These are people who save their vacation time and money to come to Columbus, Ohio year after year for the most popular, dynamic weekend event of it's kind.
Day one of full hair, make up, high heels, kick ass
Laura Mak hot orange pants and midriff halter outfit complete with a coat of Olympic Sun Body Bronzer and a smile!
I set out along my way to the Bodybuilding.com booth where I would be representing one of the most up to date top Bodybuilding, health and Fitness information/store online warehouse websites where I would be for the majority of my time during all three expo days.
I was also asked to booth hop back and fourth to the Bob O'Leary Boss Sports Science booth to sign autographs for the 2005 Jan/March Issue of Body Talk Magazine for fans that I had the honor to be the cover model for.
I love the Arnold uber weekend and I try to cram as much into it as I can every year. This will be my fourth Arnold Classic appearance with each one filled with wild, blurred memories of fun and more fun piled on top of even more fun. Way too much fun yes, but worth the experience if you love the energy like I do.
When faced with such a demanding three day schedule that starts early for the trade show, IFBB Pro contests at night starting with ladies night Ms. International contests on Friday for the women Bodybuilders, Fitness and Figure and on the IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Mr. International held on Saturday night followed by parties with some sort of dinner thrown in somewhere, I usually have meetings set up and for two years I have had photo shoots for IDS crammed in as well.
As you may imagine, this might take some type of pacing.
I walked out of my suite at the host hotel; the Hyatt where I was rooming with girlfriend and official web host for the weekends' festivities for Lori Brauns' leading female hardbody hottie web playground, Lauren Powers. For those of you who know Lauren you know that wherever the action is you'll find Ms. Powers smack dab in the middle. If you have to ask if Lauren is in the room, she ain't. Get it?
I made my way through the connecting hallways to the convention center. I bumped into girlfriend, MRM spokes model, hot mag cover model, and IFBB fitness pro Laurie Vanniman. Many times throughout the year I get to see my friends on the road at the most exciting events where we are booked to work together. Laurie and I wound our way through the already crowded long lines of fans waiting for the expo doors to open at 11:00.
Looking out of the windows at the parking lots and driveways I was amazed to see non-stop busloads of fans arriving and unloading just behind us. Yep, here they come I thought. The next thought I had was... I don't think I brought enough 8 X 10's for all of these people! Laurie and I made small talk as we walked down stairs and escalators to the underground convention center where everything lay in wait.
My rolling suitcase was super heavy and I had to just bump and crash down the long staircases creating quite a ruckus for Laurie and I. (sorry Laurie!) It was unintentional but effective.
| Did You Know?
The Greater Columbus Convention Center is over 1/2 mile long! This is where the 2005 Arnold Classic was held.
If you have ever seen Laurie in person all decked out you'll know what I mean! She is a head turner without the loud, bumpy suitcase. We were both done up in full fitness model style with all the stops pulled, with full glam hair and makeup ready for the most prestigious bodybuilding and fitness expo in the world.
Before we could be admitted inside, we would have to stand in line for our exhibitor badges. The badge patrol at all of the entrances and exits is run way super serious here at the Arnold Classic.
No free passes are handed out here (Editor's Note: Tickets were $ 10.00 a day and your got a wrist band for each day - on Sunday they gave out pink wrist bands. I love wearing pink wristbands (notice the sarcasim)) and if you loose your badge, you pay a hefty $50.00 fine for a replacement.
Once inside the expo, as far as the eye can see were all of the various trade show booths for every big company on the map and also anyone who wants to be on the map with expo stages complete with grand stands for viewing the exhibition sports, contests, demonstrations and non stop entertainment. The atmosphere was electric with a touch of a "calm before the storm" feeling in the air mingled with a super sized, super psyched up energy.
| Did You Know?
At the 2005 Arnold Classic there was over 600 booth and over 100 events going on all weekend!
The whirlwind three days for fitness enthusiasts, stars, complete with crazed fans, not so crazed fans, the motivated and the motivating, the professionals and the beginners, information overload, information starved, the land of free promotional samples and hand outs, land of free anything hand outs topped off with advice from the top health, bodybuilding, fitness stars available in person for you to snap a picture with or get a personally signed autograph for motivation and a memento.
Bodybuilding.com Forum Member 'uhockey' Received ALL Of This For FREE @ The Arnold Expo This Year.
Appearing with me at the Bodybuilding.com booth were Ms. Fitness Olympia, IFBB pro and top figure competitor placing runner up of the weekend for the IFBB Ms. Figure International 2005; the beautiful Monica Brant, Monica always has a line of loyal fans who adore her now as they always have. She is warm, gracious and a polished role model for any aspiring competitor.
Completely adorable and popular international cover model Christina Lindley signed her super sexy 8 X 10's for her many fans along with a Boss 2005 Calendar available for motivation with Christina sizzling up the cover.
