The 2006 Arnold Expo was packed from Friday until Sunday with bodybuilding and fitness stars, venders, media from every publication as well as broadcast cameras, all of the different athletes, family and fans. Protein bars and t-shirts could always be seen being tossed in the air from all directions.
I flew in on Thursday and right away that night I was invited by Bob Bonham to go to a cocktail party (coats and collars please!) hosted by Wayne Demilla. Wayne is working on some new ways to hold events with different organizations all being able to be involved at once.
The party was all who's who with hot fight emcee, Bos Rutten, Publishers Extraordinaire Steve and Elise Bleckman, new MuscleTech face Christina Lindley and many more big time stars (TV). It was way swanky and I wore a dress slit down to "there", high heels and had a blast. Thanks Bob!
I had a fun time rooming with my friend, Laura Coleman who was working at the Dream Tan booth. Laura is 23 and a rising fitness model and competitor. She has already won Lonnie Teper's collegiate show and is extremely motivated.
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Laura With Bodybuilding.com Writer Louis Dorman.
I am impressed with one so young and focused. We really have a great relationship and she asks for advice the whole time. So every morning Laura and I would get ready for the expo together - full hair and make up complete with sexy fitness star apparel.
Day 1 At The Expo
Everywhere you turned there were famous bodybuilders and athletes - male and female. Many of the favorites it seemed were not "booked" by their companies and went anyway just to smooze with industry friends.
I live in LA - near Venice in the "Mecca of Bodybuilding" and many of us came to Ohio from there. It is a running joke that we all have to leave town for these events just to see and catch up with each other since we are all so busy while at home, often booked or traveling to other jobs. That is why the Bodybuilding.com booth is always such a party atmosphere. There are always friends and fun.
The Expo is the highlight for many "Arnold" attendees because many do not go to the contests or functions. They like the energy in the expo and I must say I can't blame them. People are always laughing and screaming, loud music is being played in the background and the atmosphere is an intense P A R T Y! Whew!
This year at the Bodybuilding.com Booth we had:
IFBB Pro and Athletes Rep. Bob Cicherillo who was busy in the broadcast side of the booth most of the time interviewing the star athletes and vender sponsors for the Bodybuilding.com online webcast for the Arnold files. When Bob was not busting it out on the broadcast side, he would run over and sign autographs for his many fans. Bob was everywhere.
Nasser El Sonbaty:
IFBB Legend Nasser El Sonbaty who never went anywhere with out his video camera to document many of his fans' comments and memories of his past excellent stage performances as well as new friends and fans just wanting to stand by the big guy, snap a PIC and shake his hand. Nasser was busy signing autographs every second there were fans and that meant always.
IFBB Pro Idrise Ward-El came in to round out our stellar line up of Pro Bodybuilder men. Idrise is known as one of the friendliest Pros around and is upbeat with a charming smile and always had a line in front of him for autographs. You can see he loves it there, as the music will make him dance and groove the whole time!
Idrise Ward-El Hosts NPC Competitors
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Cover Model and fitness star Christian Boeving was with us and had tons of fans stop by to get an autograph, chat or ask advice. Christian is easily recognized from his countless magazine covers and editorial PICS. Christian has a strong following from around the world and is admired as the physique most guys aspire to outside of Bodybuilding.
Christian Boeving & Frank Zane
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Christian Boeving & Christina Lindley
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IFBB Fitness Pro Kim Lyons came in for Friday and we had such fun catching up! Kim and I have been friends since 1998! We have always kept in touch and it was great to see her and be able to work together for a change. Kim is way fun and up beat. Her fans love her and she is a great example of fitness for the IFBB.
New IFBB Figure Pro Ginger who actually lives in Ohio was on board to see how the big boys play and she was a huge favorite with her tireless smile and great attitude while handing out the coveted Bodybuilding.com 2006 Arnold Classic T-shirts to everyone who input their E-mail address into the computer database we had going the whole time.
Boss man Russ Deluca's sexy girlfriend Bridget was also on hand helping everything run smoothly in the T-shirt side and believe me, it was tons of service with a wonderful attitude.
Super sexy Model Timea Majorova was a man magnet and took countless PICS to help motivate her fans for the year. Timea is as sweet and smart as she is sexy - a perfect combination for her lifelong fan base. Timea and I have also known each other from around 1998.
She was one of the first Pros I went to for advice on modeling when I first started. We have remained close friends ever since and enjoy catching up and talking fashion and men every chance we get.
The Boise Bunch:
The Boise gang came in from corporate Bodybuilding.com with CEO Ryan, Jeremy and Russ Deluca, Gary, Will and Scott. Add the Chapman Media Group for production - and our booth rocked the house.
A Lot Of Fun!
It was great to get to hang out with all of these perfect examples of health and fitness. These are not only a great group of people, I am proud to call them my friends as well.
I must have taken thousands of photos with friends and fans and signed just as many autographs. It is so much fun for me to see my fans that make it a point to come find me and catch up year after year for a PIC, autograph, hug or advice. Really. Thank you also for all of your nice comments on my articles on Bodybuilding.com. I love you all.
Free samples were handed out to all along with a 10% coupon off of the next order from Bodybuilding.com. Sweet! It was great to hear how many of you shop there already! Use those!
