I flew out of LAX... (a one hour flight to Vegas) and roomed with one of my best friends, Valentina Chepiga - Ms. Olympia 2000. Val and I are from the same hometown Seattle area in Washington State.
After I moved to LA we have been in close touch working with Bodybuilding.com, her website and during photo shoots and movies. She stays with me when she visits LA. We have been in 2 movies together so far!
We stayed at the Orleans the host hotel and found it a nice atmosphere after some confusion of checking in at the front desk. Don't you hate that? After traveling, all I wanted to do was get to my room and set up. We were stuck for far too much time going through paperwork, involving managers before it was ironed out.
Later, when my boss Russ came in, he showed me everything all printed out. Simple. Why they could not locate these same records at the front desk was beyond me and since I had no way of knowing when he would be in, I had to battle. Yuck.
While staying at the Orleans, I ran into many of my friends the whole time since the event theatre was there and both Friday and Saturday night the Olympia finals were held there.
The Expo was held in the new convention center next to the Hilton. Sometimes I don't see my friends unless we all travel out of town to the same event. It is a running joke with us since a lot of us live in California but the traffic is so bad, it is hard to plan a spontaneous get together.
The Expo was a blast at the Bodybuilding.com Media Webcast theme booth (courtesy of Bodybuilding.com) - and it was free. We had a split booth with the live Webcast on one side Friday and Saturday... all day... both expo days.
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The excitement it created was obvious as the interested fans, promoters, venders, athletes, models, magazines and other media were drawn to watch the new and up to date technology they could witness right on the spot. Live!
All you had to do was log on and watch if you couldn't be there in body. I told tons of people to watch and they were always interested to get a live peek.
Cameras and monitors were out for all to get a glimpse of a behind the scenes production provided by the Chapman Media Group. The show opened with a greeting from Bodybuilding.com CEO & Boss Man Ryan DeLuca, Russ DeLuca, Athletes Representative Bob Cicherillo and gorgeous Christina Lindley. From there the show interviews went nonstop with a who's who of the Olympic event and the bodybuilding world.
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I had my own show on Saturday; Brenda Kelly's Hot Hollywood Tips. I had a blast! For the first few minutes I was proud to interview the new 2005 Fitness Olympia champ, Jen Hendershott on her win from the night before along with Bob Cicherillo. Jen and I have known each other since the 1998 NPC Nationals when we were both climbing the ranks.
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Even then Jen's routines rocked audiences. Her ability level and polish kept improving and her scores have reflected this, thus rocketing her to the most coveted title in our sport. Jen has always been a class act, helping others become better at their routines even though she was competing alongside with them.
This is the sign of a true champion in my eyes. When we talked before the interview, Jen was so emotional, she cried on me twice! I was right there along with her. She told me she hadn't slept yet that night. Who could? She was still riding on the high and wanted to stay in the moment for as long as possible.
Thank you Jen for all of your hard work and representing with such style. You deserve this. Congratulations! I am proud to be your friend.
After the interview with Jen I started on some Hot Hollywood Tips; to stay motivated to look and feel at the top of your game. I gave tanning and beauty tips along with some nutrition advice. Joining in with Jen and me was a very good friend of ours, Ms. Lauren Powers.
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Lauren was working as a web DJ. She was hosting the interviews for a women's web site at the Olympia Expo. We thought it would be fun... her getting filmed for the web while we were filmed live for the web that would go up later on the web... are you lost?
Female diversity was the name of the game with us three in front of the camera. Jen (5' 1") in top Ms. Fitness Olympia shape, Lauren a 5' 10" female bodybuilder and me, a 5' 2" fitness model and host. This is what you will see in the Olympia Expo venue, something for everyone and all shapes and sizes of fitness.
The other side of the Bodybuilding.com Media booth was a party of stars and promo samples including the ever-popular Olympia show t-shirts that Bodybuilding.com is famous for.
Added to this was the star power of IFBB Pro Idrise Ward-El, Ms. Olympia Valentina Chepiga, Fitness Cover Model and Martial Arts Camp promoter Julien Greaux, Ms. Fitness Olympia and 2005 Fitness Olympia second runner-up Monica Brant, Super Model Christina Lindley, Athletes Rep. and Bodybuilding.com athlete spokesperson IFBB Pro Bob Cicherillo and myself. Whew!
From all of us to all of you (the fans), thank you. You are the reason we are there. Well, Monica DID have a contest to do as well as a super fun Honeymoon couples web show to host along with husband, Scott. We were all busy the entire time. Not a lull in sight and just how we like it.
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Our girls wore outfits from Mak Attack Fitness Apparel on Friday and Otomix gym skirts and warm-ups on Saturday. I decorated most of the outfits myself before we got to Vegas and finished them the night before on Thursday until 3 A.M. with the help of Val and my good friend, Carmen Garcia with Australian crystals to bump up the sparkle factor for the year's most prestigious Bodybuilding event. We were all set to shine the light for Bodybuilding.com. with style.
After hours Val and I hung out with our favorite promoter from Alaska, Derek Snelson who is also a race car driver and his head judge, Timothy. Joining us often were IFBB Pro, Nasser El Sonbaty, Bob Bonham of Strong and Shapely, Russ Deluca, Timea Majorova, Carmen Garcia and tons of others who partied in for a bit.
Val, Nasser, Timea and I have all been headlines at Derek's NPC Alaska State show so we knew him well (I was just there the weekend before and was treated with limos and suites the entire time) and had tons of fun seeing him out of his hometown.
Saturday night Val and I went to the BSN after party in the Venetian. I met Triple H as soon as we walked in the door. He was awesome in person. We talked and I thanked him for being a part of our festivities. He was happy to be there even though he said there were a lot of glitches during his part of the Mr. Olympia show that night on stage. Triple H is a class act and we are thrilled to have him support Bodybuilding.
The crowd was having a blast dancing, drinking and hanging out with friends in a party atmosphere full of fit beautiful bodies. Behind the bar on a raised stage an area was set up for our new (not really new) 2005 Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman with chairs and couches to include his family and friends.
Big Ron showed up and was hailed and toasted by all. It was a really fun way to showcase him and acknowledge his friends, family and sponsor, BSN for their support. A true champion never works alone.
Many people come together to build a strong support system and it sure shows in Ronnie's results! Congratulations on Ron's 8th Mr. Olympia title!
In The End...
Both Val and I had flights to catch the next day with hers early in the morning. She never slept and was packed and on her way back to Seattle by 6 A.M! I took a short nap, packed and left the Orleans by noon on Sunday only to sit in the airport after our plane from LA got hit by lightning!
Of course the airline wouldn't let it fly anymore and our flight was cancelled with all of us having to get our bags and recheck them on another flight or spend the night and catch one the next day. I opted to get the last one out to LA and was in the Vegas airport for 11 hours!
This was hard to deal with being only 1 hour away by plane and 4 hours by car. Should I just start jogging I wondered? I finally arrived back in LA after midnight and fell into bed exhausted yet exhilarated by a wonderful weekend full of friends and great times.
Thank you to all of the competitors, venders and fans. Thank you to Bodybuilding.com for being the innovators of the web world. This year's Mr. Olympia and Expo were a huge hit in Vegas.
See you there next time!