August 2014 Lifter of the Month
When it came time to nominate USAPL New Jersey's first "Lifter of the Month", there was no question that Jules "Butch" Pellegrino would be the man for the job. In our mind, Jules is a legend in the powerlifting community... .
Jules has been married to his wife Leanne for 49 years, has six children and eleven grandchildren. In 1947, his father opened a liquor store in Haledon, NJ and Jules started working for him when he was only 10 years old. After college he went into the family liquor business, opening up two more stores. In 1998 after his youngest son graduated college, Jules retired.
Believe it or not, Jules has been training for 50 years and competing for 48, being involved with powerlifting since he was 19.His first competition was the NJ State Championships in 1964 which was held in the back of a bar in Paterson, NJ. Jules finished 6th but set a state bench press record of 265 lbs. We think he was probably hooked from then on! From there, he competed in the AAU, USPF and then the ADFPA/USAPL.
Jules' two most successful lifts were the bench press and the squat. He benched 355 at 148, before there were bench shirts. In the open division, this ranked him top three in the country. He also benched 380 at 165 without a bench shirt. He was the first NJ lifter at 148 to break the 500 lbs. squat barrier with a 501 squat. Jules' best deadlift was 510 lbs. Pretty impressive numbers! However, Jules said his greatest powerlifting achievement was placing second at the 2012 IPF World Bench Press championship where he set an M3 ( 60-69 yrs.) American record of 319 lbs. in the 148lb weight class.
The most incredible accomplishment that I think Jules has achieved is going through hip replacement surgery in February 2011 and competing in 7 meets after rehab. Always looking for a challenge, Jules wanted to go home early from in-patient rehab. He asked what he had to do to go home early. The therapist said if he could walk up two flights of stairs and back down without help he could go home. Well, up and down he went and shocked the therapist. He went home early. Watching Jules start out with benching and eventually squatting again was an amazing comeback. Since rehab he has competed in two USAPL NJ State meets, 2012 USAPL Bench Nationals, 2012 IPF Bench Worlds, 2013 USAPL Master Nationals and 2013 IPF Masters Worlds where he placed 3rd in the world for 60-69 age group. Now that's something to be proud of!
Currently, Jules just completed his 8th meet since surgery at the 2014 USAPL NJ States. From here he will be training for the 2015 USAPL Masters Nationals. We want to thank Jules for taking the time to talk to us. If you ever have the chance to see him lift, we can assure you, you wont be disappointed.
Written by Maureen Celoski and John Dalessio