WHERE DO I GET ENTRY FORMS?
Entry forms for most local contests get posted on Powerlifting.CA, on the Contests > Calendar page. Also in local newsletters, or on your local organizations website, or by contacting your local president. National entries also come from your provincial president, and they must be signed by him or her to testify that you are qualified to lift there. 

HOW STRICT ARE THE DEADLINES FOR ENTRY?
Be sure to get your entry form in early! Virtually every meet director will tell you that half the entries come in after the deadlines they set. They usually stretch the deadline a few days, but remember, it is their decision! Sometimes they can't. When T-shirts need to be printed, trophies made up, hotel rooms booked, sufficient judges and volunteers found, late entries can make it very difficult. 

WHAT HAPPENS AT A CONTEST?
A lot of new lifters comment they had no real idea of what to expect at their first contest. 

Here is a brief rundown of what to expect. We will assume a contest of about 20 lifters. 

1) The Weigh-in
      The contest entry form will specify the time of the weigh-in. At some time prior to the weigh-in, the officials drew your name from a hat, and assigned you a random "lot number". Lifters are weighed in by order of their lot number, with your name called when it is your turn. The weigh-in officials will determine a few items: 
        a) What weight class you will be in, by your bodyweight. (see below for information about the weight classes). Possibly also the age group, if applicable for the contest. 
        b) You will also be expected to provide your opening lifts for the Squat, the Bench and the Deadlift. These numbers must be in kilos! Please have these ready beforehand, so you don't slow things down by trying to find a calculator. 
        c) You will usually be asked for your "rack heights". Sometime before the weigh-in, find the competition squat racks and bench if it is adjustable. The adjustment positions will be numbered. If you are 5'2", you'll have a hard time following a lifter that is 6'4" unless they know where to set the rack. 
        d) You should be asked to show your CPU membership card, either here or at the Equipment check, to prove your membership is valid. 
      Weigh-in's last 90 minutes, and the contest starts 30 minutes after that. In other words, 2 hours after the start of the weigh-in. 
2) Equipment check
      EVERY single item that you wear when you compete must meet the CPU/IPF technical standards, as defined in the Rules. This includes, suits, wraps, shirts, socks, underwear, shoes, and belts. The equipment check is usually combined with the weigh-in in some fashion, shortly before or after, sometimes by the weigh-in officials, sometimes by other officials if available. 
3) The contest. 
      During the weigh-in, you submitted your opening lifts. The squat comes first, so the officials will arrange the lifter cards in order, so that the lifter with the lightest squat will go first. The next heaviest requested weight goes next, and so on. The names will be called by the announcer, like "John A is up, he will be followed by Joe B, and Tom C" and so on, as the lifters go. Once all lifters have done their first lift, they start over with their second attempt squats. So you're thinking "but how do they know what I want for my second lift?" During the weigh-in, you may have been given a small stack of "attempt cards". Here is how they work: as soon as you are done your first lift, you have (according to the rules) one minute to fill out one of these cars with your requested amount for your second (or third) lift and turn it in to the score table. 
      Once everyone has done their three rounds of squats, the process is repeated for the Bench Press, and again for the Deadlift. 
4) Groups
      Remember earlier I said we would assume a contest of 20 lifters? The rules state that if there are more than 14 lifters, they must be broken up into groups. The reason is simple, to avoid too long breaks between lift attempts. So, or group of 20 would be divided up, probably according to weight classes, usually the lighter lifters in the first group, and the heavier in the second. The first group would do their 3 rounds of squats first, and then the second group would do their squats. 
      One advantage of this is that while the second group is doing their squats, the first group can be warming up their bench press. Similarly after the bench, the first group warms up for deadlifts while the second group benches. This reduces the time between the lifts and speeds up the contest. 
SO WHO WINS?
In simplest terms, whoever lifts the most is the winner. But since the lifters are always broken into weight classes, and often into age groups, it is a good idea to find out beforehand who you are competing against directly. 

HOW DO THE WEIGHT CLASSES WORK?
There are 7 weight classes for women, 8 for men (Junior and Sub-Junior ages have one more at the lighter end of the scale). Look to the IPF Rules or the national qualifying standards page to see them listed. Find out what range you fall into, and look to the higher number. For example, if you weigh 81.3 kilos, you fall into the range between 74 and 83, so you are in the 83 kg class. 

HOW DO THE AGE GROUPS WORK?
Many contests feature competitions for lifters of similar ages, reasoning that someone who is 57 years old should not be compared to someone in their 20's. To this end, PL has been broken up into Sun-Junior: 14 to 18 years, Junior: 18 to 23 years, Master, with breaks every 10 years starting at 40, up to 60 plus. If you don't fall into these groups, because you are between 23 and 40, you are classed as "Open". Actually, lifters of any age can enter into the Open category if they wish. 

Age categories all change on the start of the calendar year, not birthdates. For example, Master 1 starts on Jan 1 of the year you turn 40, regardless of your actual birthdate. 

DOES THE CPU TEST FOR DRUGS AT CONTESTS?
Yes, perfomance enhancing drugs are tested for in the CPU, in accordance with the the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the same agency that the IOC (Olympics) use. At all CPU contests, there is the possibility that you will be drug tested, though testing does not actually occur at all contests. In short, a first offence violoation for steroids or similar will result in a 2 year suspension, and loss of any existing records you may hold. A second offence will get a lifetime ban, and loss of all records again. See the Doping Control page for more details. 

HOW DO I GET MY NATIONAL RECORD LISTED?
If you have set a national record at a contest, there are two additional steps that you must complete in order to get official recognition of the record. First, a record application must be completed. There are simply too many age and weight categories for the CPU to know that a record lift has occured at every local event, so we rely on the lifters to inform us. This can be done via an online form. This must be done within 7 days of the record lift. Looks to the Competitors > Records menus for the form links. 

SUMMARY
Whether at the local, provincial, national or even World Championship level, the basic routine is the same. 
 
  1. Show up for your weigh-in/equipment check and wait for your name to be called.
  2. Start warming up about 1/2 hour before your session, and wait for your name to be called to lift.
  3. Be sure to get your lift and next attempts in within the one minute allowed.
  4. Follow the routine of the contest as it progresses, and HAVE FUN!