Iron Master Nomination – Dennis Rogers
Dennis Rogers stops a 100-horsepower Harley Davidson Motorcycle with his Grip on Stan Lee’s Super Humans Show
This week, I have a brand new Diesel Iron Master Nomination to pass along – Dennis Rogers.
This nomination came in from one of the visitors to our site and RKC-certified Kettlebell Instructor, Eric Moss.
If you have never heard of Dennis, just read the note I got from Eric below, and you will understand how impressive, inspiring, and awesome Dennis Rogers is!
From Eric Moss, RKC: “I would like to nominate Dennis Rogers. While many within the grip and performing strongman world tend to be large in size, Dennis is of average stature (not a whole lot bigger than me). But Dennis is definitely not average in strength. His power is both humbling and inspiring. Humbling because he makes a living doing the impossible and inspiring because you know that it is not trickery or illusions but is in fact real because it happens right before your eyes.”
Eric, I couldn’t agree more. I am happy to call Dennis a friend, and am honored to give him this recognition here at DieselCrew.com.
Within five minutes of receiving this nomination, I sent Dennis an email telling him about the Iron Masters Program, and asking him to take part. He agreed and I took a few minutes to write down some questions to help us get to know him more.
While I had spoken with Dennis many times in the past, there were many questions that I had never covered with him. Dennis took the time out of his busy schedule to answer every question I sent him as well as send me a handful of images from his collection over the years. They are outstanding!
I hope you enjoy reading the following interview as much as I have conducting it.
Dennis 2 Weeks Before School Started (Junior Year) Note how small he is…
Jedd: How did you get started in strength and fitness?
Dennis: I saw the iron game as a means to fit in. I was approximately 4’11” and 79 pounds when I entered high school. In addition, I have a slight case of Scoliosis which was really emphasized during that time because of my slight build.
Needless to say I was not only picked on, I was down-out-right bullied on an ongoing basis. I was even put in the shower during gym class fully clothed.
To top it off I was uncoordinated, so I didn’t exactly do well at team sports. Before I knew it I was reassigned to Special-Ed gym. I was told it was so I could assist the kids who were really handicapped (physically) – but I saw the “writing on the wall.” However, as I learned early in life, there is a reason for everything. After all, it was in “Special-Ed” that I discovered weight-lifting. So, you might say that class became a real blessing in my life.
I began training on a regular basis. Almost instantly I moved away from the basic exercises that are part of most routines. You know what I mean: strict barbell stuff- military presses, bench pressing, squatting, etc. It wasn’t that I didn’t think they were effective – I know they are. It was because structurally they weren’t comfortable to me. I had a good feeling right off the bat of what I felt would work for me so I went for it.
So instead of the exercises that I saw in the body-building magazines, I was doing things like one-hand snatches and clean and jerks, heavy one-hand concentration and preacher curls, one-hand benches on a universal machine, heavy continental style power-cleans, and arm-wrestling with weights via the low pulley on a cable-crossover machine. They became opponents for me rather than a routine, and I always loved challenges.
By the time I was 17, I got a manual labor job and had incorporated overhead lifting with 120 pound drums of salt (I weighed 118 at the time), and carried heavy weight for distance – which helped not only my strength, but muscular endurance and balance as well. I did all this without the knowledge of what the oldetime strongman did or the importance of strengthening the stabilizers.
Dennis and teammate – the legendary Dave Patton (early 80’s)
As a senior, I was whipping everyone I knew in school and in my neighborhood at arm-wrestling. Arm-wrestling was fun to me. So fun that I did it for many years winning a slew of State and Regional Championships and then went on to become a U.S. Open, National and World Champion.
It was actually at an arm-wrestling practice that I first became interested in performing feats of strength. One night, one of the heavyweight guys broke the binding of a phonebook and ripped it in half. I couldn’t wait to get home and try it. After succeeding, I searched for information on feats of strength finding only bits and pieces in a few books and muscle mags. However, despite the lack of information, I retired from arm-wrestling and put my focus on performing feats of strength.
Soon I was ripping phonebooks lengthwise, tearing decks of cards in half in seconds, scrolling steel bars, driving nails through wood with my fist and so forth. I had found “my thing” as they say.
Jedd: 2. What keeps you going? Why do you continue to do what you do?
Dennis: A lot of people asked me what keeps me doing what I do- since I am 54 now. Really what keeps me going is not so much the desire to accomplish more in the strength world, but to use my strength and accomplishments to help others. I love to inspire and motivate others- especially young people. And as Jan Todd once inscribed in a book of mine, “Strength is a gift that inspires…” It’s so true… strength feats inspire and captivate so that one may then share what’s in the heart.
Dennis with friends Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece, at their home in Malibu, Sept. 2010
As with any gift, if you practice and perfect it, as time goes on it can open many doors. I have been able to meet many people and build some great relationships in various areas such as Corporations, Schools, Churches and the Entertainment World.
Jedd: 3. What are some of the biggest accomplishments you have had over the years, what are you most proud of?
Dennis: I am most thankful that I have been able to see so many lives changed over the years because of the platform God has given me. This is where my greatest focus has been and still will be.
Concerning the strength game, I am most proud of being looked at as a leader in the movement to revive the oldetime strength performer, and of my many students and their outstanding accomplishments. The greatest joy to any coach is to see his/her student become greater than he/she.
Dennis & Erik Vining (one of Dennis’s students) after Dennis completed a 10″ wrench “S” bend
Related to my awards and feats of strength accomplishments, I am honored to have been presented the Vic Boff Highest Achievement Award at this year’s Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongman Dinner, as well as receive a special association (AOBS) recognition – the “Super-Strength Athlete” award in 1993 for preventing two U.S. Air Force T-34 Aircraft from taking off. Then of course, I am grateful for my accomplishments (previously mentioned) in arm-wrestling.
Dennis in 1993 preventing two U.S. Air Force T-34 Aircraft from taking off
Receiving AOBS Special Achievement Award- Super Strength Athlete”, from Vic Boff for stopping T-34s from taking off.
Concerning feats of strength, below are a handful of my favorite accomplishments in addition to the aforementioned:
Stopping four Harley Davidson Motorcycles (Human-Link style, 2 per arm) at
full throttle for 12 seconds
One arm standing preacher curls of 98 x 10 and 117 x 1, both @ 148 pounds bodyweight.
Dennis Rogers, breaking chains in a performance at the annual AOBS dinner
Breaking free from official Police handcuffs, and various setups of chains, padlocks (as many as 5 locks at once) and shackles
Various Wrenches Twisted up Like Spaghetti
Bending both 8″ and 10″ adjustable wrenches into the shape of an “S” *
Notching a deck of plastic coated poker cards *
Ripping a deck of plastic coated poker cards into 8ths*
* Done on multiple occasions
Jedd: Dennis, you are a true Iron Master. Thanks so much for taking the time to complete the interview. Your story, going from an uncoordinated kid, to a World Class Arm Wrestler, and then on to one of if not the best Strongman Performers of all time, is INSPIRATIONAL.
If anyone would like more information on Dennis Rogers, see his performing schedule or even to book him at an engagement, check out his website, 88 Pounds.
Serious Hammer Curls, Dennis Rogers Style, performed before Slim “The Hammer Man” Farman
Diesel Universe – If you would like to nominate someone as an Iron Master, email me, TODAY!
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