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Joe Ladnier

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ASL Interview with Ladnier

The following was an interview conducted with Joe Ladnier on March 4, 2000

ASL:  Would you care to share with us some statistical and biographical?


Ladnier:  I was born in Pascagoula, but raised in Gautier, Mississippi, DOB 10-14-63, 5' 7" - Biggest measurements-258lbs.neck-22" , chest 53" , arms-22" , waist-36" , thighs-30" , calves-19" & Best lifts-squat 960lbs. Bench 628lbs. Deadlift 832lbs. Total 2160lbs& seated behind the neck press-385lbs.

 I began competing in powerlifting and working as a fitness trainer in 1979 at the Americana Health Spa in Pascagoula, Mississippi by 1982, I had won two teenage nationals, numerous local, state and tri-state meets. July of that same year, at the age of 18, I competed in the USPF Men's Senior Nationals in Dayton, OH. where I met Larry Pacifico. After the contest, Larry approached me with a job offer and asked if I'd be interested in working / training with him and his team in Dayton& without hesitation, I accepted and he helped launch my P/L career.

As far as my work history.  I've attended two plus years of college-4 police academies and am a former law enforcement officer. Part time, I still do private security/ bodyguard work and also do personal training certified through Fred Hatfield's International Sports Science Association, along with nutritional counseling and massage. I'm also an active member of the naval reserves.  I'm divorced and have custody of my son-Joey 7 and daughter-Taylor 9.



ASL:  Were you a "professional" powerlifter or do you have a job as well?


Ladnier:  In the early 80's, I made a decent living doing seminars/ exhibitions. At one point, I became so busy that a sports agent had to handle everything for me. He was able to sign me with several different sponsors, who really helped out with all my expenses, so that I could concentrate 100% on my training! After the men's senior nationals in 1985, I realized the direction that the sport was going, so I focused on changing my professions, which was how I fell into law enforcement. In 1988, I moved back home to Mississippi and continued working in law enforcement. Everything had changed so much, powerlifting was almost non-existent& at one time I placed an ad in the paper trying to find a training partner, but after winning the men's drug free world championships in 1989, I knew that competing was over for me, at least for awhile& I'd lost the hunger or & that "eye of the tiger" attitude that Pacifico bragged about me having.  In 1992, the casino construction boom started and I went back into underground utility work full time. I also do security / private investigation work and personal training / massage therapy.


ASL:  When did you start lifting and competing?  Did you play any sports as a kid or in college?


Ladnier:  I started lifting at a local spa with my uncle when I was eleven years old, but only with machines and nothing serious. It wasn't until my 9th grade year, that I started using free-weights, but only after football season. When my 10th grade football season was over, my coach had me compete in my first high school meet, which is where I met Larry Plumlee (former 220lb. junior national champion). Larry invited me to a training session with his team and during my very first visit, I was hooked& January 1980, I lifted in my first AAU powerlifting meet with the Mississippi Ironmen's Powerlifting Team. I started running track and playing baseball in the first grade. Third, fourth and fifth grades, I did a little gymnastics.  Sixth grade through twelfth grade I continued track / field, but dropped baseball and started football. By the end of my senior year of high school, I'd won two teenage nationals. Back then (1981) no one offered scholarships in powerlifting, but Louisiana Tech offered me a partial football scholarship so that I could lift on their team. I turned them down and decided to attend a local jr. college and train for the men's senior nationals in Dayton, Ohio 1982, I was eighteen years old. 



ASL:  Who were your heroes/idols when you were growing up?  Did they change when you were competing?  Who do you admire today?


Ladnier:  Many lifters when I was growing up inspired me. All the big names back then& Chucky Dunbar, Inaba, "Smokin" Joe Bradley, Lamar Grant, Ricky Gaugler, Rickey Crain, Mike and Bobby Bridges, John Inzer, Walter Thomas, Jim Cash, Buddy "the iceman" Duke, Eddy Coan, Larry Pacifico, Fred Hatfield, Jon Kuc, Doug Furnas, Lee Moran, Dave Waddington, John Black, Danny Wohleber, Ernie Hackett, Ernie Frantz, Andy Kerr, Doyle Kennady, Gus Rethwich, Wayne Bouvier, John Gamble, Mark Challiet and many more& . All the lifters I mentioned above helped me in one way or another, but Larry Pacifico helped me more than anyone else& . He treated me like family, taking me in as his prodigy and in a lot of ways becoming a father figure.  Of Course, Dr. Squat, Fred Hatfield, has always been my scientific and professional mentor.  As well as my friend.

Ed Coan's strength and longevity has always held my admiration.



ASL:  Could you name some lifting-related accomplishments.


Ladnier:  1980- Teenage nationals- 165lbs class, 16/ 17 year old division- squat-525, bench-325, deadlift-585.  It was my dad's birthday and I presented him with my awards.

1983 men's senior nationals, open-division, squat 837, bench-523, deadlift-749 and 2110 total

First man in history to break 2100lbs in the total in the 220-pound class.

I beat the legendary Fred "Dr. Squat" Hatfield and world champion James Cash, I was only nineteen years old.

Best gym lifts: 960-squat, 628-bench, 832-deadlift Odd lifts: 1,100lb walkout, 1,500lb leg-press, and 1,035lb deadlift-lockout


ASL:  Any chance of coming out of retirement?  


Ladnier:  Maybe one day, if the sport becomes organized again!



ASL:  You were at the infamous meet in which the judging was really strict and lead several people to form the APF.  Would you care to comment upon that meet and the aftermath?


Ladnier:  The 1986 Men's senior nationals-the meet that opened my eyes! I realized that the sport needed to be re-organized, but I did not agree to branching out. I've lost track of all the different federations today, how do you decide what organization to compete with?



ASL:  Could you tell us about your numerous championships?  Which one was your favorite and why?


Ladnier:  I began competing at the age of 15 and continued very seriously until I was 22. In 1986, while training for the Hawaii meet, I detached my right patella tendon from my knee cap, squatting 901, causing total re-constructive knee surgery. I realized that a trophy didn't mean as much anymore to me any more. In 1987, I donated over 60 trophies to the muscular dystrophy foundation.  My favorite was Gus's Hawaii meet, 1984. It was great and such a smoothly run meet. I met and trained with Lori Okami (105lb world record holder in the women's bench) she has to be one of the strongest and most beautiful women of the sport.



ASL:  What do you think of the sport today?  Do you think it is healthy and growing?  If you could change aspects of the sport what would you do?


Ladnier:  I'm not sure about elsewhere, but here on the Mississippi Gulf coast, powerlifting is almost unheard of, I don't really follow it anymore, but when I glance through a powerlifting magazine it seems like a circus to me.

If the sport plans to grow and go anywhere, there needs to be one governing body, or organization. Qualifications for judging should either be someone who is an active lifter or a former lifter and not just who you know and how high you score on a written test, but that's just my opinion and that's like muscles, everyone has em.



ASL:  Do you have a funny story powerlifting that people might not know?    


Ladnier:  I use to do seminars and exhibitions for a living, I've met so many people and been so many places.  Over the years, you'd be here for days if I told you all the funny stories



ASL:  Is there any message or greeting you would like to give your many, many fans out there?


Ladnier:  I'd like to say to all of the young lifters out there, that to be the very best in anything you do you have to be totally focused and give 110%& when I competed, I had that "eye of the tiger" attitude. If you ever get that and then lose it; you could suffer the injuries that a lot of us have suffered when we didn't know when to quit. Be smart stay in school, learn to make a living with your mind and not Your back&The Strongest and the wisest will always survive!