Dannielle Gonnoud's 2009 Emerald Cup Experience!

The 2009 Emerald Cup was definitely an experience in and of its own. I have previously been to a few shows; Pro and Ameteur, but nothing like this one. Seeing first hand behind the scenes, my eyes were opened to a new world of people.

The 2009 Emerald Cup was definitely an experience in and of its own. I have previously been to a few shows; Pro and Ameteur, but nothing like this one. Seeing first hand behind the scenes, my eyes were opened to a new world of people.

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The Weigh-Ins
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Beginning at the weigh-ins; each person was watching the other, wondering what class they will end up in, how much they will weigh in at and who will be their biggest competition. Most were pretty shocked at the outcome; as many faces just dropped as soon as they got off the scale.

Men were sucking air into their bodies, pumping up their chest to appear bigger, putting up a front; not allowing the other competitors to know that they had fear or already knew they weren't going to make it too far.

My Eyes Were Opened To A New World Of People.
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My Eyes Were Opened To A New World Of People.

Women were doing the ever so not casual up and down gaze towards other women. Making it known they were watching each other. As more people piled in for weigh-ins, it was obvious who would be up on the stage for finals and who would be packing up early.

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Figure & Fitness
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Friday was the women's time to shine for figure and fitness. As usual, the audience was not as big as it would be for the men's show, but the turnout was still pretty amazing. I definitely liked how they had the expo right there in the same room; different from what I have seen previously.

I did expect to see more Fitness/Figure/Bodybuilding pros than were there, but I guess for an amateur show it is mainly people that were there with the sponsors of the event. I wasn't able to stick around for very long the first night since I had to get back to the hotel to help my friend prepare for his show the next day.

However, from what I saw, most of the women looked amazing and were definitely inspirational. I give kudos to all of the women since I could only imagine the courage it takes to get up on the stage in front of hundreds of people.

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Watching My Friend Prep
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That night, I sat and watched my friend prep for the next morning, eating the craziest food. I must say, for someone to go through at least 12 weeks of strict dieting, eliminating food gradually as you get closer to the day of the show; it was a complete shock to me.

I watched cheesecake, skittles, gummy bears, lays potato chips, steak, and more being devoured. Within four hours, I think he had more junk food than anything else. The morning of the show, I could see why. The effect the carbs and sugar played on his body was insane.

He went to bed with a slight roll under his butt cheeks, and woke up shredded and full. We arrived bright and early at pre-judging Saturday morning, and the fun began.

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Bodybuilding
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Men and women began piling back stage. They were lining up against walls, sitting on chairs and running around like crazy people. Competitors were being followed by people that were making sure their tan was perfect, their sheen was on correctly, and taking away any aerosol cans of PAM that people decided to use for shine. (I had heard of that, and that was pretty dang funny to watch).

The show started with the Masters Class. I'll be honest, part of me was a bit disgusted at first by some of the men and women, but mostly I was so amazed by these people. There was a 70 year old man up there posing! Yeah, I couldn't believe it!

Men And Women Began Piling Back Stage.
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Men And Women Began Piling Back Stage.

I only hope to be in such good shape and have amazing health at that age. The people in the Masters 50+, both men and women, were just the funniest, sweetest people you would ever meet. They didn't seem to have the aggressive, competitive nature a lot the young guys and gals had.

They were there to have fun and basically to prove you are never too old to be healthy. That I respected more than anything. One man especially stood out to me; 55 year old Rashad who ended up taking 4th in his class. Oh what a riot this guy was! He sat there running his mouth like a crazy man to any and everyone but in the funniest way.

Rashad Mayes At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
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Rashad Mayes At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Rashad Mayes At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

He had his wife there who was just the sweetest thing, helping him warm up and prepare, answering every need. He was definitely there for a good time, and you could tell he had a bad ankle causing him to limp and well, it was a bit crooked, but that didn't stop him.

He still took that stage in his hands as well as testing the judges and coordinators back stage to see how far he could push them and how much he could get away with.

As soon as it was the light through heavyweights turn, the men and women really came out to play. Clothes began coming off, and a bunch of large men began testing one another. Standing in close proximity to their closest competition, watching how the other one poses, staring through the mirror so the other couldn't tell they were watching you.

Men And Women Began Piling Back Stage.
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The Men And Women Really Came Out To Play.

I have never seen so many men check out other men! You could tell which people were friends and which people were there to just compete with no drama. You could also set apart the experienced and the non-experienced athletes. Women would help other women they didn't know if their tan was smearing or their suit was creepin' up their rear.

