Refusing to take a back seat to competitors from huge metropolitan agencies, a trio of Rim country law enforcement officers copped gold medals at the Western United States Police Olympics held last weekend in Scottsdale.
Jim Eskew and Tom Tieman won first place honors in the power lifting bench press and Dennis Armstead banged his way to gold and bronze medals in the rifle shooting events.
Eskew is the chief jailer for the Gila County Sheriff's Department, and Armstead is a county sheriff's deputy. For the Payson Police Department, Tieman is a sergeant in charge of investigations.
In winning the medals, the three were pitted against officers from throughout the western U.S., including California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Kansas and other states, Eskew said.
Armstead won a gold medal in the individual high-powered rifle shooting competition. In the team event, he took a bronze.
While Armstead was shining on the shooting range, Tieman and Eskew were pumping iron at Club Sar.
Prior to the event, Tieman set a goal of bench pressing a personal record of 280 pounds, which he attained on the third of his three lifts.
Entered in the 50-55 years 165-pound competition, Tieman easily hoisted 255 pounds on his opening attempt. The second lift of 270 went up almost as easily.
The sergeant is unsure of when or where his next competition might be, except that it might occur at this summer's Natural Athletic Strength Association state championships.
Eskew set a new Police Olympics weight/age class record in the 56-60 years, 242-pound classification. His personal record mark of 405 pounds broke the 400 pound Olympic standard he set last year.
Eskew opened with a 400-pound attempt which he thought he'd made. But judges eventually red-lighted the hoist, declaring the Olympic bar struck the rest support of the bench on the way up.
On his second attempt, Eskew successfully re-benched 400, setting up the 405-pound lift.
Like Tieman, Eskew says he doesn't now know when his next competition might be. It could be a national meet to be held in Las Vegas where he will again attempt a 405-pound lift, he said.