An Interview with Mr. Nick Busick, organizer of the Mountaineer Cup
Held on August 5th, 1998
ASL: Mr. Busick, I enjoyed our last conversation and was wondering if we could discuss your plans with the Mountaineer Cup in more detail? I have many more questions.
Busick: Absolutely fire away!
ASL: So how are the preparations going?
Busick: Fine. The whole thing is starting to come together nicely. However, I am getting a little concerned about lifters on the pro end. It looks like a pattern may be developing where no one wants to compete against Clark and/or Henry at this meet.
ASL: Have they sent out feelers for the contest yet?
Busick: I am going to send handwritten letters of invitation this next week. The double elimination rule really makes it possible for anyone with a 2000 pound total to possibly win the $60,000. I wonder if any of the World's Strongest Man (WSM) competitors will cross train and compete in this?
ASL: I already mentioned it to several of them. Most of them prefer WSM
Busick: It seems weird to me $60,000 wouldn't change that.
ASL: Yeah, but that's for the winner, right? What about second place, third place and on down?
Busick: No what abouts in the first one. Anyway, I'm still going to hold it if I can get at least 20 entries no matter who they are. Wouldn't it be wild if a 1900 lb total won the prize? As long as it can become and stay an exciting competition, it will work. The coverage alone will promote anyone who shows up. I am going to post all who have been invited in Powerlifting USA magazine.
ASL: So, it's by invitation?
Busick: No, It is open to anyone who wishes to enter. Even the one lift lifters. They could easily train squat and DL.
ASL: So says you.
Busick: I do. I have bad knees and I still could train to an 800 squat at 44. It's how bad someone wants it. All I am saying is, "Don't make the claim to be the best in powerlifting if you can't produce." It reminds me of pro wrestlers that insist on staying in the business after their time. Let me put it this way and this is going to sound hard core, but powerlifting is three lifts-not just your favorite one. This is what I like to distinguish between a gym lifter and a powerlifter.
ASL: So let me see if I understand you. If you do one lift you are a gym lifter?
Busick: Yep. If you are a one lift lifter then your a gym lifter...
ASL: Wow... I respectfully disagree.
Busick: Tell me how and I might change my opinion.
ASL: A gym lifter to me is those idiots that do mile high squats and bounce and goes (I prefer the way Jason Burnell described them: the all you tag-team assisted workout lifters. They are the ones in the gym who have their spotter lift 30+ percent of the weight while the spotter says, "It's all you man, it's all you". Every gym has them.) They never do deadlifts and never compete on the platform, but they announce their 400 bench. When they find out that you are a powerlifter, they march up and say, "Hey man, how much do ya bench?" That to me is a gym lifter.
Busick: Ha Ha Ha. Good point. I have posted on the internet before on how just competing should give creditability to everyone. In my mind, a one lift lifter still could get recognition, but would have to enter a full meet and live with the stigma of everyone saying, "Yeah but he only took a token squat or deadlift.....the winner of the competition was so or so." Making sense?
ASL: Right, I see your point, but I don't necessarily agree 100%. In the IPF worlds, for example, they give out individual medals for each lift and the overall. Do you disagree with this practice?
Busick: The hard core stance is pretty much mine.....that is why the Mountaineer is designed to bring powerlifting back to its original form. If a no name wins or for that matter if an elite lifter wins, it doesn't matter.
ASL: Could I play devil's advocate for a minute?
Busick: Please do.
ASL: If the total is so important to you in your hard-core belief, then why the double elimination? Sounds like it promotes big squats and benches to me, not the total like your hard-core stance calls for.
Busick: I've decided on that format for two reasons. First, to graduate the sport into a pro level. It forces the lifters to train all three lifts. Someone coming to the Mountaineer with a 950 lb squat as an example versus someone with a grand squat. That does not necessarily imply that the 950 squatter will be eliminated, but an extra 50 lbs by the grand squatter could keep him in. Second, the time factor. No media will be interested in an event that lasts all day. We have got to make it marketable. Who doesn't want to win the money?
ASL: I would like to win the money. Ha Ha
Busick: That's the point I must get across. It goes back to my concept of bringing powerlifting creditability.
