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Strongwoman

Agriculture.com Staff 04/22/2008 @ 6:42am

One of the things that "sealed the deal" for my wife when she met me is the fact that I have five sisters. I didn't really realize the import of this until I happened to overhear her describing me as being "pre-trained."

Her point was valid. Growing up among all those girls taught me to fear and respect the female species. Fear arose from the fact that several of them were older than me and could beat me at almost anything. Respect came from the fact that all my sisters could perform any task on our dairy farm with as much -- if not more -- skill and elan as me.

My sister Diann is closest to me in birth order, which may be why we launched several businesses together. By the time we had reached sixth grade, Di and I had started a pocket gopher trapping service and had raided our family garden in an effort to become sweet corn barons.

There was one common factor in each of these entrepreneurial endeavors: Di was always Management and I was always Labor. And Management always doled out profits based on the amount of mental strain each person put into running the operation.

When I told my wife about this business arrangement her response was, "That's the way it should be!" She then informed me that I had caused her an awful lot of mental strain lately and that she needed the checkbook.

Di's precocious industriousness was a sign of things to come. Not only has she always held down at least two jobs, she also remained athletically active. Di is one of those rare persons who can still fit into the same jeans she wore in high school. She certainly has me beat in that regard.

Di turned 50 a couple of years ago, which made her eligible to compete in the Senior Olympics. She did quite well in her first stab at the Senior Olympics, but injured her knee at the end of her final sprint. Doctors later advised Di to give up her four-mile-per-day running habit.

Looking for another exercise outlet, Di turned to weightlifting. She had always done a bit of weightlifting, but now focused her full attention on this weighty activity.

We didn't think anything of it and Di didn't look any different. We also didn't think it at all strange when Di casually mentioned that she was thinking about participating in some sort of weightlifting competition.

Di got our full and undivided attention, though, when she went to Denver and broke a national record at the National Bench Pressing Championship.

At 5'2" and 110 pounds, Di can bench press about 1 1/2 times her body weight. If I were to attempt a similar feat, I would have to press...Holy cow! Forget that!

But Di wasn't done astonishing us. She next informed the family that she would be competing at the World Powerlifting Championships being held at Bratislava, Slovakia.

A local TV station did a story about Di. As I watched her push up a big honking steel bar festooned with a set of big honking weights, I recalled how she and I used stack bales together in the hay mow. I'm glad we don't do that anymore as she could probably punch those bales straight through me.

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