Barry set­ting records

Ma­cungie man shat­ters marks at pow­er­lift­ing events for his age group

The Morning Call - - SPORTS -

Bruce “Bup” Barry has ac­com­plished a lot in his life.

He was a stand­out ath­lete at Le­high­ton High School, let­ter­ing in four sports for the In­di­ans and earn­ing all-league and all-state hon­ors in foot­ball and win­ning a Le­high Val­ley League cham­pi­onship in wrestling be­fore grad­u­at­ing in 1970. He was the school’s schol­arath­lete and top ath­lete over­all.

It’s no won­der he was in­ducted into the Car­bon County Hall of Fame in 2017.

He then at­tended the U.S. Air Force Academy where he shined in foot­ball and rugby. He re­tired from the Air Force as a ma­jor and was a Boe­ing 777 cap­tain be­fore re­tir­ing as an air­plane pi­lot.

He cur­rently flies jets out of Teter­boro, New Jersey, to trans­port teams of heart spe­cial­ists to and from the ma­jor New York City hos­pi­tals to fa­cil­i­ties through­out the coun­try so they can save lives.

Barry, who lives in Ma­cungie, is proud of all of those things.

But these days he’s most proud of his ac­com­plish­ments as a pow­er­lifter.

On Aug. 17, Barry broke all known world squat records for age 65 and over in all weight classes for equipped squats at 675 pounds and then be­came the first lifter over the age of 65 to squad 700 pounds.

Barry com­peted in the 220-pound weight class at the In­ter­na­tional Pow­er­lift­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s VIP Sum­mer Slam­fest in Newark, Ohio.

His world record-set­ting per­for­mances ri­val his feats as a mem­ber of the USA Pow­er­lift­ing World Mas­ters 3 team in Tallinn, Es­to­nia, last Novem­ber where he won gold medals in the squad, bench press, dead­lift and to­tal.

“If I think about it, this is my big­gest ac­com­plish­ment on a per­sonal level,” Barry said. “Win­ning the world cham­pi­onship in Tallinn was a team ef­fort. Win­ning the team cham­pi­onship was great and there was a lot more in­volved with that. But this was more of a per­sonal goal I set once I saw that I could achieve it. I did it in the gym and I had to prove it. The only proof is at a meet.”

Mak­ing his mile­stone even more spe­cial was that Barry in­jured his thumb at a meet the week be­fore.

“I had no feel­ing in my thumb,” he said. “I pinched a nerve and a ten­don and luck­ily it didn’t do any real dam­age. The short-term dam­age was that I couldn’t con­tinue at the pre­vi­ous meet. I didn’t want to hurt my­self more or the spot­ter who is there to pro­tect me. So, as a per­sonal achieve­ment, this is by far the best. To be able to hit a big num­ber and be the first per­son in the world over age 65 to do it is a big achieve­ment. I’ve been work­ing for this for many months.”

Barry hopes to be an inspiratio­n to oth­ers.

“The big­gest over­all mes­sage I can de­liver is that it’s never too late to start a physical fit­ness pro­gram,” he said. “I started re­ally at age 61. There was a short pe­riod where I worked out and got in­jured. Then I started work­ing out in earnest and did the re­search to find pro­grams where I wasn’t go­ing to get hurt. You have to start out slow and be con­sis­tent. I work out three days a week with a day off in be­tween to let my body re­cover and time to re­build. There are too many peo­ple out there who think they’re too old to start a weight train­ing or exercise pro­gram, but they’re not.”

Barry feels he ben­e­fited from ge­net­ics.

“I have very big, strong legs that I got from my par­ents and my re­cov­ery rate from any­thing has been very good,” Barry said. “Ge­net­ics is part of it, but if you don’t put the time and work in, you’re not go­ing to see the re­sults. You just have to re­al­ize what’s im­por­tant and your health is the most im­por­tant thing you have. Get cleared by your doc­tor, start out slow and you’ll be amazed with the re­sults you see in a rea­son­ably short pe­riod of time.”

Barry said he’s not plan­ning on stop­ping any­time soon.

“I just had shoul­der surgery due to a bone spur in my left shoul­der,” he said. “I was help­ing my daugh­ter move and I did some­thing that caused the bone spur to do some car­ti­lage dam­age around the shoul­der, but not real bad. He cleared out the bone spur. So I’ll be re­hab­bing for the next few next weeks, but I will be back in a gym and I am pretty sure I’ll be able to squat more than the 700 pounds.”

He said that peo­ple he talks to on the in­ter­na­tional level are amazed how much he has been able to ac­com­plish in a short pe­riod of time

What makes him most proud is that he has been able to ac­com­plish all of his goals.

“I’ve done this drug free,” he said. “I’m ex­tremely proud that I haven’t used any per­for­mance en­hanc­ing stuff. To me, that’s the only way to go.”


Bruce Barry, 67, re­cently set a world squat record for lifters age 65 and over with a squad of 675 pounds and then be­came the first lifter over 65 to squat 700.


The Ma­cungie Griz­zlies won the 18&Over North-South Cham­pi­onship in the Le­high Val­ley Base­ball League.

Keith Groller

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