Editor's note: Since this article was published, CrossFit 307 owner Jeremy Davis asked that we correct a few statements in our article which they viewed as either biased or misleading. We reviewed the new information he sent over to us and have made some slight changes to the article. In an effort to be transparent and upfront about these, we are posting this note here at the top of the page and highlighting those corrections below in italics. Our efforts here are and will remain to report the facts for the CrossFit community - from both sides of this issue. A number of 307 coaches and athletes reached out to us following the article's publication, all saying there was more to this story and that if we knew all the information, we would view it differently. However, not one of those people was willing to comment or share this alleged additional information. We are left then with the facts as they are presented, and the evidence we have collected to support those facts. We thank Jeremy Davis for his forthcoming attitude in all of this and for communicating to us his side of the story, which we believe we have included to the best of our abilities below. -WS
It’s the biggest CrossFit event in the state of Wyoming. It expands every year, and sells out in a matter of minutes. Athletes across the Rocky Mountain region set alarms on their phones today for when registration went live. You literally have one shot at getting a team registered and then you find yourself on the waiting list. Two days, well-programmed WODs, surprises at every turn…the 307 Throwdown is a who’s who of CrossFitters in the west…sort of.
One face you won’t see at the Throwdown – the fittest man in the state. He’ll be working through a training session – by himself or with training partner Westy Guill, just a few miles away – at Your Box CrossFit in Casper, Wyoming. Malachi Bennett is fresh off his dominating performance at the Wyoming Open in Cheyenne. His fourth straight win in the pro division, he has beaten CrossFit Games athletes, regional athletes and this year, a GRID star who flew in from Florida to take a crack at his title. It’s gotten so repetitive, that there are some athletes out there who have accused the Open of being rigged for Malachi – despite the fact this year’s workouts, save the one rep max Olympic lifts, didn’t play to any of his strengths (Get in the gym and work on those pistols bro). He still went out and won all but one event on the weekend. He could have cracked a cold beer and watched the final event – and still won. Those accusations of rigging – and the reason Malachi won’t be putting his fitness to the test at the 307 Throwdown this year, are part of a soap opera-esque drama that started back in September of 2014 in Casper.
Malachi didn’t always train down the road at Your Box. He was once one of CrossFit 307’s star athletes. He began his domination of the Wyoming Open flying the 307 flag proudly. 307 is where he began his journey in CrossFit. The reasons for his departure? Depends on who you ask – and that’s part of the drama. Regardless of which side you listen to, what we do know is that in 2014, Malachi took a job at Moser Energy in Casper. A Moser executive, Jakob Norman, also owns Your Box CrossFit (at the time of Bennett's departure, The gym owned by Norman was Mountain Fit - Ascent CrossFit. Since that time, it has become Your Box CrossFit). After taking the job, Bennett continued coaching at 307 for a short time – but then became a coach at Mountain Fit.
Last year, Malachi and a team of 3 other athletes competed at the Throwdown. A teammate of Bennett’s tells us that in order to do this, they had to use fake names during the online registration. 307 owner Jeremy Davis tells us the team did use fake names to register, but that was a completely unnecessary step, saying at that time, Malachi was not barred from competing. Davis says once they realized fake names were used, they simply corrected the registration form and Mountain Fit's team was allowed to compete. Davis also said, the story behind the fallout between 307 and Bennett, is not as simple as it may appear.
"There are always two sides to a story. We can't grow this community by spreading negativity, so we don't."
Westy Guill, who left 307 around the same time as Malachi, and who also trains at Your Box, says the ban is simply not what CrossFit is all about. He told us today that he received an email from 307 coach and Throwdown organizer Jedekiah May, asking them if they planned to register a team. When Westy texted owner Jeremy Davis to see if the ban had indeed been lifted – he was informed that anyone at Your Box could register a team – except he and Malachi. They would not be allowed to compete.
May responded to us saying he did not email Guill and that if he received an email from him, it was forwarded to him from someone else. The email provided by Guill appears to be auto-generated email sent to members of the Wyoming CrossFit Facebook community. While showing May as the sender and Guill as the recipient - it was not a personal email to Guill.
May went to say that Guill has been banned from the CrossFit 307 premises for two years. He tells us Malachi was allowed to compete last year, but was banned from the 307 premises for events that transpired after the 2015 Throwdown.
Bennett refuses to get into any mud-slinging, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows him. He would not comment about any of the issues surrounding the Throwdown or his time at CrossFit 307, telling us, “I’m just trying to grind and workout.”
Teammate Westy Guill was a tad more vocal.
“I think it’s sad man. CrossFit is about community. He (Jeremy Davis) is purposely discriminating against me and Malachi, and for what? I am not quite sure because we are being treated as if we stole something or did something so wrong that it couldn’t be forgiven,” said Guill. “They won’t let us compete in the Throwdown because Mal and I are a threat. Nobody at their gym can hang with us bro.”
Those are strong words, and it makes fans of CrossFit in this state want to see those words get backed up or shoved back down someone’s throat. Unfortunately, it appears we wont get that chance anytime soon. Noticeably absent from this year’s men’s pro division at the Wyoming Open, were any athletes from CrossFit 307. Jonathan Varela, who finished sixth last year, was 35 points behind Bennett – did not compete this year. Luke Gaddis finished 14th last year, 9th the year before that, both in the pro division – he returned to the Wyoming Open this past weekend, but this year was nursing an injured shoulder that kept him out of the Affiliate Cup earlier in the year. He entered the open division, where he took first.
CrossFit fans in Wyoming want what all CrossFit fans want – to see the best athletes go head to head on the field of battle. For that to happen – egos have to be put aside, past differences need to be placed where they belong – in the past – and both sides need to foster the competitive spirit CrossFit is so great at bringing out of people. You don’t like someone? You don’t ban them from an event, or boycott another event – you go see how you stack up. You don’t talk, you do. We here at wild/STRONG would like to see CrossFit 307 drop this ban – and allow Westy Guill and Malachi Bennett to register a team for the Throwdown – and when they are out on the floor competing, cheer them on the same way you do me, or anyone else that is part of this amazing CrossFit community in the Rocky Mountains.
Yesterday at the Wyoming Open, I saw athletes from 307 cheering Malachi on as he won his 4th straight title. I stood next to Malachi as he cheered on men and women from 307, athletes he used to coach – the sense of community is still there. It may not exist at the higher levels – but to the athletes out there competing this weekend, we were all just a bunch of CrossFitters doing what we love to do – and supporting others who share our passion. We should be able to experience that October 8th in Casper at this year’s 307 Throwdown.