LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Nearly 50 weight lifters broke a sweat on Saturday at Freedom Fitness. The gym hosted its first USPA powerlifting meet called the "Freedom Fitness Classic." The event was the first in over 25 years a sponsored powerlifting association has made its way to Lawton.
"I've been training for an event like this to qualify me for something bigger," said Derek Spencer, competitor. "This has been the big goal for me for the last four years."
Freedom Fitness member Derek Spencer said he's been powerlifting for over four years. He trained 10 weeks for Saturday's competition. Competitors from across the state could register for three competitions; squat, bench and dead lift. They were then scored on how much they could lift out of their weight class and age group.
Spencer said his goal was to make it in the top three bench lifting competition so he could qualify for the national Mr. Olympia Pro Powerlifting Competition in Las Vegas.
"My opening attempt is 556 pounds," said Spencer.
Spencer was a defense contractor in Afghanistan in 2012 and said since then powerlifting has become a way for him to focus his energy.
"For one, I'm a competitive person," said Spencer. "So, I can either make it where I compete against myself to better myself from the last meet or if I have competition at this meet I have someone I'm going head to head against."
He said having his family's support and it being held in his hometown pushed him to work harder.
Oklahoma USPA Chairman Josh Nooner said the competition is exactly what Lawton needed.
"There's a lot of powerlifting here," said Nooner. "Fort Sill the military base and military guys lift or power lift and I think it just gives Lawton an edge up on the other surrounding cities that may not be bringing in powerlifting meets."
Spencer said with help from his family and community support, there's no doubt in his mind he'll make it to the Vegas competition.
"I'm more focus than I've ever been for any meeting I've done over the last four years," said Spencer. "This is the most focused mentally and physically I've ever been prepared for."
Spencer qualified for the Las Vegas tournament. If you'd like to follow his journey to Las Vegas you can find him on Facebook.