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An Interview with Mr. Scott Taylor, President and Founder of the American Powerlifting Association and the World Powerlfiting Assocaition
Held on July 5th, 1998

ASL: First I would like to thank you for allowing me the time to conduct this interview with you.

ASL: Would you care to share with us some statistical and biographical information [if you have competed your best lifts (Squat, bench, deadlift, total, body weight, body height, push press, clean and jerk, snatch, etc.), educational background, are you married?, do you have kids?]

Taylor: I have 3 generations of children born in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. My wife is against the idea of more children at the moment but I would not mind having another. Presently my 3 youngest children are living at home - Jennifer (17), Russell (6) and Alyssa (2).

I have competed in Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, Bodybuilding, Arm Wrestling, Strongman Competitions, Strict Curl Contests, Boxing, Judo, and Pro-Wrestling. My best legal squat was 840, best legal bench was 510, and best legal deadlift (embarassingly) was 560. This was at a bodyweight of 235. My weight has ranged from 164-280 pounds over the years depending upon which endeavor I was involved in at the time. At 163 I squatted 565 in the over 40 class. I had the record for a very short stint and Paul Sacco rightfully took the record from me this year with a much better squat. I am in the over 45 class these days so I guess I can never go back to try to regain that record.
When I was at my peak I competed in USPF and APF events (several years back). My most recent competition was the WPA World Bench Press Championship in which I placed 1st in the 45-49, 242 lb. division. My favorite promoters were Joseph Steele of New Haven, Connecticut, and Walt Nadeau of Berlin, New Hampshire.
Joseph Steele was the USPF Connecticut Chairman in the seventies. He later became the APF Connecticut Chairman in the eighties. Joe is presently the Connecticut APA Chairman. Walt Nadeau was the USPF New Hampshire Chairman for many years. Each year Walt ran the Regionals in Berlin, New Hampshire. It was an outstanding event. Another of my favorites was Ed Jubinville of Chicopee, Massachusetts. I used to compete in many contests he ran. Ed passed away a few years back and is missed by many of the powerlifting, armwrestling, and bodybuilding community. Ed was a judge at several Mr.Olympia contests, and IPF International referee, Vice President of the American Armwrestling Association, and and ADFPA judge and competitior. Ed traveled overseas many times over the years to officiate at International events (and lift). Ed was especially famous for his "muscle control" act and he even authored a book on the subject.
In Armwrestling I uh..................won a few contests by default (nobody in my class).
Olympic lifting: I started off in Olympic lifting and did it a bit in my teenage years. At age 11 my photo appeared for the first time in Strength and Health magazine. I was performing a clean and jerk with 185 at the time. In later years I did a clean and jerk with 382.5
In bodybuilding I did quite well. I competed on and off in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. My most recent accomplishments in Bodybuilding were: 3rd place Over 40 Class - 1993 NPC Gold Cup Classic, 2nd place Masters Class - 1994 GDFA Silver Cup Classic, 3rd Place Mens Medium Class - 1994 GDFA Silver Cup Classic, 2nd Place Over 40 Class - 1994 NPC Tarheel Open Bodybuilding Classic, and 2nd Place Mens Medium Class at the 1994 GDFA Drug Free Bodybuilding Nationals. I enjoyed the last contest because the nearest competitor in my class was 20 years younger than myself! Now I have blossomed back up to uh.........a bit over 240 again (not as lean as I used to be at this weight either).
In Pro-Wrestling: hhmmmmm.... Lets just say I was not the fan favorite. As a wrestler my weight fluctuated between 245-280 pounds on my 5'9 frame. I usually won my matches which the crowd did not appreciate. I was really a nice guy and just dont understand why the crowd didn't like me.
Oh hell! I did go through a "small" personality change at the time. Maybe it was just the motorcycle gear I wore that upset them?

ASL: Could you tell us a brief history of the APA?