Even Pro Female Bodybuilder Gerri Davis was there helping everyone apply their tans and sheen. That was pretty awesome. I was able to speak to her quite a bit and was amazed how professional and feminine she really was. Like on the movie Miss Congeniality where the girls were hoping the other would trip and fall, in reality they were still there to help one another.

Even Pro Female Bodybuilder Gerri Davis Was There Helping Everyone Apply Their Tans And Sheen.
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Even Pro Female Bodybuilder Gerri Davis Was
There Helping Everyone Apply Their Tans And Sheen.

In reality, you go in to the whole thing saying no one is your friend, and no one wants to help you. Of course you stay in that mind frame, but friends were made, and people were good hearted.

Then there was the food. It was the same as what Matt was eating the night before. Men were shoving junk in their mouths. Devouring Snickers bars, cheesecake, bread, skittles, wine, N.O. products, anything to make them look fuller, veined, and huge.

Needless to say, it was quite gross and quite the shock. I think maybe a few people ate the bananas that were offered, and they weren't even competitors. This too though, I have heard being done.

Friends Were Made, And People Were Good Hearted.
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Friends Were Made, And
People Were Good Hearted.

It is just different when you actually get to watch the competitors do it and it is insane what it does to your body when you are so lean and fit. Not like normal everyday people where it adds inches to our waist after one bite of a doughnut!

The pre-judging started and one after the other each group piled on stage, then coming off knowing that was basically their only shot to impress the judges. If you didn't come in full enough, weren't lean enough, veins not poppin'...it was all over and you really didn't have another chance to impress.

You Only Got One Chance To Impress The Judges.
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You Only Got One Chance
To Impress The Judges.

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The Night Show
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The night show was for the crowd and had a very minimal chance of changing any judges' mind if at all. You could see the relief of the men and women once they came off the stage. It was like I could literally see weights being lifted off these people's shoulders.

After it was over, it was time for everyone to go rest, eat, and prep for the night show. That is exactly what they did too and apparently many of the guys had the same idea when it came to food. Matt was allowed to eat a burger or red meat of some sort with the fixings and he wasn't the only one.

The Night Show Was For The Crowd.
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The Night Show Was For The Crowd.

We went into Red Robin and it looked like the competition was being held there! Competitor after competitor piled in, all stuffing their faces with big, juicy, fatty burgers. All seemed to be in heaven. After that, it was back to the hotel for a nap.

It was time for the night show, and the competitors began piling in around 6 when doors opened, show starting at 7. I tell you, it was the longest night ever. I sat back stage with Matt pretty much the whole time except when I wanted to meet people. I was able to meet quite a few people, but my two favorite were Dave Palumbo and Alicia Maria.

Dannielle & Dave Palumbo.
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Dannielle & Dave Palumbo.

I had seen Alicia before at the Olympia and was not able to meet her. Since this was a much smaller event, the Sponsored athletes and models seemed to be much more willing to take pictures and sit and chit chat with you. I was so amazed by these two and how sweet they were.

These two and Gerri Davis were the only ones I really met that jumped at the opportunity to meet their fans. Another highlight that night which I thought was the coolest thing, was when a little 7 year old boy got on stage and did a break dance routine to music.

Dannielle & Alicia Maria.
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Dannielle & Alicia Maria.

That little guy was definitely a favorite amongst the crowd and I think he had the crowd going even more than anything else that happened that night.

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Conclusion
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Everyone did an amazing job, and the dedication in each individual was very apparent and extremely contagious! Each routine was full of energy and excitement, from old to young. You could tell how happy everyone was that within no time they could go eat whatever they wanted and the stress would be gone.

Even my friend's parents had flown in to see the show, and it was their first time experience with any part of the industry. They had mentioned they had no clue how big of a deal fitness and bodybuilding was to so many people. It gave them a new view on what their son was really doing as well as all the other competitors.

Dannielle & Tiffany Forni.
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Dannielle & Tiffany Forni.

The lengths people go through, the training, the dieting, everything, is so amazing to me which I guess is why so many people including myself are so interested in the industry. It really goes to show that no matter your age, don't give up on your health. That doesn't mean you need to be as hardcore as a competitor, but knowing a 70 year man can keep healthy should mean others can too.

All together I think this was an experience I wouldn't trade for the world. I have been in many situations as part of this industry, not as a competitor or anything, but in other ways. I have seen different levels of shows, and now was able to experience the backstage excitement and indulgence first hand.

Everyone Did An Amazing Job.
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Everyone Did An Amazing Job.

The show was an eye opener for me, both backstage and in the audience. I definitely look forward to more shows with Matt or on my own so that I am able to have a broader view on the industry. Like I said, it was definitely an experience I would not trade.