Weightlifter builds strength in retirement
Pete Mentz is a strong man. In fact, he is a world champion weightlifter, but it took retirement to achieve it.
Mentz has a compelling journey. He had not done regular exercise since he was a gymnast in high school.
“People like me need an ejection button to get off the couch and go to the gym,” laughed Mentz.
He started doing CrossFit and switched to Olympic Weightlifting in 2016. At 66 years old, Mentz lifts weights at the gym three days a week. He is a member of the Front Range Weightlifting Club led by Coach Paul Fleschler.
“It’s good for my head to be a member of a team,” shared Mentz.
Since 2016, he has competed in about 30 local weightlifting meets. In March, he won gold at the National Masters Weightlifting Championship in Orlando, where he set a national record for his combined weight total of 145 kilos in the snatch and clean and jerk. His win qualified him for the World Masters Weightlifting Championship in Poland in August. He walked away as the world champion.
“I was blown away,” Mentz said.
He leads his family by example. Mentz has been married to his high school sweetheart, Mary Anne, for 44 years. The couple has three children, Jessica (41), Marissa (38) and Joseph (33), and three grandchildren, Anthony (17), Skylar (10) and Briana (8).
“There is nothing like spending time with those two little girls and my grandson next door who is now a senior in high school. Our world revolves around them,” said Mentz.
Jessica and her husband, Jeremy, picked out a lot in The Canyons neighborhood and decided to build. Pete and Mary Anne had no thoughts about leaving the Centennial home they had been in for 20 years, but they did.
They bought the house next door.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Mentz. “We love the community. Happy as clams since we’ve been here.”
Pete and Mary Anne have been successful small business owners of Affordable Door Company in Castle Pines for nearly 30 years.
“Mary Anne and I did 15,000 jobs together. We were together all the time, and I loved it. We were never farther apart for 15 years than you can get in a garage,” Mentz recalled.
The couple took pride in their work and always did the jobs themselves until their truck broke down unexpectedly on a fateful day in December 2009.
“It was Saturday before Christmas and we were hammered. We had so much work to do, and you can’t just rent a truck,” Mentz explained. “We found good guys to do our work, and after the two weeks, I’m like ‘honey, we’re done!’”
Mary Anne still manages the sales and scheduling from home, while Pete focuses on his training.
“We have been so proud of him this entire journey,” said daughter Jessica Crimi. “He leads by example to never stop pushing, even in retirement.”
Crimi said her dad’s success of setting and achieving goals has made the whole family want to step it up in everything they do. Last month, the family hosted a party at the Mentz’s home to celebrate his accomplishments.
“I just want them to feel like it’s in their blood line,” Mentz concluded. “They are capable of doing more than they think they are capable of. Just shoot for the stars.”
By Mindy Stone; photos courtesy of Pete Mentz