Two years ago to the day, Sugden Barbell was born. In those two years, the site has come a long way. This article gives a time-line of the site and discusses the future.
This group formed the core of the website, along with well known names such as Boar, Tony and Jonny Mills (who was made an honorary member along with Monty Panesar).
The year ended with a very small number of posters, posting high quality bullshit that Sugden has become renowned for.
The early Adlington sessions resulted in numerous videos being released on the web which wowed many people. The exploits of world-class bench pressers such as Steve Leigh and the squatting ability of Andy 'The Cone' Littler had gone unnoticed to many outside of the immediate circles involved in lifting - but with the advent of YouTube and digital cameras this all changed very quickly. Sugden Barbell was one of the first sites on the net to take advantage of this, quickly allowing members to post their training videos straight onto the site.
With the new relationships and friends being formed at Adlington Barbell, as well as at North West BWLA competitions, the member base started to expand much more quickly. The site was becoming a focal point for North West lifting.
As summer came, it was time for some people in Manchester to say goodbye - Olly, Rob and Haris all packed their bags and headed off to pastures new. Sugden Barbell the training group was no more, but it had created the base of a community and what will hopefully prove to be a lasting legacy.
The rest of the year saw a significant increase in members from the strongman community - this was something that Olly and Joni had ultimately been training for whilst at Sugden Barbell, but was only now coming to fruition in terms of competing.
September 2007 saw the introduction of several new unique features to Sugden Barbell. These included the 'Bullshit Filter' and 'YouTube Filter' - allowing members to quickly display training only posts or videos in training logs.
October 2007 saw the first ever Sugden meet. Originally planned as a group training session, most members went for max lifts ranging from deadlifts to overheads. This meet also coincided with the Adlington Barbell 50th Anniverary, during which many of their best known faces put on a lifting exhibition. The seeds were being formed for future meets.
Christmas heralded the birth of the 'Sugden Competition Calendar' - a custom built database of powerlifting and strongman competitions across the UK. Members now had the ability to find competitions easily, something the community was crying out for, as well as to add their attendance.
Christmas also brought about the combined Sugden and Adlington Christmas Meet - with lifters from all over the North West (and further afield, such as Marc and Joel) coming to do whatever took their fancy. There was no real format, which did cause some delays, but it was a fantastic turn-out and included highlights such as Adlington's Big Phil Parker and British Champion Jim Blanchflower both squatting over 700lbs.
Members had to lift a weight from floor to overhead, then do a deadlift. Three attempts were given for each lift, with lifters placed in two groups depending on their openers.
The competition proved a real success, featuring new faces such as Adlington regular and World's Strongest Man Competitor Mark 'Fe' Felix. It says something very good about lifting that world famous strength athletes are happy to mix with the average joe - and Mark didn't disappoint; taking first place with an Adlington club record deadlift of 400 kilos!
Other highlights from the competition included Mark Clegg's 400lb clean and jerk, as well as Steve Leigh's 312.5kg deadlift PB. Alongside these gargantuan lifts were countless others, all putting in immense effort and many being rewarded with PBs.
The 'Classic' format is surely here to stay, it's a great alternative to existing competitions in that it allows lifters from all genres to get together and have a chance - weightlifters, strongmen and powerlifters all know how to deadlift, and most of them known to press things overhead.
Not only were meets taking place up in the North-West, but members led by IainKendrick were also joining up down South to hold their own competitions. Faces such as EdClarke, Carl and Tannhauser were helping to spread the word of Sugden 'down sarf'.
One of the main aims of the site was to help get more people into lifting and provide somewhere for the different federations to advertise competitions - the site has certainly done this and continues to do so. Sugden is growing more rapidly than ever but that very unique and friendly atmosphere that it has had since day one remains.
Hopefully we will also hold a Christmas Meet and another Classic Competition in March with the support of Adlington Barbell Club, which has been very important in the growth of the website and its community.
In the meantime, keep bullshitting hard and training harder!