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|The legacy of a champion lives on in Tombstone|
|Written by Ashley James|
|Monday, 28 February 2011 21:38|
When most people move to a new city, it is because of a new job opportunity or perhaps to be closer to family.
But 14 years ago, when Danni Eldridge moved to Tombstone, it was because of the movie "Tombstone," released in 1993. After a series of earthquakes and aftershocks kept damaging her California home, Eldridge packed up and left her
Eldridge, 69, lives in town and works as a meet promoter and power lifting trainer at her daughter Sheri Hartmann's Cold Iron Gym and Health Club located on Allen Street.
Eldridge is a woman that can be described as multi-talented.
Not only is she a retired Los Angeles County deputy sheriff of 20 years, but the first female in the California Police Olympics, private investigator, American Cherokee Confederacy member, former car racer, mother and author of two books.
Pictures of Eldridge in her lifting years cover the walls of the gym and are exhibited with pride next to her records, some of which she still holds.Eldridge began her career as a power lifter in 1980 during her career at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. She saw a power lifter on television and knew it would be her next venture.
"Wow, that's me," said Eldridge.
For more than a decade, that was her.
Eldridge was the only woman when she began in the police meets. She competed and won fourth place in her weight class against all males.
"The guys were pretty cool," said Eldridge, "and I beat everybody after fourth."
Eldridge was able to recruit the interest of six other women into the sport as they pushed for a women's division.
"We couldn't lift against the men. It is not right, not fair and sexual discrimination. So we got (a division)," said Eldridge.
Eldridge never had a trainer during her lifting career. And with her self-proclaimed 165 records under her belt, it's hard to believe.
Eldridge admitted that discipline is the most difficult aspect of training for this sport, but that never stopped her. Days before a meet, Eldridge could be spotted eating plenty of eggs four to five days before to lose the extra pounds to stay in her weight class.
"When I started, I wanted to beat whoever was there," said Eldridge, "I found out they had records and I said I am going after that record, and then I would go for the rest of them."
The records are based on the highest weight out of three attempts at lifting the heaviest weight the contestant can lift.
Once lifts are complete, the winner is the power lifter with the highest total weight lifted over the three lifts, which are the squat, bench press and dead lift. These are recorded based on the contestant's bodyweight, sex and age category.
Eldridge's American records for the United States Powerlifting Federation include for the age 40-44 masters 132-pound weight category, a power lifting bench press of 209.4 pounds obtained in 1982.
A few years later, in 1991, in the 148-pound weight category, Eldridge bench pressed the record weight of 270.1 pounds as well as a dead lift of 463-pounds on the same date.
These are only a few of the dozens and dozens of records that Eldridge once held during her lifting career.
Eldridge decided to walk away from the weights after 11 years of lifting after the death of her husband and power-lifting partner Tom Eldridge, who passed away on her 50th birthday.
"I didn't do any lifting for a while after that, until my daughter got the gym in Tombstone," said Eldridge.
Eldridge and Hartmann have since become involved with doing power lifting meets in town.
Hartmann explained that the sport was very obscure in the city and there has been growing interest.
"If you are doing it as a sport, you have to have that mentality. You put yourself and your mind into it and play tough and strong or go home," she said.
Her words, fierce yet authentic, reciprocate the sentiments plastered on the gym walls and in the mind of a lifter.
"Sweat dries, Blood Clots, Bones Heal, Suck it up," reads a sticker on the gym wall next to the framed images of Eldridge in her lifting years.
The two are to host the upcoming USPF Championship Powerlifting Meet for Region Seven on March 26. Lifters will be from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
Danni's Best Lifts
Total: 1,107 lbs.