Do you know why it seems like the USA is so big, exciting and important? I can tell you why... Because it's so big, exciting and important! This was one spectacular show bringing in some of the greatest amateur athletes we have in the sport.
Over two days at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, 347 men and women bodybuilders and figure competitors gave their best to compete among the best and strive ahead for that Pro Card. As a Pro Qualifier, the USA bestows Pro status on the two top men overall, the top woman bodybuilder and the top figure competitor from each of the six height classes. Not everybody makes it to the Pro's.
Despite the huge number of competitors, this show went off like clockwork. The overwhelming experience that promoter Jon Lindsay has behind him in putting on competitions really shows. If anything of any consequence went wrong you would never have known it.
As a matter of fact, a few times I saw Jon sitting back and enjoying the show as much as anyone else. And can you imagine the complications of judging that many athletes and having a different judging panel for each class? You can complain about judging all you want but to do this big of a job calls for a lot of dedication from these judges.
Kicking off Friday night was an expo with some of your favorite companies in a really large lobby area at the Concert Hall. You could find Pinnacle, Cytodyne, Met-Rx, MuscleTech, Vyotech, Pure Protein, Optimum Nutrition, EFX, Gaspari Nutrition, ABB, Universal Nutrition, Iron-Tek and Muscle Milk among many.
Bodybuilding big names could be seen at their sponsors or just checking things out including Dexter Jackson, David Henry, Phil Heath and Quincy Taylor. And the top names in figure were also there including the number one winner from the recent Team Universe in New York, Jessica Paxson and the very famous Timea Majorova.
There was plenty to see and the manufacturers brought plenty of goodies for you to take home with you. And not to be out done was our own World Champion Bob Cicherillo who was joined in the Bodybuilding.com booth by Bodybuilding.com star, Fawnia Mondey-Dietrich.
View Pictures From Around The USA By SecondFocus Here.
Friday Night Competitions:
The Friday night competitions gave us the first rounds of judging for all of the men and the one piece figure for all six classes. And just so you know how hard everyone worked, this went from 5:30 in the afternoon until midnight. Some of the classes for both the men and women were just huge. Some of the men's classes were so big that they had to be subsequently cut back to the top 15 for the finals.
Saturday morning started at 9 AM with the women's bodybuilders and then figure two piece. Again it all went smoothly. But on to the big show, the finals...
Saturday night saw the the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall filling up quickly with some of the most enthusiastic people I have ever seen attend a show. And fill up it did with the vendors busy handing out freebies, photos being taken and lot's of exciting goings on.
The show opened with figure competitor Jen Thaler singing the national anthem. For her first time on stage this night, Jen was in a hot red long dress instead of her one or two piece. Our Emcee for the evening was Lonnie Teper, emcee legend of hundreds of shows.
Now Lonnie did tell me before the start of the show that he was a little concerned about moving the show along with so many competitors. But once he hit the stage, move it along he did without ever rushing or bumbling. He later told me it went better than he expected.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Emcee Lonnie Teper.
The photos and the results of the show speak for themselves but there were, as there always are, some real highlights. The first are some general observations; the women bodybuilders had some outstanding routines and a few of them had great physiques without being over the top.
The women figure competitors were the best looking group I have seen all year. This show did draw some beautiful women. And then on to the guys. The contest in the lighter weight classes was really tough, a lot of guys with great bodies and great conditioning. But the battle in this USA was going to be in the big guys and we all knew this going in.
The names being thrown around for the top were Leo Ingram and Omar Deckard. The potential who were perceived to also have a shot at the top were Jerome "Hollywood" Ferguson, Robert Hatch, Lionel Brown and Mike Ergas. Now Mike Ergas did a fabulous posing routine that brought the house down. He beat out Lionel Brown in the heavyweights which for some was a big surprise.
As a matter of fact from the look on his face it may have surprised Mike too. Jerome also turned in a posing routine that was full of enthusiasm and was plain fun. But if you know Jerome, that is Jerome and that is what you expect, he is a good guy. However, the talk through the whole show was Leo and Omar, Leo and Omar, Leo and Omar.
Everyone had an opinion and a favorite. And I will tell you a little behind the scenes; you see Flex Wheeler and Dexter Jackson each had a favorite too. As a matter of fact a little wager was made and a little cash changed hands, but I won't tell you who picked who. In the end it was Omar and you can only say it was deserved. The guy clearly gave his all and at the end it was everything he could do but to hang around and enjoy the moment.
This has been some busy month for competitions all across the country. I have been at five in July to bring them to you for Bodybuilding.com and I have enjoyed every one of them. But I am going to make a suggestion to you; get out and see one in person, the very next one you can. Check the contest schedules here on Bodybuilding.com and go out to your local and regional competitions.
You will have a lot of fun, you might learn some things, you might get inspired and you will certainly see a lot. The next one you might want to watch for is August 19th in Anaheim CA. It is an NPC bodybuilding and figure competition and qualifier for Team Universe.
This is another Jon Lindsay show so we know it will be a good one. We like you checking out the shows here on Bodybuilding.com but come on out and support the sport. And whether you can go to the next show or not, keep coming back here for the best in show coverage. Thanks! And see you at the next one.
View Full Results From The Show Here.