TIFTON — Tifton hosted its first big indoor event in months Saturday.

Weight-ing for Lungs, a World Natural Powerlifting Federation meet, was a competition and it also benefited a good cause. Proceeds went to Ronnie Kailing, who is awaiting a double lung transplant.

Mickey Jacobs, an event organizer, said about $2,900 was raised for Kailing Saturday.

“That was absolutely awesome,” Jacobs said. “Just an amazing day.”

Kailing, he said, was “tickled” with how the meet turned out. Kailing made a brief appearance before competition began. He spent the meet in a protected area, then came back for the trophy presentation when Weight-ing for Lungs ended.

The meet drew 53 lifters to Tifton and the website for the WNPF said the meet was full. Many participants hailed from Fitzgerald and participant Brad Dunn said the group was close, “Friends for life.” Others drove in from Mississippi and the Carolinas.

Jacobs estimated 300 people came to watch the event at various times. The meet started 9 a.m. and continued into mid-afternoon.

Quite a range of lifters participated, with more than 40 years separating youngest and oldest. The youngest competing was 13-year-old Luke Brinson.

Lifts were bench press, squats, deadlift and strict curls. One lifter, Joe Walsh, even went beyond the normal bench press by doing reps. He pressed 160 pounds 17 times. The day started with a record-breaking performance, one of several for the meet. Josef Morrow lifted 140 pounds in strict curls.

“I don’t know how to thank everybody for all they did,” Jacobs said.

He was grateful for sponsors, particularly the UGA Conference Center.

“(The center) did all it could to keep everybody safe and sanitary,” he said.

Masks and social distancing were required inside the building and extra precautions were taken for the powerlifters. Spotters wore gloves and frequently wiped down equipment. All lifters wore masks.

Kailing wasn’t the only person honored Saturday. Before the meet began, Fitzgerald pole-vaulting legend Charlie Polhamus was presented a plaque for his accomplishments as an athlete and a coach.

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