Bismarck teacher, coach brings home silver medal from world powerlifting competition

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 2:13 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. – When setting goals, it can be helpful to write them down. A list can keep you on track and accountable for what you’d like to achieve.

Fifteen years ago, a Bismarck man made a list of things he wanted to accomplish, a bucket list of sorts. The last thing on Robert Fuller’s list: to compete at a world powerlifting competition.

The good news is he can finally check that off his list.

Fuller competed at the International Powerlifting Federation’s World Masters Men’s Classic Championships earlier this month. And the good news goes beyond that final checkmark on his bucket list.

This is a moment Robert Fuller has spent 15 years preparing for.

“It’s been a long road,” he admitted.

Finally, he reached the end of that road, lifting his way to a second-place finish at the International Powerlifting Federation’s World Masters Men’s Classic Championships.

“It was a great experience to be able to finally compete on that stage,” said Fuller.

On that stage, he made some big lifts. Fuller squatted 545 pounds and benched 358 pounds. Those lifts put him in fourth place.

“It really kind of came down to the deadlift which is my bread and butter,” he recalled.

His deadlift: 611 pounds. It was enough to clinch the silver medal. “It came down to the last two deadlifts, and as a competitor what more could you want?” said Fuller.

When he returned to Bismarck with that silver medal, his biggest fans were waiting to congratulate him.

“I’m so proud of him,” said Bismarck High School senior Hudson Schroeder. “He’s still doing what he loves to do. I only hope to be like that when I’m older.”

“Going to worlds and getting second in place is really cool,” added BHS senior Caylee Nelson.

Fuller is an assistant coach for the Bismarck Demons football team. On a cold, windy day at practice, they celebrated their coach.

“We have the second strongest man in the world here,” said BHS head coach Mark Gibson. “I Definitely didn’t expect any of that. It was just really cool,” said Fuller.

To Coach Fuller, these kids are family. “I’m with these students 10 plus hours a day so they’re definitely my family,” he said.

His day begins at Wachter Middle School, where he teaches career education. He gets to know every eighth grader in the school.

“It’s really special to be able to be able to develop that bond with them,” Fuller explained.

“I’ve had him in the classroom, the weight room and on the field and in all things he’s very intense which honestly makes him a great teacher,” said Ty Allen, a BHS senior.

“He just has a positive mindset and always like is achieving his goals and making new ones for himself and that’s really inspiring, and I really want to be like that someday hopefully to just push myself to be as strong and resilient as he is,” added BHS senior Katelyn Rath.

And while that silver medal is a pretty great accomplishment, Fuller says his proudest moments involve these kids.

“I’m about the luckiest guy in town,” he said with a smile.

And he’s a guy who also just happens to be the second strongest man in the world.

At age 52, Fuller says he’s accomplished everything he could dream of in the sport of powerlifting. He’s not sure if he’ll continue to compete, or if he will pursue coaching instead.

One thing’s for sure though; he says he’ll continue coaching and teaching in Bismarck for many more years.