Richmond’s ‘Rocky’ victorious at USA Powerlifting Masters World Cup

Richmond's 'Rocky' victorious at USA Powerlifting Masters World Cup
Royce “Rocky” Saunders (Photo contributed)

By Kathy Chouteau

Upon hearing the name “Rocky,” a certain heavyweight boxer springs to mind, but Richmond’s Rocky is a master powerlifter, and like his Hollywood namesake, he’s earned the top prize.

On Sun., May 21, Richmond’s Royce “Rocky” Saunders took home first place at the USA Powerlifting Masters World Cup in Arlington, TX. Competing in the Masters 4 Division for athletes 70-79 years old, Saunders said he achieved a personal best of 418 lbs. in the competition’s deadlift segment.

The local winner said that during the competition, powerlifters perform three different lifts—back squat, bench press and deadlift—throughout a daylong meet. Competitors have three attempts in each of the different lifts to achieve their highest weights.

Rocky started powerlifting at age 62 “after being challenged by his adult children to stay in shape,” he told the Richmond Standard, and now “competes in 3-4 powerlifting meets per year.” The athlete gives major props for his success to his lifting coach—Leslie Macedo Blackketter of Cypher Health & Fitness in Richmond—as well as his wife, Norma, a 5th Degree Kung Fu Black Belt and international champion in her sport. Rocky said he is also grateful to his children, John and Jamie, for inspiring him.

The master powerlifter’s next competition will be in the USA Powerlifting California State Championships in October 2023.