Competing on the world stage, setting good example is all in a day for Stanly powerlifter

Stanly County native Landon Efird lifts the world around him, whether it’s at-risk kids or hundreds of pounds on a barbell.

Efird, the director of the Growing Minds Mentoring Center for a year — part of the Nehemiah Project, will soon take his power lifting skills to the international level. He is scheduled to compete this week in India and later in Dubai as part of Team USA starting July 11.

Weightlifting got him through tough times, Efird said, with both parents working and him getting cut from teams growing up.

“I never really got a shot at things. Weightlifting just kind of fell into my lap, something I fell in love with,” Efird said. “I’ve used it as a ministry to tell people with faith in the Lord all things are possible.”

The opportunity to join Team USA came when he was speaking at his old college, Mid Atlantic Christian University.

He went to work out locally and was approached by someone from 100 Percent Raw power lifting who owned the gym. Efird was asked if he was a drug-free lifter, which he said he was.

“He was like, ‘Well, I’m the president of Team USA and I have a competition coming up for the national championship, and if you win your weight class, I have a spot for you on the US National team,’ ” Efird said.

Efird ended up driving out for the weekend and tying a world record. He later set a dead lift world record of 821 pounds for another federation, 365 Strong, and a record for the strict curl.

He said he will be going for 831 pounds at the international competitions.

Efird has been competing since 2021 and is 13-0, including winning his weight class at the Arnold Classic, named for actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Efird’s trip will not be his only international competitions, though. He said he was scheduled to travel to Poland to compete in the World Polish Cup, as well as Great Britain next February.

Efird had done strongman competitions previously before suffering a torn rotator cuff at a national show in Minnesota. He still finished that competition, placing 11th out of 52 competitors.

At first, he said his family was skeptical of his weightlifting out of concern for his physical well being.

“But then they came to one of my shows and they saw how much I enjoyed it, how electric the energy is, how nice the people are,” Efird said. “We are big guys and there is a lot of testosterone in a room, but we all cheer for each other. We all want to see each other do our best and set personal records.”

Weightlifting, he said, is therapeutic for him, so after taking time off with the shoulder injury, he came back stronger.

“Give me the worst day ever, I can go in there and pick some heavy weight and get some adrenaline,” Efird said. “When I leave, I feel so much better.”