By Allen Hamrick
How do you define greatness? The dictionary describes it as the quality of being great, a somewhat vague description. Shakespeare said it like this, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have it thrust on them.” The truth is that to be great at something requires sacrifice, practice and oftentimes hardships that you have to break out your horns and bull your way through. This is in spite of your body’s controversy between pain and the end result. Most go through life having abilities that are never expanded upon and simply move forward, never realizing the impact they could have on the future of the world. Very few people born with gifts ever use them, and those that have greatness thrust on them seldom use the opportunity they have been given. There are those that have to work at it and forfeit most of their free time in the pursuit of a dream. They wake every day with a greater expectation, beyond every sunrise, to be better than what they are given.
There is only one way to achieve distinction above others and that is hard work, and a person not willing to put in the hours, days and years, will never rise above the question of, “What if?” Greatness comes in many forms whether you’re pursuing medicine, sports, gardening, finance, politics, storytelling, equipment operating, tree felling, etc.; every field known to us can be taken to a higher level, but it takes work to be truly great at something.
With that all being said, this week’s article is all about one individual’s rocky road of sacrifice and dedication to a sport that has bestowed on him the level of greatness.
Wyatt Dawson, a Clay County native and son of Allen and Deanna Dawson of Duck, has achieved near impossible feats in the world of power lifting. Wyatt was raised on a farm with his two brothers, Daul and Eric, and was used to hard work because work was essential to their survival. Throughout his school years, Wyatt wrestled and played football, and he become very proficient at both. He proved himself on the mats and the grid iron as one of the best that graduated from the halls of CCHS. He was someone that could turn on his tough guy image when the situation needed it but turn it off and charm a rattlesnake into thinking it was a kitty cat. He was well thought of by everyone, which proved he was destined to become something greater.
Wyatt left Clay County in 2015 in pursuit of a college degree in Agriculture Science at Murray State University in Kentucky. He was a walk on for the football team and played there for three seasons until his interest in football was overcome by the need to buckle down in his studies. His extracurricular activities became focused on agriculture and working out played second fiddle to everything else … but the embers still smoldered. He soon realized that there was a fire that had to be quenched, and he could no longer stay out of the gym. There had to be more to it, something that drove him. Wyatt has long been a strong individual, a sort of gentle giant when it come to strength, but he knew he was destined to be something more than just another man with big arms.
Dawson found a new gym where he was introduced to the sport of power lifting, a growing sport much due to the success of the World’s Strongest Man competition held every year. Only the biggest and the “baddest” get to compete, but how do you get there? Hard work! So, Wyatt went to work and power lifting became his passion. He was asked to consider competing in strongman competitions, became hooked, and so began his journey to be the best. As he progressed and made good strides, an unfortunate injury set him back for months. Once he was able to return to the gym, he had a new understanding of the sport and what it took to be great and compete against others. So, lifting combined with stretching made the injuries less frequent, and Wyatt was on his way to bigger and better things. It was all cylinders firing from that point on as his first year in the strongman events netted him two wins and one third place finish. It was just the beginning.
After competing in nationals, Wyatt took some time off to allow his body to recover from the grueling daily workouts he was committed to. Once he got back at it, it was all out effort to get to the Official World’s Strongest Games competition. Once he qualified, the smoke cleared and the weights were back on the racks, Wyatt finished as the 13th strongest 231 pound competitor in the world, but he wasn’t finished yet. He went on to accomplish the once unthinkable – he is now the world record holder in the heavyweight class in the block lift. A steel block loaded with weights weighing in at 294.4 pounds went from the ground to over his head in front of the judges, his peers and the fans.
He has since earned the Illinois state record in the axle lift clean and press at 270.8 pounds and the North Carolina state record in the log lift clean and press weighing in at 320 pounds. He will try and best his world record in the block lift at the Viking Highlander Summer Raid on July 11th in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Wyatt Dawson is the embodiment of what it means to never give up your dreams of doing something that is beyond your comfort zone. With hard work, determination and a strong support base, anybody can accomplish whatever they set out to do. When asked what his advice would be to anyone getting ready to graduate high school and go out to claim their place in the world, his thoughts are to remember that there are many days that pass by where men and women have a chance to do great deeds. It is time to seize those opportunities and go beyond what is expected of you, beyond the status quo. He emphasizes to also remember that the finest gold and silver can only be obtained in the hottest fires, and the most magnificent streaks of lightning are only seen in the darkest storms. He went on to say that life is nowhere near over after high school but the beginning of the best part of your life. Don’t waste your life away because everybody has the opportunity to be great. Take your chances and never lose the light that guides you or the fire that ignites your passion.
Dawson has climbed to the highest limb in the tree. He is a hard worker, an agriculture specialist, avid outdoorsman, good friend and now a world record holder. Congratulations Wyatt, it can only go up from this point forward.