Photos & Review By Mark Mason
The 2007 Washington State Championships was not a big show. Not in competitor numbers anyway. But the show brought out some of largest competitors from all parts of the Evergreen State and beyond.
The Auburn Center for the Performing Arts is not a huge hall. But the smaller size was perfect for the jam-packed house to see the intensity on each competitor’s face that would have been lost in a bigger house.Spokane’s Mell “Swat Dog” Taylor came all the way from the Lilac City to compete in the masters 40 and the open heavyweight division. If the multi-titled Taylor was expecting easy victories he was forced to swallow the bitter pill of truth by evening’s end.
It was Daniel Rutherford’s beach bum good looks and symmetrical physique that got him the nod over Taylor in the masters. Rutherford went on to defeat over fifty winner Gary Vogler and over sixty winner Walt Radke for the masters overall. When Rutherford comes in shape (and there are very few times I have not seen him so) he can beat men half his age.
Taylor took the masters defeat in stride. His eyes were on the overall men’s open sword. If you have never seen Tramell Taylor he sports one of the best sets of arms ever to come out of the Northwest. His whole upper body is sensational. So good, in fact, that it can sometimes over shadow his leg development.
Men's Open Middleweight Division:
Taylor had a few more obstacles to overcome. One being, middleweight madman Maxxx Carlisle! Carlisle has been biding his time the past year, patiently refining his physique. Triple X came in on the mark Saturday night and cooled former junior champ and up-and-coming middleweight Naim Adul-Qadil down a bit. Taking third was 2007 Vancouver Natural novice champ, Henry Jones. The entire middleweight class was solid competition.
Men's Open Light Heavyweight Division:
There was a serious battle going on in the light heavyweight class. Junior National winner, Jason Ciarabelli stopped by on his way to the USAs. He looked great just a week out. The new kid in town, Eli Walsh, came to Auburn in phenomenal shape and on any other night could have taken the light heavy title. Walsh has a well-balanced physique and some incredible peaks on his biceps. It was Ciarabelli’s muscle maturity that gave him a solid victory over Walsh and third place Alan Jacobs.
Men's Open Heavyweight Division:
All eyes were on the heavyweights. Mell Taylor gave a good neo-classical posing routine. Eric Hammond also gave an inspiring routine and was well received. The surprise of the evening was Matt Porter. After a couple of false starts his posing routine kicked into high gear and his youthful exuberance pushed the auditorium towards the redline.
MC Jeremy Williams called for the posedown. Taylor and Porter went head to head and pose for pose. For everyone one of Taylor’s poses Porter nailed three. It was the poise of Taylor against the arrogance of Porter. Both of the battle weary heavyweights ignored MC Williams’ command to return to center stage. Was it the noise of the crowd or that neither Taylor nor Porter was going to be the first to walk away? It took a severe scolding from Williams to get order restored.
The order was short lived as all of Matt Porter’s family and friends erupted in delight as the bad boy from Gresham was given the number one sword over Taylor. I dare say we haven’t seen the last of the Taylor/Porter match up.
The Battle For Overall:
As the open men lined up for the overall all eyes were on Ciarabelli. As pleasing as Carlisle’s physique looked and as rugged as Porter’s looked Ciarabelli’s shape and muscle maturity stood out once again. Jason was overwhelmingly awarded the Washington State open men overall.
Women's Figure Division:
In the women’s figure division it was a well balenced Kristen Reaves that took the overall award. Kristen held the middle ground between the tall class and master’s winner Ursula Cristofaro and the short class winner Laurie Joslin. The medium class winner, Robin Nordmeyer presented herself very well and could be a person to watch in the near future.
The solo fitness competitor, Kristina Lum, didn’t let the lack of competition keep her from really bringing it to Auburn. She hit the stage first up and started the show off with her high-energy routine. I believe that if Lum continues to refine her physique and perfect her stage routine she just could be the next “big thing” out of the Pacific Northwest.
A few more high points to mention was Josh Vogler’s overall novice victory. Lightweight Vogler took on a very well conditioned heavyweight, Brian Cullen. Both had unique physiques in their own right. The judges went for Vogler and I believe it was from his performance in the posedown.
Glenda McGowen Sheppard posed her way to victory in the master’s division over Pamela Chichester and Nedra Mcaskill. Honorable mention must be given to a great over fifty competitor, Suzanne Luce.
The lone open women heavyweight Audra Wraspir beat a well-muscled lightweight, Michele Unson for overall.
Another solo act not to be ignored was the mixed pair team of Maxxx Carlisle and Sara McKay. Both physiques complemented each other and they had their routine timed down to the subtle eye movements of McKay and the twitching of Carlisle ears. Now that’s a team.
Guest performers for the evening were USA bound Ryan Imamura and the newest hip-hop queen Erin Williams.
Strong man Jesse Marunde and his band of marauders showed up and preceded to turn the parking lot into an area of strength lifting ungodly amounts of weight in the form of stones, tires and logs. The Marunde exhibition made for a great contrast to the bodybuilding Saturday afternoon.
All in all it was another great show from the team of Tonia and Jeremy Williams. If I know Jeremy, and I do, he is already hard at work planning something new and improved for the 2008 version of the Washington State.
2006 Washington State. Go here.