Always the Originator, Never the Imitator
The Titan story actually begins around 1975. That is when Mr. P.F. Alaniz bought his two sons a Marcy weight set which they used in their backyard. By 1976, the Marcy set was no longer enough for the two boys. Their enthusiasm and dedication led their father to purchase memberships at the local gym.
After about 1 1/2 years of general weight training, the boys were again looking for a new challenge. That is when they discovered powerlifting. Their dad and uncle, Joe Alaniz, took them to their first event – the 1978 Texas State Teenage Championships. They were hooked. By 1980 the youngest brother David had taken off for the Marines, but Pete remained at home and dedicated himself to the sport. Up to this point, the sport had been predominantly raw as the suit era was just taking off. However, it was evident that the sport was evolving and an effective squat suit was a must.
So, Pete and his training partners, Leo Benavides and Stan O’Neal, ordered their first suits. Bringing these back home, the matriarch of the Alaniz family, Mrs. Irma P. Alaniz, looked them over and made it clear that she could do a better job. Pete knew it too, but told his mother that he didn’t want to work her that way. Finally after some months of shaking her head at the questionable craftsmanship and fit of the purchased gear, Pete agreed to let his mother take a shot at it. Sure enough, a trip to the fabric store and some midnight oil produced a custom tailored suit stronger than the few suits commercially available.
It was an exciting time with state records and state championships being challenged, broken and attained. Then one day Stan O’Neal brought back news that they were going to be the new training partners of one of the biggest names in the sport, Rick Gaugler. Rick was a World Record holder and World Champion and had been considered the best pound for pound powerlifter in the world at one point. The opportunity was almost unbelievable.
After some intense off-season training under the tutelage of Gaugler, it was time to start suiting up for a contest. That’s when Rick started taking notice of the homemade suits being brought in. Then one day Rick popped the question, “Would your Mom consider making a suit for me?”
Mrs. Alaniz got to work and fortune placed the 1981 USPF Nationals right in our hometown of Corpus Christi, TX. By this time, national contender Bill Ellis (first man to beat Bill Crawford’s Jr. National Squat record at 165) had joined the group.
The training sessions leading into the Nationals saw insane numbers being moved by both Gaugler and Ellis. Gaugler was never regarded as a big squatter, so when the Nationals came around the crowd was shocked to see him opening with 705 lbs (320 kg).
He was actually opening higher than Rickey Crain who was regarded as the next best squatter after Mike Bridges. Many expected a complete failure with this high of an opener – especially from Gaugler. Instead he came out and SMOKED the weight.
Ellis followed with the same weight, but in the 181 lb class (82.5 kg) class, and simply crushed his opener as well. Gaugler then attempted to take out Bridges World Record squat and came up with an incredible 727 lbs (327.5kg) which received a controversial 2 to 1 red light call. He then benched a massive 451 lbs (205 kg) raw and became the first 165 lb (75 kg) lifter to break the 700 lb deadlift barrier with a 705 lb (320 kg) effort. Gaugler did what many thought was impossible. He broke the legendary total record of future Hall of Famer, Mike Bridges.
That is when an idea took seed in Pete’s mind. In the late summer of 1981 Pete approached his parents with the idea of starting a powerlifting gear business. Both parents acknowledged that they had actually been thinking about the same thing. Pete took a trip to the county courthouse and registered the new company. Maria Perez, mother to Mrs. Alaniz and grandmother to Pete, donated $200.00 to purchase a new sewing machine at Sears. Uncle Joe, a CPA, provided accounting advice and Dad provided his garage and plenty of enthusiasm and encouragement. To top it all off, Pete’s girlfriend (future wife) volunteered to be the first employee.