ASL: Thank you Bryan for taking the time for this interview.
Neese: Thank you again for the opportunity to be on the ASL page.
Neese: My name is Bryan Neese. I was born on August 30, 1964. I am 6'1" and weigh about 320 pounds. My best squat is 630. My best bench press is 600 pounds and my best deadlift is 700 pounds. I have push pressed 405 pounds. I got my bachelors degree in Education from IU and a masters in education from Indiana Weslyen. I am married for the last 8 years to Erica. We have three kids: Josh who is 7; Becca who is 5 and Stone who is 3. I currently teach at Brownsburg Jr. High. I teach 7th grade science for the last 13 years.
ASL: I have heard that you do a lot with youth, could you expand upon it?
Neese: I have an organization called the Mighty Warriors Power Ministry. I do a lot of motivational speaking at schools along the lines of say no to drugs. I work with a lot of churches and church camps delivering a Christian message by letting kids know it is not weak to be a Christian. I also help support the Paul Anderson Youth Home through the money that I receive from the speaking fees for my programs. I also am the co-director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes program at the school I teach at in Brownsburg.
ASL: Were you always and big and strong? When did you start lifting and competing? Did you play any sports as a kid or in college? What other sports did you try before strongman and what sort of success did you have in those sports?
Neese: I was fat when I was younger and I started lifting in HS to get bigger and stronger. I began to compete in bodybuilding and placed 4th in the teenage USA contest my senior year of High School. I was too slow for football. So, I continued in bodybuilding and did ok in local contest. The same was true with powerlifting. I eventually won some state ADFPA (now USAPL) titles. I really did not have stellar athletic success until I turned 32. I began competing in Scottish Heavy Athletics. I was blessed in my first year to win four different state titles. I also got third in the North-South challenge. That first year would really be the last year of Highland Games because after that I began my strongman career. I placed second in the Survival of the Strongest, Third in the Strongest Man Alive and won the US Championship all within one year.
ASL: Who were your heroes/idols when you were growing up?
Neese: My heroes were Paul Anderson and Bill Kazmaier.
ASL: Could you name some feats of strength that you have done?
Neese: I can bend horseshoes, nails, 2 pieces of 5/8 inch re-bar taped together. I can drive a 20 penny nail through a board with my hand. I hold the record for having 250 pounds of block broke on my head by another human. I do not do that one anymore. I have done a Paul Anderson type back lift with 2000 pounds.
ASL: This strongman season you have finished behind to Phil Pfister in two competitions-each of them were very close. Could you tell us about these competitions?
Neese: In the first competition, going into the last event, we were even. The last event was a loading event. I was cooking along and the last thing I had to do was push a truck 20ft. The person in the truck accidentally left the parking break on and I lost time and the contest. At the Strongest Man Alive contest, Phil got the last rock and I did not. It put me behind. Phil is a good friend and a monster strongman. He is training hard right now and when he is finished with his initial fire training, he will be back. He and I are doing an exhibition in West Virginia on July 9th.
ASL: This year you won the 1999 IFSA American Championship. You looked very strong and fit. What sort of training did you utilize to win the competition? What did you think of the competition itself?
Neese: I trained all of the events constantly. I only spent 2 days in the gym and the rest training the events at home. The competition (events, and organization) itself was pretty standard, but I really enjoyed the competitors. It was great to see how I stacked up against great guys like Gary Mitchell and Ken Brown.
ASL: Jamie Reeves has pledged to you a spot in this year's WSM as well as a spot in two Grand Prixs. How did that make you feel?
Neese: I am very happy to be able to compete in at least 3 IFSA events. You get better from more competition and I definitely want to get better. It is also a great opportunity to meet some greats in the sport. This opportunity gives me a platform to share with young adults as I travel the country this summer speaking about my relationship with Christ and the struggles at we all face daily and overcome with His help.
ASL: What do you think of the state of strongman today as a sport and its popularity in America?
Neese: I really think Strongman will get better and better if it is marketed correctly. We need to get it back on Saturday afternoons like it was in the 80's. Plus we need a lot more IFSA contest in America. In Europe, you have over 30 contests a year, you can compete in with good competition and money. We need that here in the US.
ASL: Is there any message or greeting you would like to give your many, many fans out there?
Neese: I would like to thank my Savior and friend Jesus Christ, my wife Erica, Paul Armstrong and NRS Sports Nutrition for all of their help and great products, and Justin McShane for providing a forum to
ASL: No thank you!