HAYFIELD BOY EXCELS AT THROWING WEIGHTS AROUND
AUSTIN — Storm Draayer doesn’t exactly turn green and wild-eyed when something or someone makes him angry, but there’s a little Hulk in this Hayfield seventh-grader.
Draayer is a power lifting prodigy and state record holder in two events for his age division, and the 12-year-old will try to lift more weight and win more trophies this weekend at the WABDL World Championships in Las Vegas.
The event will draw 600-800 competitors in all men's, women's and teen divisions, with perhaps a dozen in Draayer’s division.
"I don’t really have a motivation, other than to keep getting stronger," said Storm, who has been lifting weights under the guidance of his father, Christian Draayer, since he was 3 1/2, and began competing at 10.
"I’m looking to become a really big, strong lifter," he added.
Storm is growing and currently packs 152 pounds on his 5-foot frame. In August he dead-lifted 240 pounds and bench-pressed 124.5 to set two state records in the Teen Men 12-13 165-pound class at the WABDL Regionals in Minneapolis.
Storm will try to dead-lift 260 pounds and bench 140 at the Worlds, his dad said. The WABDL World records for this division are 402.2 in the dead lift, and 198.2 on the bench.
Like father, like son
Storm inherited his interest in power lifting from his dad Christian, who devoted himself to weight training in 2002 when he stopped drinking alcohol.
Storm’s parents are divorced and he lives with his mother, Misty Dahl. Storm said his mom supports his avocation, as well as his twice-weekly weight-training sessions with his dad at TJ’s Gym in Austin.
"At 3 ½ (years old) Storm would ask if he could come to the gym with me, and we’d let him," Christian recalled. "When he started competing he had success right away, and he liked the trophies."
Christian, said to be honest that Storm doesn’t really always like the workouts, because they can get a little intense.
"I train 14 times per week; ‘obsessed’ would be an understatement," admitted Christian, who is 40 and works late-night hours as a taxi cab driver in Austin.
But Christian said that "it’s starting to sink in" for Storm that there are no rewards in power lifting without hard work and a regular regimen.
Although Storm has the strength of a grown man in pretty good shape, the pre-teen revealed that even he has been a victim of bullying in elementary and junior high school.
"Actually I get bullied almost every day," he said matter-of-factly.
Storm said "everyone is aware" that he lifts weights regular and is unusually strong. But some kids pick on him anyway, at their own potential peril.
Like the Incredible Hulk, other kids might not like Storm when he’s angry.
"I’ve got a really bad temper and its gotten me in trouble before," he said. "I’m working on controlling my temper."
Christian Draayer said his son must practice restraint even though it’s against his natural instinct, because Storm could hurt someone in a fight.
"He refuses to stampede, he’s afraid to hammer these kids who pick on him," Christian said. "He’s scared to fight back because he would smash ‘em."
A fighting career?
Storm tries to avoid confrontation now, but he could be looking for a fight years from now, inside a ring or cage.
Christian said that Storm also has some boxing, wrestling and jujitsu training in his background, and he may become a mixed martial arts fighter.
"That’s what he’s moving toward," Christian said. "I’ve had three fights myself, when I was a little younger, and to be honest they’re safer than playing football."
Storm chuckled a bit when told that his dad is already planning his MMA career.
"Let’s just say he’s half right," Storm said. "I’ve been thinking about it.
"I’m kind of leaning toward that career choice."