"We'll get together on a Saturday, throw down, barbeque, drink a beer, and enjoy each other's company, and then we'll all go out that night," Wes Piatt said.
On May 18, 2013, the Southern California Regional ended with an upset that left some in shock and everyone on their feet. Wes Piatt beat Tommy Pease in a tiebreaker. Piatt took SoCal’s third ticket to the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games.
The tiebreaker launched Piatt into a year of change.
“Going to the CrossFit Games showed me what I am capable of if I refuse to give up and push myself to the limits,” he said.
Since the Games, Piatt has retired from firefighting, moved from San Luis Obispo to Gilroy, Calif., opened a box and joined the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff.
“Opening the gym, moving and starting a new career have been tough, but I'm still working hard every day,” he said. “I have to do a lot of my workouts by myself in between classes, but I wouldn't have it any other way.”
Piatt can’t help but smile at any mention of the members at his box, Coast Range CrossFit.
“Opening Coast Range has been such a blessing, and I'm so excited with the community we've been building in such a short time,” he said. “I can't wait to see where we are 10 years from now.”
Piatt’s passion for what he does and the affiliate’s strong community has pushed the rookie members to commit to getting better.
“We’re a family here,” member Junior Bobadilla said. “(Megan and Wes Piatt) have steered this community away from any of the stereotypes you hear about the fitness world. We support each other through everything. Wes keeps us centered on what it’s really all about and keeps us always pushing to be better.”
Focus shifts after time spent under Piatt’s coaching.
“As an affiliate owner, I want to show the city of Gilroy that it’s not about what you look like in a bikini or how many pounds you’ve lost, but what you can do with your body that matters,” Piatt said. “The Open is a great place to start and to show themselves what they are capable of.”
With the 2014 Open approaching, about a quarter of the members at Coast Range CrossFit have registered to compete. Since many haven’t competed before, Piatt is stepping in to calm nerves and explain what the Open is about.
“(The Open) should be a true display of what CrossFit is all about: community,” he said. “I want everyone to leave after the five workouts are done saying … ‘I can’t wait for next year’s Open.’”
It’s going to be a party at Coast Range CrossFit.
“We’ll get together on a Saturday, throw down, barbeque, drink a beer and enjoy each other’s company, and then we’ll all go out that night,” he said.
Many athletes walked into the affiliate having never heard of the Open or the CrossFit Games. Now, with Piatt’s influence, many are eager to participate.
“It’s nice to know that whatever the Open might bring, no matter how much it might hurt to push, Wes has done way worse and pushed way harder,” member Kristin Kleiber said of the Games competitor. “He has an amazing ability to inspire us.”
Member Christine Pereira said the Open is a great way to test herself.
“We have been putting in the work, and now we get to see where we’re at through a friendly competition,” Pereira said. “There is no other competition where I can compare myself to people my age from all over the world. How cool is that?”
Moving from San Luis Obispo to Gilroy has shifted Piatt from the Southern California to the Northern California Region. Piatt will now face the likes of Jason Khalipa, Neal Maddox, Garret Fisher and Pat Barber, among others.
His plan has not changed.
“I just have to put in the work and leave everything I have out there,” Piatt said. “As long as I do that, I’m happy regardless of where I end up.”
“I push my members in the gym every day, and as an athlete, I want to do the same for myself,” he continued. “Continue to push back those walls and show myself what I'm capable of. I also want to show others what hard work does. If I can inspire or make an impact on one person, mission accomplished.”