I was born on August 26, 1954, in Minneapolis, MN. Growing up in Crookston. MN, I participated in football, wrestling and track. My weight-training in those days was in the basement and garage. By 1972 upon graduation, our seniors had established the first weight room at Crookston Central High School.

Moorhead State University was my next destination to major in Social Studies and minor in Physical Education. I taught and coached at Central Cass in North Dakota for 20 years and at Breckenridge, MN for the last 14. My wife Nancy and I met at a Fargo health club in 1990. On July 21, 1990, I married Nancy. I celebrated by benching 400 lbs. and running 8 miles weighing 190. That weight has not been seen since! Our daughter Regan graduated valedictorian of her 2010 class and currently is a junior at Concordia College majoring in business marketing. Our son Michael John is currently a senior at Breckenridge High School. He plans to run track at the University of Minnesota and major in Physics. Nancy is the Chief Financial Officer at St. Francis Medical Center in Breckenridge.

In 1975 we formed the first powerlifting club at the Fargo-Moorhead YMCA. Among the first members were Rock Gullickson, Tom Flood, Larry Nelson, Steve Kloeckner, Rich Varriano, Blaine Bitterman and myself. We went to several tri-state meets for many years. That group became good friends lifting, eating and drinking along the path of life. Several more members from all walks of life joined the club over the next decade. We began the annual Red River Open meet in 1976 which lasted until 1983. The Upper Midwest Bench Press Championships were added in 1977. I was the meet director, announcer, and lifter during that time. Many world class lifters competed in Fargo but the best times were the camaraderie amongst strong friendships of a lot of great people. Some went onto compete at the National level. Jim Rush won the Nationals with others such as Pete Mehl, Rock Gullickson, Larry Nelson, Rich Varriano and myself placing high.

I placed in the top six in three national championships 1980-1982 in the 220 lb. division. I was North Dakota State Champion seven times and the Region Eleven Champion five times. My last powerlifting meet was at the Minot Air Force Base in the 242 lb. division where I set personal and state records in the squat 800 lbs., bench press 500 lbs. and the deadlift 700 lbs. for a 2000 record total. I was the North Dakota State chairman for several years for the AAU and the USPF. I have announced for countless powerlifting and Special Olympics tournaments for decades. Currently, I do several high school sports and assist my son Michael in weight training for sports. At 5-11 170 lbs. he has benched over 300, squatted 400 and cleaned 275 lbs. His fast twitch fibers enabled him to win the 100 and 200-meter dashes as a junior in the Minnesota State Track Meet in 2012. Powerlifting has enabled me to set goals, work hard, stay strong, eat good and enjoy life. I have continued to weight train over the last 30 years. I have met some great people, traveled a lot and stayed healthy. I am now 58 years old and believe your health is your wealth. I have learned every day is a gift from God. In short, those were some great years.

Sincerely, Paul Whitney


Career Highlights

  1. Seven time North Dakota State Champion. (1977-1983)
  2. Five time Region 11 Champion. (1977-1981)
  3. Three time National Championship Place winner. (top six=220 lbs).
  4. Best lifts of 800 squat, 500 bench press and 700 deadlift for a 2000 lb. total. This was in the National top ten at the time of my last meet in 1983.
  5. My first meet was the North Dakota State Open in Mayville in May 1975. Ay 198 lbs. I did 440, 280, 500= 1220 total.
  6. By May 1977 I had won the Region 11 meet held in Minot with a 535,355,555= 1445.
  7. In 1978 I won my first best lifter award at the SDSU Invitational in Brookings. At 220 I went 600, 385, 580 = 1565. Later that year I went 615, 400, 615 = 1630 in Duluth. In Marshall, MN I went 640, 420, 630 = 1690 for another best lifter.
  8. By fall of 1979 I did my first 700 squat, 450 bench and 640 deadlift for a 1790 total in Duluth at 220 lbs.
  9. My highlight in 1980 was a 4th place finish in the 220 division at the Nationals. My lifts were 711, 462, 688 for a 1862 total. All were state records.
  10. In 1981 I competed again at Nationals in Boise, Idaho. My final deadlift would have got me a second place finish but went down 2-1. I made the cover of Powerlifting USA, a national magazine.
  11. In 1982 I did a 740 squat and a 475 bench at 220. I competed again in Nationals at Portland, Oregon placing high. Two lifts were completed but narrowly turned down which would have won the tournament.
  12. By 1983 I won the last Red River Open with a 770, 480, 680=1930 as a 242 lber.
  13. My final meet was the 800-500-700=2000 lb competition in Minot for all state records.