Relentless Detroit – Wow!

Relentless Detroit – Wow!

Nov 5, 2013


Donnie Thompson enthusiastically announcing for 13 straight hours!  Powerlifters being treated like the rock stars that they are!  Powerlifting on a stage in a church with an unbelievable sound system, all the food and drink you can stand from the beginning right until the very end….  Yeah.  That was cool.

However, the meet, with it’s sister meet in Minneapolis in March each year, has a different purpose and it was projected and felt by every single person there – athlete, spectator, volunteer.  The purpose of the meet is to raise funds for children with terminal illness – and that was not to be forgotten.  From the tearful introduction of one of the children being sponsored in the warm-up room to the children who were glued to the stage for nearly the entire meet looking forward to a fist bump or high five from one of the many, many lifters who, combined, raised just shy of $140,000 at just this meet!

The brain child of Scott and Rachel Nutter, Relentless is a program/meet that shows the true heart of the powerlifter.  The poster-child (yeah – I had to look up at him and also realized he’s half again as wide as I am) is the beard-sporting, colorful, gasoline-can (how better to carry your water?) Marshall Johnson.  See him on the street and you would probably cross it to avoid him – in reality, this soft-spoken monster of iron had the kids jumping around him, sitting on his knee, as he signed their t-shirts.  I met him and had a chance to share a few jokes as we sat with Scott Nutter and several other lifters.  Marshall is an EliteFTS sponsored athlete – and an amazing athlete and sportsman to watch, as was his wife, Kathy.


[photo borrowed from Marshall’s FB page – Marshall with Scott Nutter, Clark Yeo, Kristen Viziri, and others]

While originally hoping to take part this year I put it on the back burner due to injury.  However, Clark Yeo, a lifter from Canada, asked if I would come up to assist.  This gave me the opportunity to see what everyone was talking about in relation to this unique experience – why were lifters more excited about this than a World meet?

Folks – there is no equal!  The general positive attitude, the hard work and sweat, fundraising, having the opportunity to make a difference.  No one cared about who lifted more than who, the talk was about the event and it’s purpose!  I have made a point out of attending a lot of meets – either in competition or to watch – and I can state that this is a meet that makes a huge difference!

Now, for some of the details!

The meet was sanctioned by the UPA this year and also provided XPC qualification.  The judging was strict and excellent – and those guys were just as tireless.  A cafeteria and bake sale – all for raising funds – was available for the audience, who packed the church from before 9am until after 10pm.  There was a lifters only area with access to the stage and a warm-up room that was not too tight, as well as a separate room for keeping your bags.  There were horse and train rides in the parking lot for the kids, movies and other activities all day long.  Visits from sports figures and others – the toughest part was getting around through the people.  Kids finding and hugging any and every lifter!


[Now, who could have a party without Star Wars?]

The event was put on by, and at, Kirby Church (Flat Rock, Michigan) and Detroit Barbell.  Local organizers included Tommy Westhoff and his wife, JJ Thomas, Clay Brandenburg, Jeff Johnston and many others.  The lifters are far too many to count and I am making a point out of not singling out a great many of them in this article as they ALL are heroes in my book!

I can only sum it up one way: if you are ever given the opportunity to raise funds and compete at a Relentless meet don’t pass it up.  It’s a game changer!

As Donnie Thompson also put it – no one can deny the power of the beard!

Now, for the fun part – an hour + worth of the lifters!  Please enjoy – this is exciting stuff (squat and deadlift only, left out the bench press videos – but realized after I should have gotten them) including post lift celebrations!


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