Taylor: The APA was formed in 1986. I was the APF Chairman for my region at the time. I ran the first ever submasters Nationals. After the contest was held, several lifters put in for records. The APF denied thier records. I was very upset that they allowed the event to be sanctioned, accepted a sanction fee and denied any records. All referee's utilized were APF certified and I saw no reason to deny the records.
Ironically, the APF today has a set of Submaster Records. I guess somebody else must have received credit for the work.
Also, in that time span I thought that there should be a focus on having some drug tested divisions.
I was very unhappy with judging standards and inconsistancies I had seen with several organizations in that general time frame. I ended up forming the APA, giving those lifters that were denied records - the records they earned and got a federation rolling that was consistant and did not change the rules of lifting every week.

Kim Bergman has lifted in the APA. Click on thumbnail to enlarge the image.
@copy Scott Taylor. No duplication permitted.

ASL: Why did you get involved in powerlifting?

Taylor: I was always good with the heavy weights. I started training ultra heavy in the late seventies to prepare for a career in Pro-Wrestling. I trained at Mike Katz's Gym in Hamden, Connecticut in that time frame. Mike has been a life long friend. Most folks remember Mike from his role in "Pumping Iron" and his Mr.America and Mr. Universe titles. Mike had the largest chest in Bodybuilding and still looks fantastic as he goes into his mid fifties. If he decided to step on stage today, he would still kick some butt! This is where I met Joe Steele (now an APA Chairman). Joe could not believe the weights I used in my workouts nor the reps I was performing in the squat. Joe encouraged me to try my hand at powerlifting. Even though I have competed in several sports over the years, powerlifting has always been my main focus and will continue to be my focus.

ASL: Who were your heroes/idols when you were growing up?

Taylor: I had many interests but here goes: Jimi Hendrix, Dave Draper, Reg Parks, Steve Reeves, Sergio Oliva (as an Olympic lifter at the time), Evil Knievel, Zabotinski , Chuck Sipes, Bill Pearl, Bob Hoffman, John Gremik,

ASL: Would you care to name who you think is the greatest powerlifter of all time?

Taylor: I like the use of the word "powerlifter". All three lifters do not get enough recognition in this day and age. My favorites are Anthony Clark and Ed Coan.

ASL: Is the APA your full-time job or do you also have to hold down a 9 to 5 also?

Taylor: I wish I just worked 9 to 5!!! The APA is my full time job (plus). I average 80-90 hours a week doing APA related work. I love it and would not trade it for a regular 9 to 5 job.

ASL: What is the APA's general policies towards lifting gear as well as drug useage?

Taylor: We allow moderate but not excessive gear. I believe in gear 100% and wish I had worn wraps etc more in the past. I would not have the physical problems I have today had I wrapped my knees and worn gear more often in the old days. You don't perform reps forever with over 600 in the squat and end up with no knee problems later in life. It just does not work out that way!

The APA runs both drug tested and non-tested classes. A minimum of 20% of the lifters are drug tested in our drug tested divisions.
I have seen some area's in which some lifters who are on steroids compete in drug free organizations. Usually this is because they have very few meets in thier areas and will take thier chances just to be able to compete in a contest. I found that if I offered non-tested and drug tested divisions it keeps most of the people honest because they only want a place to lift like anybody else. Some of the guys who have competed in drug free contests have come right up to me and stated that they were not drug free when they did so. This is an unfortunate situation. It is not often that we get somebody that is on steroids who tries to enter a drug free division. Some have tried and ended up with 3 year suspensions.
One area that we differ from a lot of organizations in is the fact that all lifters (drug tested & non tested divisions) are subject to alcohol and narcotics testing. We do not want to see anybody get hurt on the platform. I have seen competitions where people who were competing were walking around with a beer in their hand. I once watched an older master lifter pass out on the platform because he was drunk. We do not condone this on our platform. The time to drink booze is after a competition if you must. Not during a meet.

ASL: Could you tell us some of the marque athletes that lift in the APA?

