Written by John Puskarich ~ co-promoter of the charm city classic
Show also promoted by Blythe Alberg
Baltimore Maryland served host to the 2006 OCB Charm City Classic. Now in its 4th year, the show has graduated to one of the biggest shows in the fast expanding OCB .Making the CCC a Pro Qualifier this year served only more to bring quality physiques to the stage.
Fitness Model Division:
New to the OCB and the CCC was the "Fitness Model" division. This category was introduced so fit females everywhere who may not want to "pose" as much as in figure or ladies Bodybuilding categories require, but to emphasize a healthy, toned, marketable face and physique. The new class did not disappoint as there were 13 stunning women going head to head for this new title.
When all the modeling walks and quarter turns were done, 5 athletes separated themselves from the rest. Taking the 5th spot was Cheryl Keppler. She had a very nice tight physique that got her onto the podium. Fourth place went to Becky Mohr. This first time competitor has a world of potential as she came unprepared for the bright stage lights as she was white as a ghost, yet even with this flaw, the judges could not deny her beauty and quality physique.
She's my pick for the one to watch in the future. Third place went to Tiffany Moore. This polished presenter always looks great on stage and she presents her assets to the best degree as well as anyone. 2nd place went to Heather Malone. Competing in her first show, this athlete had stage presence second to none. Combine that with a flowing elegant body, the commandment of her stage walk and its no wonder she did so well her first time out.
1st place went to Monica Maines. All this young lady has to do is smile. Monica had a smile that lit up the audience and her "aura" on stage would NOT be denied this evening. Combine that with attention to detail, a beautiful Model physique and it no wonder Ms. Maines won the 2006 CCC Model division. I call this category a success and will be featured next year for the CCC.
Master over 50 category saw veterans Neal Grossman, Melvin Ware and Harrison Parker vying for the 2006 title. Harrison Parker carries plenty of muscle on his frame and I feel with attention to coming in a bit leaner, could wreak havoc in this class. Coming in 2nd place went to Melvin "the house rocker" Ware. This masterâ€™s competitor is truly a Joy to have competing in your show. He brings on stage a routine that never fails to delight the young and old. He carries himself with class and presented a physique that looked awesome. Only 1 person stood in Melvinâ€™s way.
1st place went to Doctor Neal Grossman. This gentleman is closing in on 60 years of age and having defeated prostate cancer just earlier this summer, just being on stage was a miracle. For Neal though Just being anywhere is never enough. Since his surgery Neal has won both events he has entered (OCB DC) and already has sights on being in his personal best ever for 2007. He is highly respected in the Natural Bodybuilding circle and he is an inspiration to many.
Menâ€™s master 40+ category found the ever improving Dr. Bruce Glenny getting better with each outing showed a strong performance and earning a 3rd place finish. When Mr. Glenny adds a bit of mass with his excellent conditioning, he will continue to make an impact in this class. Taking silver honors go to Jeffrey Jefferson. A true classy competitor who is the epitome of a performer.
Always a crowd favorite Jeffrey can always be counted on to rock the house. The day belonged to a hard as nails Alan Harshaw. Alan was all about business from early on. He didnâ€™t disappoint. He was in great condition with great muscle mass. With some stage polish added to his incredible physique, the younger bodybuilders out there better not take him for granted.
Only 2 young men competed in the junior category. Though small in number, these two juniors looked great. They both have a promising future. Chris Taber had some good muscle mass and looked very comfortable on stage but had to settle for 2nd place this evening. First place went to Michael Lehr. Michael presented a very lean balanced physique and looked very comfortable on stage as well and it was evident he had worked on his mandatory presentation as he really shined in prejudging.
Figure Novice short class boasted some amazing new talent to the stage. Ten ladies battled on stage to be crowned the best novice figure competitor. When all the scores were added up, a hard fought battle between the wide shouldered/excellent 'V' taper Veronica Davis just got edged out for 3rd by the bubbly and effervescent Eva Williams. Eva represents what we all imagine a FIT mom to look like.
