I first joined this site as an enthusiastic reader, eventually started contributing as an occasional meet-reporter or recipe-guy, and now I serve as ze Editor. In my time with this site, I’ve been consistently in awe of what I’ve watched our community grow into. We come from all sorts of backgrounds – guys and gals, civilians and special forces, Weightlifters, CrossFitters, and Powerlifters. We have competitive lifters among our ranks, and people who are nervously adding 2.5 pounds to their linear progression workouts. One thing unites us, though, and that is the fact that we are part of a supportive community of badasses.
From time to time the site calls our arms to support a cause, like during Movember, and you guys always respond. That’s what I’ll be doing today. I met with one of our own, Ryan Carrillo, this weekend, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been as impressed by a 21 year old kid. He’s trying to reach his first World Event in May, the IPF Bench Press World Championships in Lithuania. I think we can help get him there.
I first officially met Ryan at 2012 USAPL Raw Nats, when the 6’5″ beast came up, politely introduced himself, and asked me about my beard. When a giant of a man compliments your beard, that is a very special thing. He asked if he could take this picture of me as part of a photography project he was working on (he really captured my…oldness, didn’t he?) He’s also supplied gritty facebook profile pics for some of our other lifters, like Mike Battaglino, and is working on even more videos and pictures of the sport he loves.
I’ve seen Ryan at almost every local meet around central Texas, either competing, coaching, or just supporting his team. You really can’t miss the guy. He’s bigger than Brad Gillingham, and nicer than Jenn Thompson. He consorts with other young world class lifters like Ian Bell and Preston Turner, and cheers on everyone. His coach is the legendary Gene Bell. He’s a full-time student, works a few jobs, is big into photography as a hobby/passion, and still makes time to become a world-class Powerlifter.
He has suffered through serious back injuries and is currently an equipped bench specialist in the USAPL, though his long-term goal is to return to full meets. For now, he has the chance to represent our country in Lithuania this May at the World Championships.
Ryan drove up to my neck of the woods last Friday and we shared a few beers and a lot of good stories. He is absolutely one of the most impressive, respectful, and polite guys you can imagine. At 33, I’m constantly made aware of how young most of the 70sBig crew is, yet I would have never guessed Ryan was 21 by how he handled himself. The two of us collected more than our fair share of slack-jawed stares at the Biergarten, and he handled it like a seasoned vet. I guess walking around every day of your life looking like a pro wrestler tends to create that kind of understated confidence. Having the words “SHUT UP AND SQUAT” on the back of his shirt was a nice touch, too.
Please check out Ryan’s site at txstrongman.com and send him a few doll hairs. Every bit helps, and I trust that Ryan will proudly represent us well not only at this year’s World Championships, but for many more to come.
This is what our community is. We don’t just praise the camaraderie, facial hair, attitude, and general awesomeness of the lifters of the 70s – we strive to create a new generation of strength. How do we do this? We open doors. We slam bars after PRs. We grow facial hair and don’t apologize for wearing tanks and short shorts when the sun’s out. We encourage new lifters to get stronger, healthier, and to have more fun. Most importantly, we support our own.