Welcome to our series, #WHYoming, brought to you in partnership by Kaumo Law.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
For this week’s #WHYoming, I had a chance to sit down with Tony Woodruff, a Sweetwater County native who spends most of his time in the gym body building.
If Tony isn’t at work, where he drives a beer delivery truck, or at home with his family, you can find him in the gym. He started weightlifting in 2007 for the purpose of cage fighting, however, over time he started focusing on being a strongman and powerlifting.
When I met up with Tony, he casually threw on plate after plate onto the weightlifting bar until he was squatting 400 pounds. He has been runner-up for Wyoming’s strongest man three times. And this coming May, he hopes to compete at the IPL World Cup at FitCon Utah.
Though Tony is very focused when it comes to powerlifting, his family comes first. He is a dedicated father and husband.
This community series is brought to you by:
Tony, what do you do for a living?
I drive a beer delivery truck for Teton Distributors.
Tell me a bit about weightlifting. How did you get into it?
I got into lifting around 2007 before my daughter was born. My goals back then were more based towards cage fighting. I started lifting, overweight and out of shape. I lost nearly 100 pounds in the first year. I went on to fight in three different weight classes, dropping to a lower class every time, and only losing one fight.
I was seeing such a change in my body that I got more into bodybuilding than fighting. I was preparing for my first bodybuilding competition when on a whim I signed up for a strongman. I went on to take second place and was hooked on strength sports ever since. I’ve been the runner-up 3 times for Wyoming’s strongest man.
Strongman also lead me into powerlifting, which is where my focus has been the most for the last three years.
What are your goals for powerlifting?
My goals now are to compete at the IPL (International Powerlifting League) World Cup in May at FitCon Utah. There, I’m going to try for a 600+ pound squat and deadlift and a 400+ pound bench press. If I can hit the lifts I’m going for, I will become an elite level powerlifter.
What are some of your other hobbies?
My life mostly revolves around planet powerlifting and takes hours and hours of my full dedication, but I do love to be in the outdoors hunting. There’s one thing I enjoy more than lifting, and it’s archery hunting.
How did you end up in Rock Springs?
I was born here and have spent all my life between Rock Springs and Green River. I graduated from Green River High School.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
What I appreciate about our community is just that everyone pretty much knows a lot of the same people or all the same people. It seems we are tied together in some way, in most cases. The support this community gives when people are in need is amazing. I got to witness it first hand when my son was born 10 weeks premature. A family member set up a go fund me and the goal was met within a few days. It was truly incredible and we are beyond grateful to all who donated.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
I get asked all the time for advice on weight loss and getting stronger. There really is no secret or special way to get it. All it takes is time, consistency, and patience. Changes don’t happen overnight it’s a long road to get to some of your goals. There isn’t some special diet or supplement that will get you there. The real key is finding a diet you can stick to, there are so many fad diets and the latest trendy thing. To me it’s all smoke and mirrors to get you to buy something. Eat the foods you like to eat within your means and you will see the changes you wanna see.
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
The gym is my favorite place to be besides home with my wife and kids, which is where you will find me if I’m not in the gym. The gym is my sanctuary. It’s just me vs. me in there, pushing myself to my limits and beyond what I thought was possible.
Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse, or drive a car?
I guess that’s relative to the distance that I need to travel. Powerlifters aren’t known for their love of cardio. But I do love walking for endless miles through the woods.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
“Simple Man” by Shinedown or “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.
How would your friends describe you?
I don’t really know. I’d hope they would say I was loyal and would always have their back when they need it. I keep to myself for the most part, but I would gladly take a bullet to save the people I love.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
In life, it would be my kids. They are all incredibly strong and smart, and they’re respectful and do very well in school.
With my powerlifting career, we will see how things go in May and with my future training block. I’ve got some big lifts coming up that will be lifetime PR’s and where I need to be for May with still a full meet prep of training to go.
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
Ryan Reynolds or Tom Hardy. They are two of my favorite actors. Deadpool is one of my favorite anti-heroes too. My youngest son’s middle name is Wade because of him.
Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?
I love Wyoming, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world! Little known to most, but some of the strongest men in the world live right here in Wyoming. Blaine Sumner just won the IPF World Championships this last weekend. He has the biggest squat, bench, and total in IPF history.