A classic beauty with a lot of stage presence, she had many reasons to smile on stage as she fought her way to 3rd place and you best bet Veronica Davis made her work for that placement. They will battle again I hear. Second place went to Lisa Cooper. This striking blonde newcomer to the sport has tons of potential and when she has more time under her belt to hone her feminine physique, she will be taking home the GOLD.
The person taking home the Gold was a first-timer crossing over from Fitness Model Heather Malone. This very soft spoken individual softly and gracefully moves through everyday life, BUT put her on stage and her aura screams "look at me". Her presence is undeniable and she convincingly wins first place in this division.
Nine ladies lined up on stage for the figure novice (tall class). Once again many first time competitors took the stage and unless they told you they had never been on a bodybuilding stage, these ladies presented like veterans. When the totals were tallied making the top 3 in this class was an achievement. In her first competition Lori Jones gracefully walked into third place. With a stage presentation of a veteran and very feminine lines, Lori happily accepted the Bronze statue in this very tough class. Taking second was her training partner Jill Sober.
Another first time competitor who owned the stage, especially from the rear where her wide V-taper outclassed everybody, Jillâ€™s confidence grew the longer she stayed on stage. It was obvious many hours of practice came from these 2 team mates. Taking the spotlight this evening due to a very symmetrical and balanced physique was Cheryl Keppler. Her choice of skin coloring and suit cut helped enhance a quality physique and add a confident stage presentation; she would not be denied her victory.
In the Novice figure overall posedown, we had Heather Malone going against tall winner Cheryl Keppler. Though both were worthy Champions, Ms Malones statuesque physique topped offf with amazing stage grace was too much for Ms Keppler. Leaving the stage in her first show was Heather Malone winning the Novice Overall.
Womenâ€™s Master Bodybuilding:
Next up was Womenâ€™s master bodybuilding. Three beautiful women came on stage for battle in this over 40 class. Must add that NONE of them looked like they belonged in that class as they looked way younger than 40. Taking 3rd place was Paula Commodore. Paula sports a nice balanced physique and looks to really enjoy being on stage. Taking 2nd place was Paula Franklin. One of the best female posers in the OCB, Paulaâ€™s beautiful lines and polished presentation always makes her a threat to win any show she enters. However this night went the way of Lisa Mckeogh.
A previous figure competitor trying out the waters of bodybuilding, it proved to be a smart move. Her love for the sport is obvious in any conversation with Lisa but on the stage it was her body doing all the talking. With her confident manner and conviction of each pose she presented, she earned in her debut a solid first place finish.
Master 35+ Figure Division:
Next up was the master 35+ Figure division. These masters competitors ALL looked like they really enjoyed being on stage. If working out is not the fountain of youth, I donâ€™t know what is. For example taking 3rd place with a V-taper that would make any male bodybuilder envious was Neisha Bridges. With a radiant smile and great stage comfort, Neisha is definitely someone to look out for. If she adds a little more muscle mass to balance out her physique, she will be a serious contender for a title.
Next up taking second place was Eva Williams. This mother and wife gets better and better with each competition and her first place trophy is just waiting for her soon. Today though the first place was handed to Tiffany Moore. Crossing over from Fitness Model where she did very well, this competitor is just beginning her fitness career and already making a big name for herself. Her stage presentation and confident posing secured Tiff this class.
Novice Women Bodybuilders:
Next on stage came the Novice women bodybuilders. Six confident ladies took the stage for the right to be novice Champion. One of just two crossovers from Figure to Bodybuilding, Lisa cooper nailed third place in a very tough novice division. Lisa attention to detail and commitment to mastering her poses rewarded her with an evening with trophies in the figure and bodybuilding classes. Not too bad for this new athlete, taking home the runner up spot was Marcia-Thorpe Johnson.
Sporting probably the most ripped body in the whole show, I have a feeling that we will be seeing much more from this awesome athlete. I also nominate her as a "one to watch" Her time will come. Whose time to come this evening was the very popular OCB athlete and Team Metabolix sponsored athlete Tina Peratino. Tina is another gal who has tried her hand, or should I say her bicep in the bodybuilding arena.
