I've been wrestling with this idea for awhile. Being an athlete of other sports, powerlifting has helped tremendously to my performance (especially using DeFranco's modified Westside template). However, it also led to a love of PL itself. Last year, I competed for the first time and set eight state records with USAPL raw. My training age at the time was under a year (not that the records were very high).
My training age right now is about a year and a half exactly, which I know means that there's still a lot to grow from here. All the same, I'm pretty certain I'll qualify for nationals in 2011 and am hoping for a 400lb squat by the end of the year (at a bodyweight of 148).
I feel like some time in the next six months, I'll start stalling out. I was wondering if it's better to start training equipped early on and maybe do an equipped meet some time after the new year.. or if I should stick to purely raw for a while longer.