COD science major holds athletic superstition.


Bradley Buster Baird lifting weights. Photo courtesy of Hansel Villanueva Apuli

Bradley Buster Baird, is 27 years young and an exercise science major at College of the Desert. He is a unique student. While attending classes and working at Costco, Baird holds an athletic superstition.

Baird competes in the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA), which is a competitive strength sport. Lifters perform three events: the squat, the bench and the deadlift. Each lifter in a competition receives three attempts for each event and only the heaviest successful attempt is written down.

I know Baird as my training partner and assistant coach. Baird first began lifting at the age of 20 in 2012 but did not start his powerlifting career until 2016. “I decided to pursue powerlifting because it made sense, you are thrust into the world confused and barren and expected to find your place and niche. In powerlifting I feel like it is one of mine,” said Baird.

Baird first stepped on a competitive platform on April 6, 2019, in Indio Calif. His first competition was called “Coachella Strength Fest,” hosted by Universal Training Center. He successfully achieved a 484 pound squat, a 363-pound bench and a 638-pound deadlift all in the 220-pound weight class.

Completive lifting is different than what people are normally used to in a gym. Baird loves competing, he says it is a moment where the world stops and it is just about him. He said the combination of stress and Zen culminates into a balance of yin and yang. It is demanding performance from yourself because of how hard you worked and at the same time, your adrenaline is working overtime blocking all other sensations and thought.

Baird plans to continue lifting and competing in powerlifting. His favorite lifts are deadlift, bench and squat. Baird said, “solely based on how I feel how proficient I am at them. If my squat I felt was good it would be higher out of the three, but since it is one of my more inferior lifts it’s at the end of the list.”

Baird trains at Universal Training Center and in his home garage. In any sport, an athlete is always looking up to an icon or a hero. For Baird, that person is Chris Duffin who motivates him. “Chris Duffin is probably one of my most inspiring lifters, he has overcome a lot in his life, is a genius and has a really good heart. Often using a lot of his own resources and abilities to help and inspire others, ” Baird said.