There are two events which led to the creation of "The World's Baddest Barbell."  The first occurred in Dayton, Ohio, at the 1984 Senior National Powerlifting Championships. 

It was there that Lee Moran was to go for (and hopefully achieve) the first official 1000 pound squat in competition.  

Moran achieved 953 pounds in his first attempt, but it was a real battle. In his second attempt, the bar was loaded to 1003 pounds - a new world record if he made it.  The crowd was whipped into a frenzy at possibility of seeing the heaviest squat on record...Moran took the weight on his back, paused...and as soon as the referee gave the signal *SQUAT!* all hell broke loose. 

Lifts in the four-figure range were a whole new animal and the equipment at the time wasn't quite ready for it. The collar failed on the right side of the bar and popped off. Plates started dropping to the platform.  Of course, now that one side of the bar was nearly empty, basic physics took over and the other side catapaulted across Moran's back.   

As you'll see, it was a miracle that no one was seriously injured.  Here's a rare photo sequence of the event as it unfolded:

Lee Moran's Squat

After all the commotion died down, Moran was somehow able to regain his focus and made the historic lift.

 

Now, what does this have to do with "The World's Baddest Barbell?"  Jim Sutherland happened to be sitting in the front row when this event occurred.  Jim reasoned that with heavier weights swiftly becoming the norm, it was important (not to mention a safety issue) that the equipment should be able to stand up to it.

Jim set to work... (to be continued

The World's Baddest Barbell ~ Beginnings: Part I