On December 1st Denver ended 2007 ended with the biggest and best show of the year, and I'm not just saying that because it landed on my birthday. The weather was great, the competition was tough, and the sponsors filled the lobby with lots of freebees.
Pre-judging started a bit hectic because it was my first assisting the head expeditor, Wil Owens, because Renee Paul, the regular assistant expeditor, was competing herself. Even though she was the competitor and I was the staff, many times she came to help me get some control over the stressed out and depleted competitors. But somehow I managed to get them through the pipeline and passed over to Wil.
Though Renee is a seasoned competitor who's been to national level shows, about 75% of the competitors at this show were first timers. Although looking at their physiques I had to wonder why they hadn't entered a show sooner. I have a feeling I'll be seeing many of them appearing on stage again!
For this show Renee was working on being less lean and apparently she came in just perfect for figure taking 1st in Masters, 1st in Masters Overall, 1st in her Figure Open class. Way to go Renee!
Carol Semple, Ms Fitness Olympia 1997, looking absolutely fabulous MC'd the fitness and figure round, which had novice and masters classes in addition to 3 Open height classes. Colorado's news pro Jessica Steffins helped pass out trophies to the very proud winners, while Isaac Hinds with Lift Studios did the photography to capture all the memories.
Before the bodybuilding competition began the crowd had a blast with guest poser Gunter Schlierkamp's always entertaining performance. To Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" he went into the crowd to flex standing on chairs, have the girls feeling his guns, lift up kids and kiss babies. The audience got more than they paid for with that performance alone!
The bodybuilding competition brought more winners than just the awards revealed. Two stories in bodybuilding started opposite of each other but both ended up on stage at The Rocky! One man's kid's got him fit, the other man's kid's got him fat.
When Paul Hansen and his wife found out they were expecting their second child, Paul got concerned that he would be limited from being the best dad he could be because of his 270 pound weight at 38% body fat. He joined a local gym and was determined to change his lifestyle.
Seven years after joining he went to the Arnold Sports Festival where he got inspired by the expo-goers and competing amateurs to make his own goal for competing. Paul left with an "amazing experience" and wants to "leave knowing that I did all I could do to achieve victory" and that he could "inspire others to achieve their own successes".
Brad Fleming on the other hand grew up in a gym, but when he had kids he unfortunately made the decision to quit the gym for fatherhood. However, when his son started to want to grow some muscles, Brad got back into it to show his son how it's done. After 3 years without missing a workout Brad knew he was ready to make the big leap and entered Colorado's biggest show of the year.
I asked him if competing was what he expected and he said he was pretty prepared for the difficult dieting and 12 weeks of a very strict and controlled schedule, but he had no idea how grueling the dehydration process would be! He was warned and he heard stories, but he had no idea what it would really be like.
All the hard work was worth it though and he placed 4th in Novice Middle weight, 2nd in Masters Middle weight, and 2nd in the Open Middle weight.
He is now considering Nationals and has inspired his son to compete before he turns 20. We're looking forward to seeing the kid who got his dad back into they gym and to be a first time competitor at age 43!
But the most inspiring amongst all the competitor must have been Nick Scott. From a car accident Nick was left as a paraplegic but would not let that make him bitter. He found that bodybuilding gave him something to strive for, to succeed in, and in doing so benefited him more than he could have ever expected.
I got to talk to him both at check-in and during the show, and this guy has a great sense of humor and is so passionate about his cause for wheelchair bodybuilding! During his routine the audience loved his energy and he pimped out his wheelchair with florescent lights and spinners, then changed his wheels to fat tires when he went up for his trophies.
He won 1st in his class and won the award for Best Poser. Nick is definitely an example everyone could look at as to how much our perspective on life shapes our happiness.
As Nick explained it, it's not about whether the glass is half empty or half full, it's about having a glass and it's up to you to fill it. You could learn more about Nick at www.nickfitness.com, and he heads up www.wheelchair-bodybuilding.com.
At the end of the night almost a hundred competitors went home feeling on top of the world with their the friends and family that came to cheer on their local superstar, and with new goals and new friends and a big appetite for Colorado's famous Beau Jo's Pizza!