From becoming the state’s No. 1 professional eater to serving as the spartan-like mascot for the Tennessee Titans to earning a spot on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s TV show, the last couple years have been quite the ride for Bartley Weaver.
Weaver graduated magna cum laude from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2011 with a degree in criminal justice and psychology, then went on to graduate from the Kentucky State Police academy in 2015. In 2016 he started his personal training and coaching business Dreamweaver Fit, which has continued to grow.
But it’s the last year or so that has been the biggest highlights for Weaver.
Last summer, he turned pro in competitive eating during Owensboro’s International Bar-B-Q Festival mutton eating contest. He said the event usually has 10-12 spots for pros, but he lucked into a chance to take the stage as an amateur.
“I got a shot to make my debut there and beat a few top-ranked pros, so (Major League Eating) offered me a three-year contract,” Weaver said.
Now, he’s the top-ranked eater in Kentucky, and he’s No. 32 in the world.
His next big opportunity came a couple months later, when he earned the role of Hyperion for the Titans. Weaver said he used to dream of playing in the NFL, but after an injury his sophomore year at KWC those plans faded away.
Getting to be a part of the Titans — complete with his own introduction before games — wasn’t too bad of a consolation prize.
“In a way I kind of achieved that goal,” he said. “I’m not necessarily playing but I’m on the Titans payroll and on the field every Sunday at home.”
All the while — since he stopped playing football in 2009 — he’s been working toward earning a pro card from the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness.
Tie it all together, and Weaver achieved arguably his most impressive feat so far — a spot on Season 2 of “The Titan Games,” which is a show that offers “everyday people the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in epic head-to-head challenges designed to test the mind, body and heart.”
Weaver originally began the application process last year. He filled out all the paperwork, but he stopped short when it came to making a video about why he should be a contestant.
“I procrastinated. I didn’t know what to talk about,” he said. “At the time I wasn’t a pro eater. I wasn’t the Titans’ mascot. This time around I had a lot more storylines. Basically I made a video and compiled everything crazy that I’ve (done recently). I just told them, ‘basically I’m already a Titan, I should be on the show.’”
Weaver submitted the application on the final day, and he received the call less than an hour later.
Out of several thousands of applicants, 30 men and 30 women were chosen and flown to Burbank, Calif., for a combine and interviews.
Weaver pulled one hamstring and injured the other during the combine, but his otherwise impressive performance was good enough to keep him in consideration for a spot on the show.
“I was kind of at their will. They were going to start filming in three weeks, did they really want damaged goods for the show?” Weaver said. “I told them I would do everything in my power to get the best therapy done so I could be ready. About a week later they gave me a call and said I had made it on and to be ready to film in three weeks. So it all went pretty fast after that.”
Only 16 men and 16 women made the cut.
“Every single person there just had the most incredible story you had ever heard,” he said. “All of them are some of the best athletes I had been around.”
By making it on the show, Weaver was lucky enough to actually talk with The Rock behind the scenes one day.
“It was a pretty surreal experience,” he said. “I was messing with a water bottle and he just grabs me by the trap and told me he was proud of me and how hard I’ve worked, all the things you want your idol to tell you. We actually talked for 10-15 minutes about working out. He basically knew everything about me and said he personally selected me to be on the show. We talked about food and training and life. It was pretty awesome.”
The show premieres tonight at 7 p.m., and the champion wins a grand prize of $100,000. Weaver isn’t allowed to discuss how he did or any of the results.
For now, Weaver is back at his Bowling Green post with KSP, but he’s staying busy and always looking ahead at what’s next.
Already on deck is a new supplement line that he’s been working on lately.
“It’s going to be called Titan Fuel,” Weaver said. “I’m always working hard on the side on something else. I’m really going to push the supplement line. The first product is a pre-workout, a one-of-a-kind product that no one is doing right now. We’ll ride that out and see where it goes.”