By Summer Crick ’14, Director of Alumni Relations
It’s safe to say that Bartley Weaver IV ’11, a state trooper with the Kentucky State Police, is a man of many talents. Weaver, who came to Wesleyan to major in criminal justice and play football, began working out with his dad at the age of 12. Eighteen years later, he’s never taken a full week off from training and has translated his love of a healthy lifestyle and willingness to work hard into several accomplishments, including:
- Being named the 2019 Overall Winner of the classic physique division at the Arnold Classic, which is the world’s second-largest competitive bodybuilding stage.
- Becoming the No. 1 competitive eater in Kentucky and No. 32 in the world through victories at various competitions, including the World Mutton Eating Championship held right here in Owensboro, Ky., and the well-known Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship at Coney Island.
- Running a successful fitness and meal prep service.
- Being named the game day superhero, nicknamed Hyperion, for the Tennessee Titans – where he leads the team out of the tunnel at home games at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
Most recently, Bartley received the opportunity to participate in Season 2 of The Titan Games, an American sports competition series hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The show features people from across America competing in endurance-based mental and physical challenges of “epic proportions” for the title of Titan.
Last week, Bartley took time out of his busy schedule to host a virtual event to share his experience on the show that was exclusive to his Panther family.
“I’d actually planned to apply for last season, but, honestly, I procrastinated and missed the deadline. I’d already finished all of the paperwork, but they wanted a video of me explaining why I should be picked for the show, and I just couldn’t figure out what I should say. This year, I decided to apply again. Luckily, I’d saved my paperwork from last year, so all that was left was that video. I decided not to overthink it and made a quick video while on the Stairmaster on the last day to apply. Thirty minutes later, someone from NBC called and said, “Dude, why has it taken you so long to apply?!” Out of the 10,000 who applied, only 30 men and women were chosen for tryouts.
Just days later, Bartley was heading to California with the other chosen athletes to try out for the show in what he described as an “NFL-type” combine that pushed the contestants to their limits. When it came down to the 40-yard dash, Bartley pulled his left hamstring around 30 yards in. Then, as he limped towards the finish line, he tore his right one. “I still had two events remaining that I was unable to participate in, but I promised the producers that if they gave me a shot on the show, I’d return home and give it my all to be healed by the time we filmed. They agreed and I spent the next three weeks doing every kind of therapy I could to expedite the healing process. When you see this type of injury in the NFL, it usually takes players eight weeks or more to recover, but I knew that if it was meant to be, God would help me heal in that short time frame.”
Once Bartley arrived at the competition, he was paired against firefighter and CrossFit legend Matt Chan. “It was the ultimate pairing, matching a crossfitting firefighter with a bodybuilding cop,” he laughed. “I’d definitely met my match.” Bartley lost Round 1, but then went on to pull the “most stunning Round 2 comeback in Titan Games history.”
Although Matt Chan ultimately ending up defeating Bartley in the final round, it’s an experience he knows he’ll always cherish. “I’m so grateful the Good Lord above provided this opportunity for me. I thought my Tennessee Titan gig would be the end-all, be-all, and then He provided this. Yes, I put in the hard work, but I owe every bit of my success to God. He has blessed me so many times throughout my life, and I am so grateful.”
As far as plans for the future, Bartley says “who knows,” but that he hopes a leg day in the gym and a cheat meal with The Rock will eventually come to fruition. “We really bonded on the show; I’m now one of only 373 people he follows on Instagram, and he’s given me shout outs on both Twitter and Instagram, which helped me gain over 9,000 new followers. You’ll see him rooting me on in Round 2, reminding me that I needed to push myself harder mentally to win. He’s as genuine as he appears, if not even more so, and I hope we’re able to continue to build a relationship. I’ve modeled much of my social media and marketing after him, and I believe it’s working for me.”
He also mentioned plans of trying to participate in other shows similar to Titan Games, working toward his goal of holding a competitive eating title in every state and continuing to give the glory to God.
We are constantly wowed by the dedication, grit and success of our alumni. Join us in congratulating Bartley on his accomplishments thus far and wishing him luck with his future endeavors!