is very laid back compared to actual competitions. Music is playing, judging is more lenient and the overall experience is laid back to encourage beginners.

Ben Neff, the membership director of the Iowa State Weight Club, stressed, “You don’t have to wear a singlet.”

Some choose to think outside of the box when it comes to dress.

“Guys the last few years have worn onesies or wear fake beards,” Neff said.

This atmosphere not only encourages beginners to come to Bar Wars, but also joining the Iowa State Weight Club.

“The weight club not only offers specialty equipment specific to strength sports, but also an environment filled with other people who are serious about lifting,” Aiello said.

The weight club has more than doubled its membership in the past year. Advertisements for events like Bar Wars bring in bigger crowds and more interest to the sport.

“We find many people who want to improve their overall fitness,” Briggs said.

The Iowa State Weight Club is surrounded by students that have a greater knowledge of lifting and are there to help.

“We have members who study nutrition and many different experienced members,” Briggs said.

This mock meet specifically gives participants an idea of what actual events will feel like.

“It’s a long event… after you’re done with bench, you’re going to be exhausted,” Briggs said. “This is a tutorial to power lifting.”

Weigh-ins for athletes participating in Bar Wars begin at 8 a.m. this Saturday. Shortly following weigh-ins will be a rules meeting, then lifting will begin at 10 a.m. All Bar Wars events are held at State Gym on the Iowa State campus.

The cost will be $10 per athlete and a one dollar minimum for donations. Remember that all proceeds go directly to Sanford Children’s Foundation. Spectators are welcome and the entry fee is five dollars. T-shirts for the event are being sold for $25. The shirts are available on the Iowa State Weight Club Facebook or Instagram pages.

Keep an eye out for upcoming power lifting events this summer as well.