Blessed with very short and compact muscle bellies and adds a very polished presentation in the mandatoryâ€™s at prejudging, and not to mention one of the BEST evening routines of the show, this proved to be a recipe for success.
Men's Novice Divisions:
Next up menâ€™s novice A division. With the OCB growing rapidly over the last 3 years, it is no wonder that new faces are popping up on stage in the Mid Atlantic region, the home of the OCB. Taking 3rd went to a class act gentleman with a great attitude towards bodybuilding and more importantly life. Lee was a pleasure to have at the OCB CCC this year and considering he competed in the over 40 category it is safe to say the young man who came in second was at least ten to fifteen years his junior.
That young man who was also competing in his first show was Kennard Perry. Yet just another first timer with tremendous potential, Kennard vowed to come back even better nest time and if his first stage presentation is an example of whatâ€™s to come, he will be a force. Taking home the gold was Ron Corrao: one of the leanest and hardest men in the show. Just new to Bodybuilding competitions himself he has already proven to be very consistent with his contest prep and with a bit more muscle, Ron will be a force in the lighter weights of the open class.
Menâ€™s Novice B or tall class found some stiff competition as well. Taking home the bronze trophy was Ryan Miscavige. A lean and tight physique was all he needed to take home a trophy this evening. He has excellent stage "energy" and with more time to hone his physique, he easily will take this class. Taking second place was in my opinion one of the most symmetrical men in the show. Doron Haughton is a bodybuilder with a future.
He has it all. When he dials it in, and I know he will, he is a PRO card worthy physique waiting to happen. The star tonight though was Ron Carrao. With handsome good looks and a engaging smile with a phenomenal physique, Ron was not to be denied. It will be interesting to see how he does in open competition as he has all the tools to do well. Time will tell.
In the Novice Overall we see Ron Corrao going against Ron Gorman. Both men came in condition, both men ready to battle for the overall. When the dust settled Ron Corrao with his stage confidence and muscle maturity pulled off the Overall title.
Womenâ€™s Open Bodybuilding:
Next up womenâ€™s Open Bodybuilding. On the line was an OCB Pro Card. With double the competitors in the novice class, only three women ventured into the open for a Pro card. Though short in numbers, a battled ensued for the top spot. First time competitor Patti Gilbert gave all she had and considering her opposition, she fought valiantly for her third place trophy. Taking second place was master competitor Paula Franklin.
This polished athlete always gives 100% and today was no different. Paula is a champion athlete and person and always a pleasure to have in our show. Taking top honors and an OCB Pro Card was Novice Champion and first time bodybuilding competitor Tina Peratino. Her strengths and attributes that helped her win the Novice title were once again the winning combination to earn her OCB Pro Card. As a side note, Tinaâ€™s first show ever (last year) found her winning the novice overall title for figure in the 2005 Charm City Classic.
Pro Cards Received:
Two more Pro cards were to be issued this evening. Second of the three would be the Figure overall winner. Boasting three packed classes, finding the best of the best, the judges would have their work cut out for them. First up Figure Open Short Class. The top three in this class were athletes who found success crossing over from other divisions.
Taking third and second respectively we find bodybuilding crossovers Lisa Cooper and Lisa McKeogh hitting an exacta by finding the podium in this very tough class. Taking top honor finds the novice overall figure champion Heather Malone sweeping the class. She was an early odds on favorite for a run at the OCB Pro Card.
Figure Open Divisions:
Figure Open Medium saw another stacked class and making top three was no small feat. The common denominator in the top three of this class was attention to detail, polished presentation and model good looks. Taking third was Diana Covell. She sported a very feminine physique with a well thought out stage presentation.
Taking the silver we find Laura Fontana this young beauty has an excellent future in physique competition and I feel that this runner up placing will spur her to become even better. Taking top spot was iron woman Eva Williams. Competing in no less than three classes, Eva represents hard work, commitment and seeing the job through. For this she walked away with top honors and an opportunity for obtaining the elusive OCB Pro Figure Card.
