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  • Jennifer Mecham

Elite #32 Steve Bartlett

Updated: Apr 21

Steve Bartlett One of our members, Dan Helfyre, ran a pro wrestling school out of Diablo in the early years. One night a bunch of the lifters went to one of Dan's events to support his organization. This is where I first met Steve Bartlett. I didn't know him by that name at the time. That night I was introduced to Steve as his character "Wonderboy." He was only 19 at the time. I remember saying to one of the guys, "that kid has potential, maybe he will stop this silly wrestling nonsense and become a lifter." A few years later he did.

From the skinny kid that walked into Diablo weighing maybe 165 lbs, Steve ultimately morphed into an elite lifter in the 242 class. I'd say he grew up at Diablo. As is often the case with those that go all the way here, in retrospect the beginning always looks wildly out of sorts with the end product.

Steve carved a niche for himself in the club by being a hard worker and great teammate. The teammate part might lead to some conjecture from those around him at the peak of his strength but if your goal was to make huge lifts and compete, then Steve's often gruff persona made him the right person to be around. I don't think he ever felt bad for hurting someone's feelings, he was there for the work and to make big lifts. And he did make big lifts. Career bests of 881 squat, 600 bench and 661 deadlift are respectable by any standard. Home grown products like Steve are what Diablo has always been about and likely will always be about.

Often being an overachiever by nature can be both your greatest strength and greatest detriment. Such was the case as it applied to Steve's powerlifting career. He worked crazy long hours which usually meant the night shift, got married, had two kids, two dogs and a house well before he was even 30. Something had to give and for Steve it was the lifting. I have to say he made one of the greatest exits ever when he retired from competition. I have always enjoyed Steve's witty and ultra dry sense of humor. As I was doing conditioning in the parking lot one day Steve walks up to me with a wry smile, extends his hand and says, "Father, you know that old saying at Diablo? No one leaves Diablo. You either get kicked out or you bitch out. Well, this is me bitching out." And that was it. We had a brief laugh and what had taken years to build, at least for then, was history.

Now 33 Steve has just recently returned to the club. Not in a powerlifting capacity but for general training and conditioning. The young boy replaced with a grown up family man. Welcome back Steven, we missed having you here.


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