Kansas powerlifting duo breaks national records

Posted at 11:11 PM, Aug 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 12:56:21-04

Overland Park, Kan. — Kansas City is one of best sports towns in the U.S.

However, for all of the attention sports like football, baseball and soccer get around town, one sport that lags in coverage is powerlifting. 

But the unlikeliest duo of 19-year-old Nick Ufford and 85-year-old Herb Strange are breaking records.

In July, Ufford broke the national bench press record, in his age group, lifting 474 pounds at the Kansas Sunflower State Games in Topeka. That record eclipsed the previous record of 440 pounds.

Ufford also set a national record for deadlift at 639 pounds.

"Consistency is the key to power lifting and just never missing a day of workouts," Nick said of his preparation for a competitive event. "As long as you're consistent, even if you're just benching like the bar, or doing a couple of curls, shrugs whatever. As long as you're consistent, you'll get stronger."

Herb Strange is defying the odds to continue lifting weights, something he's done for more than 70 years.

Strange also competed in the Sunflower State Games and set a new record in his age range, bench pressing 182 pounds. 

"Nick and I both got American records at the Sunflower games and we qualified for the world championships this fall in Las Vegas," Strange said. "I'll probably go. I don't know if Nick will go, but I want to get that world record also."

Strange has multiple world and national records with the International Powerlifting Association and the United States Powerlifting Association.

In 2009, at the age of 77, he bench pressed 230 pounds, which broke the World Powerlifting Federation bench press record in his age group. That's just one of the many world records he's set.

Both Ufford and Strange are coached by Overland Park police officer Ken Ufford, Nick's dad. He's been an officer for 31 years, including 29 of them with the Overland Park police department.

He's powerlifted more than 35 years at the highest levels and was a three-time United States Powerlifting Federation champion — winning the teenage national title in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

Ken Ufford also won numerous police and fire nationals competitions, including the Police and Fire World games title. He still boasts many master records in the United States Powerlifting Association.

Ken Ufford retired from powerlifting four years ago, but he certainly enjoys coaching his son and his friend.

"It's really fun for me to help Herb and Nick continue to break records," Ken said. "Herb's always trying to talk me back into competing again. I said, 'Maybe when I'm 60.' I'm only 54. For now, I'm just good coaching."

Ken also says that the Kansas City area should give more recognition to the sport of powerlifting.

"We actually have some of the best lifters in the world right here in Kansas City," he said. "There's a gym up north. J.P. Price runs it. He hosts a lot of our meets, puts on our meets in Gladstone, and, in this area, we have some really phenomenal lifters."