Whiteman Soldier breaks Missouri dead-lift record

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Silence is all that was heard, or not heard, at the 2011 Missouri State Fair Dead Lift Competition while Army Sergeant Stephen Kirkbride, 1-135th Aviation Reconnaissance Battalion, prepared to lift 550 pounds.

His hands were chalked, his belt was fastened around his waist and adrenaline was pumping through his veins. Kirkbride tried to lift the record-breaking weight, but he failed.
"It's all in your head!" the competition judge screamed. "You can do this, you just have to believe."

Hearing those words was the last thing Kirkbride remembered as he dropped the weight and saw the crowd cheering for him. On his second attempt, Kirkbride triumphed over mind and body lifting 550 pounds, shattering the previous Missouri state dead lift record of 515 pounds (amateur category.)

Kirkbride works full time here as an Active-Guard Reserve in the National Guard's Headquarters to headquarters company supply shop. His job includes taking care of the vault, weapons, storage, ordering and receiving. When he wasn't working during the months leading up to the competition, he was training.

His mornings were spent jogging and although he didn't have a specific diet, he said he stayed away from junk food and grease. He spent his lunch breaks in the gym, focusing on power lifting - a small number of repetitions high in weight.

Kirkbride, who was Active-duty Air Force for four years, said he couldn't have done it without his training partner, Staff Sgt. Kiel Ragan, who he met while serving as a fuels Airman for the 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Ragan said he and Kirkbride used each others' motivation as they trained for the competition. Kirkbride didn't make a final decision whether he was going to compete or not until a week prior.

"He's an animal," Regan said. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have gone as high as I did."

Weighing only 220 pounds, Kirkbride is now the man to beat with the new amateur state dead lifting record.

"Honestly, I don't remember it happening," Kirkbride said. "I just lifted it and stood up. You look into yourself and you know that you're going to do it."