ASL: OK I understand your point, but you guarantee the money, right?
Busick: There are no guarantees. However, I foresee no problem in obtaining the goal of $60,000 and possibly even more. Mountaineer is a public corporation with vendors who will back the competition.
ASL: So is $60,000 just some arbitrary number? It could go up or possibly down?
Busick: It is based on projections from statistics. Before the number was reached an audit was done to see what was a goal that could be reached. That's where the $60,000 dollars came from. Is it starting to make sense?
ASL: Yes... Now back to the event itself. You are quite vocal in your hard-core beliefs.
Busick: I take a really hard-core stance. Back to the roots of powerlifting.
ASL: Yeah, but the true roots of powerlifting are the British power championships (squat, bench and curl). Ha Ha
Busick: OK, you got me there. I meant back to the full three lifts and away from the pet lift syndrome.
ASL: Who's going to be the refs for the Mountaineer Cup?
Busick: I will allow any ref that is IPF or APA or APF certified. However, they must follow APA rules even though the APA does not sanction the Cup itself. Remember the APA sanctions the events prior to the cup.
ASL: Can I make a suggestion?
Busick: Sure, I welcome it.
ASL: My suggestion is to try to get refs beyond reproach.
Busick: No dispute there. The refs will have a meeting prior to discuss what is expected. I totally agree. That is a good point and I will discuss this with you. Maybe invitations to respected refs explaining what is being looked for would be in order. We can't have any give always here.
ASL: Right, but on the same token, you don't want any ass hitting the floor squats-that's not in the rules.
Busick: No disagreement there.
ASL: What about the reverse and suicide (false) grips in the bench press?
Busick: I can't quote the APA rule book off the top of my head, but whatever it says in regards to that, will be the ruling at the Mountaineer Cup.
ASL: How big is the auditorium at the Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort?
Busick: Currently, it seats 3 thousand. We hope to have the new complex complete by then. I really want to thank all of those at the Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort, especially the CEO, Ted Arsenault, for endorsing and hosting this event. Mr. Arnsenault is a type of guy who likes making project fly and respects the efforts of powerlifters.
ASL: Now let's talk drugs. The APA has a non-tested division, but what will be the Mountaineer Cup's policy?
Busick: The following statements only apply for the Cup. First place can be challenged by 2nd place for $1000.00. If first place tests positive, it means disqualification. This moves 2nd place into 1st. Guess who can now challenge 1st again?
ASL: Got it. So, the challenger pays $1000, right?
Busick: Yes. When you talk this level of competition, I would cough up a thousand if it meant winning $60,000.
ASL: OK, but what if the 1st place tests negative then what?
Busick: The winner keeps the thousand dollars.
ASL: Oh, I see the $1000 is like a bet?
Busick: Those are not exactly the words I like, but makes the point.
ASL: Sorry, I didn't mean to offend. It just dawned on me what you were referring to.
Busick: No offense taken. Ha Ha.
ASL: What drugs will be tested for? What protocols will the testing follow?
Busick: All that sold over the counter in USA is legitimate.
ASL: So, andro and nor-19 and andro-dol are fine?
Busick: That's right.
ASL: But clen, deca, dura, nor and GH are not?
Busick: Right. The testing method is done by West Virginia racing commission standards. No b.s. there.
ASL: Are you willing to spend the $2000 or so to test for elevated GH?
Busick: I should have mentioned this. The fees will come out of the challenge fee. Most of it will be covered by the racing commission though. I would expect it would cost about $20 to $30 in fees. We, at the Mountaineer, do drug testing all the time.
ASL: OK. So, if first place is clean he gets the $1000 dollars less the fees involved in testing. Now, it is makes more sense to me. So, ratios in excess of 6:1 are the cut off?
Busick: Part of the challenge will state the challenger must specifically state the substance he wants testing for. This is the only true way to test with creditability.
ASL: So, better have a shopping list. Ha Ha
Busick: More or less. Let's face it, it is a part of strength sports no matter who wants to admit it.
ASL: I think that this conversation has cleared up a lot of questions that we all had regarding this contest. Thanks a lot.