I laid low on Friday night - room service please! I knew I wanted to go to the after party on Saturday night - hey I know to pace myself! I am not sure how some of my friends work the expo all day, go to the contest after, then out to party and get back in any shape to work the expo the next morning! I like to be fresh for my fans.
I watched the results for the women's contest online. Some random thoughts - Congratulations to Adela and I was so pleased to see my good friend Julie Childs place 5!
Congratulations to Mary and Monica who was second, again. How beautiful DO you have to be anyway? But then I am biased towards Monica since we are friends.
Iris Kyle's muscles easily won her the title. When I got all of the news, I went for my pillow.
Expo Day 2
This Is "The Big One." We all know to expect the biggest crowds on Saturday and yes, it was true. It was amazing! At times it was so crazy and crowded that if you were in the isles, you could only inch along or sometimes not even move!
I had a web show on Girl Power that would start at noon. Timea and I grabbed a quick chicken salad and sat with Natural Muscle Publisher babe, Debbie Bagerie doing the girl/talk/men thing.
Arnold. Yes, THE Arnold took his annual walk through his Expo right before my show and lucky for us, we at the Bodybuilding.com booth with my Girl Power line up, had great seats! HE circled the Bodybuilding.com booth down one way and came up the other!
Our web camera team went nuts along with the entire expo, meaning anyone with a camera and those even without jammed as close as possible to get a glimpse and a snap. Arnold has to walk surrounded by men to "clear the way" so he can walk through.
This takes a surprisingly short amount of time for him to visit with a couple of stops at key booths then with a wave and smile at all corners for the fans... he disappears into the crowd. Thanks Arnold. Thank you for not abandoning your bodybuilding brothers and sisters. We love you.
Girl Power Show:
My beautiful, talented guests for my Girl Power show were: Super Model Timea Majorova, Legendary star - and my own role model Met Rx's Grace Grimes, IFBB Pro - Met Rx athlete fresh off of her top 5 placement from the night before (and thrilled about it!) Julie Childs and the new face of Muscle Tech Christina Lindley. What a wonderful line up!
Thank you all for making the time to come on my show. You were all perfection. We talked girl talk on modeling, products, fitness, balance in family and some of the differences women have in our lives that men may not have to address.
It was a wonderful time and I loved hosting such an accomplished line up of gorgeous representatives of our sport. These are not just pretty faces! The knowledge and advice they have to offer is well worth listening to. I know I did. Check it out online for free!
Brenda Kelly & Women's Fitness
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Congratulations to Dexter for the title and my favorite, Victor for placing 3rd! Great job!
Saturday night was the "After Party" night and it seemed everyone went. As soon as I got there with some new friends and some old I could tell it was a success right away. I saw my friend Robin Chang from Weider where I received some exclusive access passes for upstairs.
I had lost the crowd I came with while talking to friends so up I went. Well... most were already up there! We all partied and ate and drank until they threw us all out precisely at 2:00 AM. I was glad since I knew I would have stayed later and I still had 1 more expo day to go!
The rest of the people in my group dropped me off at my hotel and left looking for any place for more after hour's fun. I heard later there were only 2 options - a strip club that didn't serve alcohol and a local Wendy's chain for food. Hmmm glad I opted out.
I got back to my room and started packing since I would be leaving during the expo early to catch my flight back to LA. I left out what I thought I would need and calculated about 4 hours of sleep.
Day 3 Of The Expo
Day 3 of any 3 day expo is a madhouse with venders getting rid of everything fast since the last thing they want to do is take anything back with them that was to be used as a promo give away. Tip: this is the best day to buy anything!
Fans are leaving as well and there is an urgency in the air as everyone loads up on product, PICS and advice to last them for motivation until their next big event. Everyone who went out the night before (which seemed like almost the entire expo) is just a little less lively but certainly not unenthused.
Brenda Kelly Tuff Guy Award:
My vote for the Brenda Kelly Tuff Guy Award: Gamma-O's own Jeff Cowan. At the Gamma-O booth not only do they have Pro fighters and IFBB Pro and weekend competitor Chris Cook, they are becoming famous for their "ring the bell" with the sledgehammer and get a free T-shirt gig.
The first day Jeff was behind a fan and got nailed smack in the middle of his forehead on the back swing! He showed me - it was hard to miss - it drew blood and had a nice bruise underneath! His comment? "I told everyone to calm down. I am a fighter so I am used to getting hit. It is no big deal. Really."
Wow Jeff. He didn't miss a beat the entire rest of the weekend as promised. Impressive? You bet.
The Bodybuilding.com booth had the longest line by far for the entire weekend every day. The "Arnold T-shirts" were a huge hit and the samples never stopped coming. Sometimes I would just look at the line in amazement! It wound around the expo floor and into other booths and of course the isle way too. Wow.
There was always some new sample to try as well. Since Bodybuilding.com sells so many products, it is a surprise to us as well when we open the box as to what is there to hand out!
We all love it there at the Bodybuilding.com booth at the Arnold expo. The biggest, best expo in the world. Thank you to all of the athletes and fans. You are the real stars.
Until next time,
I am here for you,