Taylor: We have had many: Conyers, Heisey, Clarke, Tseramis (Canada), Marcel St-Laurent, Ferrentelli, Sechrest, Goggins, Henderson, and the list goes on and on...........

Kathy Roberts has lifted in the APA. Click on thumbnail to enlarge the image.
@copy Scott Taylor. No duplication permitted.

ASL: Could you tell us how the APA is trying to make powerlifting more popular with the masses?

Taylor: We are trying to provide more public exposure and make it financially lucrative as well. Bodybuilders have had much of the public limelight while too little is known about powerlifting. The negative impression continues because people only know what they are told about our sport and cannot find powerlifting magazines on supermarket shelves etc. You can walk into any supermarket and have your pick of 15 different bodybuilding publications.
The growth of our sport has been hampered due to lack of proper exposure.
I have heard that some new publications just might be on the way. This will provide our sport with the boost it has so long deserved.
The Mountaineer Open will also change a few things forever in the history of our sport. Huge cash prizes and a chance to move powerlifting in the limelight and provide our sport with the equivilant of the "Mr Olympia" competition in bodybuilding.

ASL: How would you discribe the state of powerlifting in America? Would you call the current situation healthy and condusive to the growth of the sport?

Taylor: The sport has grown with the emergence of new legitimate organizations. This has caused some of the organizations who had the "only kid on the block" sydrome to work harder to keep thier act together. More meets are being run and more people are getting into the sport.
I remember when Powerlifting USA Magazine was nothing more than a thin black and white newsletter publication years back. Now the average is 130 pages per issue with a nice color cover photo, high quality paper and loads of sponsorship ads from equipment companies.
If it were not for those companies support we most likely would not have a large magazine nor much of a sport. Hopefully, as more magazines eventually reach the shelves we will see more growth in the sport, more people will buy products, and these companies will ultimately sponsor more meets for the lifter.

ASL: I understand that one of your major projects that you are working on is an all-federation or all-organization national championship with all federations sanctioning this one contest to name a single national champion in each weight class. Could you tell us your progress? What are the biggest obsticles that you have faced?

Taylor: To date I have made some progress with the USPF and NASA. Some organizations just dont want to be bothered because it robs them of the limelight while others understandably have to go through many channels and bylaws (and much time) to actually effectively be involved.

ASL: I understand that the Mountaineer Cup will be sanctioned by the APA. Could you tell us a little about that contest and speculation as to who you might think compete or win the contest?

Taylor: I have a feeling all of the real champions who set thier records with good legitimate organizations will be there. Those who perform half squats, sloppy benches (bounce n go) etc, will stay home, make excuses for not attending, and continue whine and set bogus records which will upset the applecart for the top 100 ratings in Powerlifting USA Magazine.

ASL: Is there any message or greeting you would like to give your many, many supporters out there?

Taylor: I would just like to thank them for making the APA/WPA the huge success that it has become today. Ultimately, it is the lifter who has made the federation a success. The lifters have given me the ideas and I have just listened to the lifter and followed through with their suggestions.

Jennifer Taylor has lifted in the APA. Click on thumbnail to enlarge the image.
@copy Scott Taylor. No duplication permitted.

ASL: Is there anything else that you would like to say to those who train in the gym, but haven't competed yet?

Taylor: Get out here now! The sport needs you!
New faces are what is going to make this sport continue to grow and flourish. Dont be afraid to compete. There are novice classes for beginners.
I have seen several people who were afraid to compete because they thought they would do poorly. Had they shown up they would have placed in the top 3! We all need to start somewhere. My favorite competition was one in which I placed 6th or 7th out of 29 people in my class. Go in a novice class where you will still have some folks in your class but wont be overwhelmed. Most of you will place better than you thought you would!

ASL: Would you like to add anything?

Taylor: Even if you dont ever compete APA, get out there and get going. All of the organizations will ultimately grow as we pick up more lifters anyway. Do everything you can do to make this sport grow. There is no reason for this sport to be placed lower in status than bodybuilding! We are the "go muscle" of the Iron sports!