Monday, June 2, 2008

Prison Postal Meet - 1963

Leavenworth, Kansas

Jenkins Hutchins of Maryland Penitentiary, Baltimore,
defeated guest participant U.S. champ Bill March
with the second best American midheavy total.
He easily cleaned 385 but missed the jerk due to a faulty platform.

American Prison Postal Meet – 1963

The most unusual weightlifting meet in the history of American lifting also boasts the largest number of competitors (256), the greatest number of platforms (26) and by far the biggest crowd of spectators (estimated at 25,000 plus). What’s more, in it 23 new meet records were established. These mighty impressive figures all pertain to the 1963 U. S. National Prison Postal Weightlifting Championships, which were staged in 26 institutions coast to coast on October 4th and 5th.

Mere statistics do not tell the full story of this unique athletic event. Nine months of preparatory work preceded the competition. Two men bore the brunt o it: Clyde Whitehead, recreation supervisor of the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, and Bill Clark, energetic chairman the Missouri Valley A.A.U. weightlifting committee.

Clark, a professional journalist, produced a campaign involving mailings to wardens and recreation supervisors at 65 prisons. A.A.U. lifting chairmen in the various areas were also kept informed and asked to assist. Many prisons joined the A.A.U. as member clubs, and most of the 256 competing lifters registered as individuals. Biggest stumbling block in the promotion, according to Clark, was lack of cooperation by A.A.U. officials in certain areas. Apparently certain of these individuals felt that prisoners had no rights to A.A.U. membership and would not help out for this reason, although a careful reading of the A.A.U. General Rules and a promulgation by Capt. Stephen A. Archer, National A.A.U. Secretary, leave no doubt that inmates are entitled to be registered so long as their respective wardens or recreation supervisors recommend them and attest to their amateur standing.

Bob Hoffman and a large group from York officiated at the lifting at Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore, where midheavy Jenkins Hudson stole the show by scoring a 1015 total with lifts of 340, 300, 375. Hudson’s performance, second highest total ever made in this weight class by an American, was by far the best nation wide in the two-day meet. Maryland and San Quentin tied for team honors, each winning two classes.

Clyde Whitehead and Bill Clark are talking about a similar powerlifting meet, tentatively scheduled for June, 1964.

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