Meridian Star

March 24, 2013

Raising the bar

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Ricardo Clayton laughed when he was asked why he chose to use a weightlifting competition to raise money for the Special Olympics rather than something more common such as a 5K run.

    "Because I can't run five miles," Clayton said still chuckling. "I mean, I could but it would be the worst time ever recorded."

    Saturday at the Northeast Lauderdale Middle School, local athletes gathered to show their weightlifting prowess. Last year Clayton said the event, called the Bench Press Extravaganza, raised $500 for the Special Olympics.

    Clayton, a Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department deputy who is a weightlifting enthusiast, decided last year to use the sport as a way to get other weightlifters together to raise money for athletes competing in the Special Olympics. He said Mississippi is the only state that pays 100 percent of the expenses for the athletes who compete annually. He just wanted to do his part, his way.

    "Some organizations use 5Ks or selling T-shirts as their way of raising money," Clayton said. "I thought this would be unique."

     The entry fee for contestants was $60 and the spectator fee was $5 admission. All the proceeds raised went directly to the Special Olympics.