‘Battle of the Bench’ pumps up Grad Nite

Steve Puterski / LVN Photo

Steve Puterski / LVN Photo

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Even Hanz and Franz would have been hard pressed to keep pace.

Despite the absence of the comedic duo from Saturday Night Live, the Grad Nite fundraiser “Battle of the Bench” was a ripping success.

Spearheaded by 2009 Fallon grad Callie Black, the event drew 18 teams and 74 participants to benefit the annual Churchill County High School graduation party at Naval Air Station Fallon in May.

Black, who is months away from graduating from the College of Holy Cross (Mass.), led an organized event; although she admitted to some butterflies in the days leading up to the event.

Those nerves were eased as the event raised $1,200 including at least two flat donations from individual donors.

“It was always in the bottom of my gut,” Black said. “Somebody said it, that Fallon’s a last minute town. I was really impressed with how everyone came out and supported this event. I was so happy that we got so many entities here.”

The “Battle of the Bench” is a bench pressing competition pitting teams of four, but two teams were allowed five. The participants picked weights from, 15, 45, 85, 125 and 225 pounds.

Black, who played four years of volleyball at Holy Cross, brought the fundraiser to Fallon from the Patriot League school, where it is an annual event for breast cancer.

“We appealed to everyone,” she said. “From the smallest of high school girls to the bodybuilders, I think that’s what makes this event unqiue. We usually can’t reach this big of a demographic.”

Another aspect of the event Black was pleased with was how quickly it ran. The fundraiser lasted 57 minutes as most teams completed their cycle in about 5 minutes.

She credited the volunteers who kept score and counted the repetitions with producing a fluid evening.

“I think everyone was having fun and intrigued,” Black added. “I think what we are looking forward to now, is the people who didn’t participate this year will do next year.

The men’s lift station was the center of the spectator’s attention as numerous individuals compiled impressive numbers.

Jason Richey of team Stetson Trucking won the coveted title of Beast after he lifted 225 pounds 39 times.

In the Serve and Protect Challenge, the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office came out on top with 1,305 points. The team comprised of Adrian Beruman, Matt Timmons, Mel Jabines and Dustin Beauford nipped their law enforcement counterparts.

Beauford piled up 19 repetitions at 225 pounds, while Beruman and Timmons each tallied 16 and Jabines recorded nine.

Damien Crawley led the NAS Fallon team with 29 reps at 225 and Lalo Otuafi scored 20 at 225 for the Juvenile Probation and Parole and Probation squad. The two entities tied for second and the NHP took fourth.

On the women’s bench, Machelle Howard stole the show with an impressive run of 39 reps at 85 pounds. She proudly declared it was her rodeo strength as her team won the division.

As for the high school girls, Lyndsey Thurston rattled off 205 reps at 15 pounds, while teammate Taylor Abe went for 101 reps at 15 and Alyssa Haugen and Kendra Ritchie each had 30 at 45.

On the boys side, Justin Hatfield led the field with 33 reps at 125, while Dakota Schelling (23, 125), Joe Shyne (21, 125) and Jason Cummins (21, 125) each had solid showings.


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