Our Marilyn Monroe of bodybuilding, Valentina Chepiga born in the Ukraine now residing in the US, IFBB pro and Ms. 2000 Olympia was connecting with her fans non-stop. Valentina loves her sport and it shows by the way she puts her fans first.
Chris Slatt, Brenda Kelly, Bob Cicherillo, Christina Lindley, Valentina Chepiga, Louis Dorman & Monica Brant.
IFBB pro fitness athlete, president of Mak Attack fitness apparel and new supplement line dynamo; Laura Mak had all the bells and whistles available for her clients from her popular Mak Attack apparel for sale to the chance to become your own travel agent with free upgrades with GTTrends.com. Go Laura! This lady is a one-woman trailblazer.
Left: Laura Mak With Idrise Ward-El @ The Bodybuilding.com Booth.
Right: Laura Holding Her Mak Attack All Star Protein.
Star of the Bodybuilding.com "Sharp Dressed Man" promo (Produced by: Brenda Kelly productions) playing for the weekend, IFBB pro athlete Bob Cicherillo was there bigger and harder than ever (Bob got 9th place at the 2005 San Francisco).
Bob loves talking to his fans and he was signing non-stop autographs courtesy of Bodybuilding.com. Bob has 25 years of training and competition experience and handed out personal advice hour after hour, day after day tirelessly.
New Bodybuilding.com sensation 'Pud To Stud' transformation star Louis Dorman was there spreading the word to each fan one by one. Louis is sold on exercise and has successfully changed his lifestyle to alter his eating habits to go from 260 to 150 pounds! View his FHM ad here.
Read Louis' amazing story online (see article ad below). Louis was enthusiastic and energetic to the very last fan.
IFBB pros Idrise Ward-El and Cathy Priest also stopped by to sign autographs and hang out. Special guest figure sensation Mindi O'Brien was also there to sign for her fans and just party with us. Everyone wants to come by the Bodybuilding.com booth to join in the inspirational party atmosphere.
We all had a blast from beginning to end. CEO, Ryan Deluca and head honcho daddy Russ Deluca both worked hard to bring the fans information, free samples and the popular complimentary Bodybuilding.com Arnold Expo 2005 t-shirt promos.
Saturday day is the "busy" day and boy was it ever! The expo was so packed, if you wanted to move forward or backwards for that matter you just had to wait until the whole aisle inched along in hopefully your direction. It was crazy. I actually went down a couple of aisles and had to turn back! I was never going to get through in any timely way.
I saw Arnold while I was signing covers in the Boss booth with top ranked competitor and cover model for Bill Dobbins' beautiful coffee table book "Modern Amazons" Tatiana Butler and hot Double XL Cover Model, Barbara Kamali. Arnold made his progressional march through the expo floor to shake hands and kiss babies or fitness models (which would you kiss?).
Arnold has a wall of security and people following behind him holding up signs as he walks. Arnold is definitely larger than life and when you are in his presence, you feel his charisma immediately. It was clear to see that Arnold in all of his glory was the true King of ceremonies.
He knows the show is a success largely due to his involvement and he makes sure he shows his appreciation for everyone by making a public appearance each year. This year was no different even though Arnold has the added distinction of working as my Governor!
Lauren Powers came by the Bodybuilding.com booth and interviewed Valentina and I. We talked about the movie we are all in. I am one of the producers and Lauren and I are the casting directors as well... Valentina is one of the stars and filming will begin late summer and go through September.
Valentina and I had dinner together and talked and talked Hollywood, bodybuilding, men and shopping in no particular order.
Sunday, day three of the expo came and went in a mini déª vu style until the clock on the wall called it quits at 4:00. Packing up, saying good-bye with hugs, kisses, promises to e-mail and visit friends I walked to my suite to decompress.
Just out of the center, I ran into IFBB Pros Kris Dim, Richard Jones and Richards' Dad who was just as charming as his son. We laughed and joked about abs. We had a little contest and believe it or not, I won the ab contest that afternoon!
I took a nap and had late drinks with John Romano of Muscular Development to hook up some Hollywood deals you'll hear about soon.
I packed and waited for the shuttle early the next morning. Who was in the shuttle to the airport? Laurie Vanniman! It was so fitting. We arrived together and we drove away together. Life does those funny things every so often. Laurie and I shared experiences and I offered her a part in a movie I am casting for. She is perfect for the role of course!
Watch for more of Laurie in Hollywood (Sign up for updates to Brenda Kelly's pages here). My favorite thing to do is work with my friends. I love involving everyone in a good project.
Just like during the Arnold weekend, we all receive energy from each other. The energy of positive motivation feeds our souls in the same ways as the right foods and supplements feed our bodies. I love the win win recharge I get from my friends and fans completing the circle with me and back around again.
See you next year at the 2006 Arnold Classic! Take care of yourself. It's worth it.