The Press Newspaper
The weight training area at Maumee Bay Turf measures about 60 feet by 40 feet
and has been a labor of love for owner P.J. Kapfhammer.
The gym is open to the public, but Kapfhammer especially likes seeing the younger lifters take advantage of the facility.
"They have a weightlifting program at Clay, and we take it to another level for the elite athletes who want to make it a sport," Kapfhammer said. "We give them an avenue to work out. It's free to any kid, as long as they're in high school and they want a place to work out.
"I put the gym in for employees at first, and through time I've invested a lot of money. We have a competition bench that costs $1,800; a normal bench probably costs $400."
Kapfhammer said a group of Clay athletes came to Maumee Bay Turf two years ago to see if the company would sponsor a power lifting team and coach the team at meets.
"We agreed to do it and we met with Mike Donnelly, the athletic director (and football coach) at Clay to see if this was going to be OK with Clay," Kapfhammer said. "He supported it, so we bought $10,000 more in equipment - we have about $25,000 in weights and equipment now - so we could train the kids.
"Last year at Northwood's meet we placed third with about 10 kids, and this year we placed first with 24 kids and we won by 1,000 pounds. We also broke 12 records in the process. It was a struggle in the beginning, getting all the coaches to let the kids come here instead of lifting at Clay, but we are starting to get the Clay coaches on board because they have seen the great results the kids have had since they started lifting here."
Kapfhammer said his goal was to use the Maumee Bay Turf gym as a place where local youths could make good use of their time.
"Our goal was to give the kids in the community a place to train so that they stayed out of trouble after school," Kapfhammer said. "We allow any kid, athlete or non-athlete, to lift here for free as long as they pick up after themselves and they respect everyone in the gym.
"We started with about 10 kids two years ago and we have grown to about 40 kids (grades 7-12) who lift here daily. We are very proud of what the first group of kids has accomplished, and we look forward to what the next group of kids will accomplish in the years to come."
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