Figure Open Tall Class we find master crossover Neisha Bridges with her excellent 'V' taper taking over third place on genetic structure alone. As noted above, Neisha has the potential to win this class in the future.
Second place finds fitness model champion Monica Maines smiling her way to a second place finish. Monicaâ€™s stage presence is second to none and only one athlete kept her from two First place trophies. Taking top honors, figure Novice Tall Champion, Cheryl Keppler dialed it in perfectly to find herself number one in the figure tall open class.
Overall Figure Posedown:
In the overall posedown, we have figure novice Overall champion Heather Malone representing the short class, Eva Williams for the Medium class and Cheryl Keppler representing the tall class. After being put through the paces, the grace, polish and poise of first time competitor and ballet dancer Heather Malone proved to be a package that was unbeatable and for her efforts and OCB Pro Card. We are excited to see what the future holds for Heather Malone, considering this was her first show ever.
The final Pro Card given out this evening was to be given to the Menâ€™s Overall Champion. Four jam packed classes made for an exciting pre judging that kept the judges working non stop.
Men's Open Bodybuilding:
Open class A didn't take long for the audience to preview of what was to come. Over 50 champion, ageless wonder, Neal Grossman scratched and clawed to a hard earned third place victory. That left natural bodybuilding stand outs Larry Ray Jr. and Jason Williams going blow for blow to win this class. Metabolix Nutrition sponsored athlete Larry Ray Jr. in his first year of competition had a record of 58-0 and looked to be one of the favorites to win this show.
One physique that came out of nowhere (actually Blacksburg, Virginia) is 24 year old natural sensation Jason Williams. Larry and Jason went pose for pose and on this evening, the judges awarded J Wills phenomenal condition over the genetically blessed Larry Ray Jr.
Open Class B we find Eric Woodton earning third place with solid posing and confident stage presence. Taking silver we find Mike Lehr (junior champion) holding his own against older athletes and in time we feel Mike will be a force in the open class as well. A solid first place finish goes to Frank Barnes. His command of the mandatoryâ€™s and his strong belief in himself was awarded with an open class victory.
Open Class C unfolded another classic battle. Cracking top three in this class was a reward unto itself. Coming in third position, we have novice Overall champion Ron Corrao giving his all to secure this position. Taking the close runner up position was Brandon Rothschild. His strengths included mature muscle mass, confident and solid posing and probably the thickest physique in the show.
Taking top honors by one point was Scott Ludwig. Scotts strengths include great symmetry and balance and his ability to own his space on the stage. His conditioning was one of the best in the show.
Final class open class D found the biggest bodybuilders on the stage this evening. What was unusual about these men is how large, symmetrical and cut they were. Usually men in the heavyweight division tend to come in softer. However, these athletes did their homework and were rewarded with a top three finish. Taking third place with model good looks and a very muscular physique was Ben Royer. Once Ben nails his conditioning he will easily win an overall.
He's that good. Taking second place was Novice crossover Doron Haughton. Doron used his spectacular symmetry and structure to secure his position. Similar in structure to Doron we find champion Saiid Kamara. Saiid decided to enter the show minutes before going onstage which proved dismal for the Open D Class. Saiid sports massive arms and 'V' taper and an energy on stage that is rarely seen.
Men's Overall Posedown:
In the overall posedown for the Pro Card we found Jason Williams, Frank Barnes, Scott Ludwig and Saiid Kamara. Each class representative was a worthy champion and possessed a quality on stage that the other athletes did not. After a grueling evening judging through mandatoryâ€™s lightweight Jason Williams did the highly unusual by winning the Overall over qualified, heavier athletes.
J Will presented on stage a new era of conditioning that is making the natural bodybuilding community take notice. His Pro Card victory was not necessarily based on superior genetics, but more so on focus, determination and doing the most with what was God given. In his victory we feel he represents all that we at the Charm City Classic would like others to aspire to. That being, it is not necessarily the outcome we seek but the journey itself is the reward.
Special Thanks To Our Sponsors: