PV Choir teacher wins strongman competition and is heading to Nationals

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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Within the locker lined hallways of Pleasant Valley High school David Baxter is most known for his vocal strength. But once the bell rings and class is dismissed, he's known for a very different kind of strength. The choir teacher says competing in Strongman competitions and the arts is symbiotic.
Outside QC Strongman Gym in Bettendorf Baxter gathers ropes and chains with other strength trainers. But this isn't an ordinary weight training workout. Baxter straps on a bright yellow harness that is chained to a delivery truck that's in neutral and grabs hold of a rope which is tied to a pickup truck set to park. He lowers his body and aligns it with the rope and begins taking short steps and pulls the truck. His muscles swell to the point that he needs assistance from a friend to put on his arm supports because they fit much tighter after pulling so much weight. Baxter says training for strongman competitions is similar to vocal training. Both require muscles, preparation and strengthening. And he says his ability to merge these worlds helps him to compete at the highest level in both sides of his dual life.
"I personally am a better weight lifter because I'm a singer because of my breathing and alignment. And I'm a better singer because I'm a weightlifter because my mind to body connection, strength and flexibility," says Baxter.
Growing up Baxter says he competed in track, football and wrestling. And his passion for sports helped him explore his passion for music.
"I started out getting the confidence for music through sports. I was a very shy kid and i joined wrestling at a young age and that gave me the confidence and I found things I was good at and wasn't shy about them, and my abilities," says Baxter.
Baxter chalks his hands and prepares to lift a 100 lbs dumbbell over his head. He says it's more challenging than a regular dumbbell because the center grip is much wider, so one is not able to close they're hand while gripping it. The choir teacher says he thrives on being a rebel, especially because doing what he loves and excelling in his passion doesn't take anything away from anyone and more than anything provides an important example for his students.
"There still is a stigma in having jock kids versus the music kids.These stereotypes and stigmas exist. And the fact that they exist is another goal to reach, another thing to shatter and it's just a very triumphant thing too be able to do that and defy people's expectations," says Baxter smiling.
He says as a teacher himself he was inspired by the many people who helped shape and mold him into the educator he is today. He credits a choir teacher who pushed him to compete on a state level, a track coach who was also an art teacher, his family and a football coach who's words of wisdom stick with him today. Baxter says his football coach once told him that people don't in vision what they can't do. If you tell someone not to do something, they picture doing the action they were told not to do. Baxter says expanding one's realm of positive experiences and exposure to culture is beautiful. It's one of the many reasons he loves teaching his choir students about a vast array of music. He says the music exposes his students to places, historic times and stories all without traveling. And that a team, each individual plays they're part, in making the story behind the music come to life. Baxter says he wants to encourage others to do what they love and not be limited by the boxes society has created. And for everyone to do what he or she loves. He says that if anyone doubts you, prove them wrong with effort and passion.
So what's next for Baxter?
Last month after only a year of training, David Baxter won the Anvil Strongman Competition in Cedar Rapids. He's now headed to the US Strongman National Competition on June 8, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. And on the music side, David will be in Beauty and the Beast at QC Music Guild in Moline which hits the stage on June 14, 2019.