LAKE STATION | You would expect Bill Taylor to have set up a powerlifting gym in his own garage.
In fact, he did. He even has photos of the place.
"There she is," Taylor says while referring to a shot taken of his daughter Meagan while she was a toddler playing ... or rather training ... within the makeshift gym.
Meagan was lifting what looked to be plastic Fisher Price dumbbell. Couldn't weigh very much, but at least she was getting an early start.
For the first time, Bill and Meagan competed together at the United States Powerlifting Federation Illinois State Meet, held April 5 at Lance's Gym in Chicago. They made quite an impression.
A Lake Station police officer, Bill set an USPF American record in the bench press with a clear of 633 pounds to win his heavyweight Open and Masters divisions.
"I almost got 672 pounds up, but I just missed it," Bill said.
Meanwhile, Meagan established four American records in her Junior 18-19 Women's division with lifts of 137.5 pounds in the squat, 87.5 pounds in the bench press, 248 pounds in the deadlift, and 463 pounds overall.
It was Meagan's first powerlifting meet.
"I think I messed her up a little," Bill said about plotting Meagan's weight attempts. "When someone just starts out in powerlifting, it's hard to determine a good weight to start out with because you don't know how well someone's going to do in their first competition.
"We may have started Meagan too low in her first attempts."
For the ideal setting for a father and daughter portrait to go with a story featuring their accomplishments, the obvious place would be the gym in the garage. Problem is ...
"I moved all the equipment out of there," said Bill as the heaviest piece of iron at the Taylor household may now just be a frying pan.
"When I seriously got into powerlifting (in 2008), my brother-in-law told me I needed to get into a real gym," Bill said. "By lifting at home, he said that all I was doing was impressing myself. He said I needed to be pushed and mentored by much stronger and more experienced lifters."
So Bill joined Quad's Gym in Calumet City where some of the most renowned powerlifters in the world train.
"If you think you're one of the strongest guys you know, show up there and you'll be humbled," Bill said.
Meagan also trains at Quad's Gym as well as other fitness centers closer to home.
This spring she is due to graduate from Lake Station, where she was a four-year varsity basketball player.
"But I think I'm through with basketball," Meagan said. "I'm not going to play it in college, so I'm going to see how far I can go with this."
Meagan says her best lift is the deadlift, where her best non-competitive lift is 265 pounds.
"My goal is 300," said Meagan, who plans to accompany her father to the USPF Nationals taking place June 4-6 in Pittsburgh. "I think I could reach it this summer."