A Review Of The 2007 Colorado Pro & Top Five!

This year provided a larger expo with more events outside of bodybuilding. Events like NAL Arm Wrestling, Strongman competition, boxing, bench press, MMA events, and more. Here is my detailed review of the show and thoughts about the top 5.

The second annual Shawn Ray Colorado Pro/Am Classic is in the books. The show took place on June 1-2, 2007 in Denver, Colorado. The show was established in 2006 with Vyotech Nutritionals stepping up as the title sponsor again in 2007.

This year provided a larger expo with more events outside of bodybuilding. Events like NAL Arm Wrestling, Strongman competition, boxing, bench press, MMA events, karate demos, model search and more.

The highlight of the event is always the IFBB Pro Men Bodybuilding show. Last year marked the pro debut of Colorado's own Phil Heath. Phil Heath was absent this year as he was booked for a guest posing in New York, but that didn't stop the action from heating up. The New York Pro and Keystone Classic were held shortly before the Colorado Pro and many of the competitors chose to compete in the trio.

Branch Warren won the New York Pro but saw himself slip lower and lower in the placings since that win. Many, myself included, considered Dennis James a favorite going into the show. Kai Greene had the momentum going into this show as he took the pro stage by storm in New York and followed it up in PA.

Who would live up to the predictions and who would fall? That was the question on the minds of pro bodybuilding fans going into the prejudging.

The weekend started off with some local promotions. Thursday, Shawn Ray and a couple of competitors appeared on the most popular radio station to promote the events. Advertising ramped up and there were also a few spots on local televisions stations. Check-in for the NPC portion of the show took place on Thursday with most of the amateurs checking in at that time.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Silvio Samuel & Shawn Ray.

The meetings were held at the Hyatt hotel, which served as the host hotel for the weekend. This was very convenient for everyone as it was across the street from the Denver Convention Center, where the event and expo was held. The hotel is one of the nicest hotels you'll find for any event as is the Denver Convention Center. Many people raved about the hotel's gym, which is a 24-hour full gym.

The remaining NPC competitors checked in on Friday morning followed by the pro women's figure and pro men's mandatory meetings. The women were given their instructions and assigned numbers. Lots of tanned bodies and white faces were seen sitting in the seats. Some competitors had their game faces on, others were zoned out and others like Valerie Waugaman were chipper and talkative.

FIT MISSION REVOLUTION
Fit Mission Revolution Episode #8: Colorado Pro Prep
Date: 5/30/2007

The men's was much the same with most of them not talking much. Darrem Charles was the exception to this as he voiced his opinion on the Keystone Classic prejudging. The judges worked the competitors more than ever and he was part of the continued callouts. His concern was valid as he was one of the competitors that found himself being compared several times in a row while fresh, rested competitors stepped up to be compared to him.

The judges assured him they would not keep the competitors out for as many callouts and if they needed to they would put them back for a rest and bring them all back at a later time. They held true to their word and did exactly that at the prejudging that followed.

I took advantage of the time between the NPC and IFBB meetings to do a photoshoot with Will "The World" Harris. He had added some considerable size since I'd last seen him and his upper body looked great. He has one of the best backs in the pro ranks however his legs looked as if they need to be a bit drier if he was to be in contention come show time.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Lucky #7 For Will Harris.

We had an awesome shoot at Colorado Pro Gym in Aurora, Colorado. Will and a couple of his friends, who were there to help out, commented on how they wish they had a gym like this in LA. It's a raw, hardcore gym with tons of great equipment. After the photo shoot I bolted back to the venue to secure my press pass and get a seat in the press pit for the night show.

Friday evening's prejudging consisted of the IFBB Pro Figure and the NPC men's and women's bodybuilding. It was well attended with about 300+ people in the seats. The NPC portion ran smoothly and quickly. There were a number of solid competitors in every class and the quality was improved from the previous year.

It looked like the heavy-weight and super-heavy classes would provide the battle for the overall title in the finals. The IFBB figure line up was decent but it was clear that Valerie Waugaman went back to what worked for her at this same show last year. There was no question she would prevail as the winner and it came down to who would be in the 2-5 places.

The judges compared a number of different physiques and it looked like Mary Jo Cooke would be in the brides-maid position but it was anyone's guess who would be 3-5. The expo was also going on at the same time and when I spoke with a few vendors they were surprised at how many people were coming through on a Friday afternoon/evening.

I caught a bit of the MMA fight, which had a fair number of people in attendance. Also taking place was the Darque Tan Model Search, which had fitness super star, Adela Garcia, IRONMAN PRO winner Toney Freeman, Shawn Ray and others judging. There were a number of attractive ladies in the contest, however most failed to have a tan. Hmm... Call me crazy but don't you want to have a tan for a model search sponsored by a tanning company?

Saturday was the main event and I was joined by my partner in crime, Getbig.com's Ron "Yogi" Avidan.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Ron Avidan.

We planned out how we would cover the events together and what content we'd seek from the show. We headed over to the venue, chatted with Pro Bodybuilding Weekly's Dan Solomon and Bob Cicherillo for a bit as well as other industry personalities.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Bob Cicherillo, Dan Solomon & The Judge.

Enough of the small talk it was time to get to the venue and get to work. The NPC figure took the stage and there were a number of great physiques in each class. The tightest battle would be between Heather Grace and Sara Hurrle in the C class. They both had done their homework and in great shape.

At the end of the night it would be Hurrle who prevailed as the class winner and would go on to win the overall title in her first NPC show. You may have seen Sara in the Colorado Connection, where I followed her in her leg-training workout. Sara was ecstatic with the win and is now considering competing at the NPC Jr. Nationals in two weeks. She should do well on the next level of competition.

The Pro men took the stage and it was clear some guys showed up for battle while others missed the mark. Let's break down the competition as they ended up in the finals...


Kai Greene:

    He was the clear winner from the beginning. The guy has is shredded from head to toe. Known for his posing he didn't disappoint the fans in Denver. He was crisp in the prejudging and held his conditioning into the evening rounds. He did have a slight mishap with his music but Bob (who was emceeing the men's show with Dan) helped him out by singing a little tune.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Kai Greene At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics Of Kair Greene Here.

    It was pretty amusing to hear Bob sing and Kai rolled with it continuing his routine. Kai went on to win the Bodybuilding.com fan choice as well as the best poser for the night. It was a great showing for Kai and look for him to be in the top 10 come Olympia time in September.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Kai Greene At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics Of Kair Greene Here.

video  
1. Kai Greene.

Windows Media (21.1 MB)


Darrem Charles:

    He was coming off a disappointing finish at the Keystone Classic and looked to redeem himself. I didn't have him this high in the placings after prejudging and looking at the scores - neither did the judges. He was definitely better at this show than he was in Pennsylvania.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Darrem Charles At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics Of Darrem Charles Here.

    Darrem was in fourth after prejudging but managed to move up into the second place after the finals. This is proof that the judges are judging the show all the way through till the end of the show. Darrem brought his signature conditioning and it helped him nab the second place spot.

video  
2. Darrem Charles.

Windows Media (20.7 MB)


Silvio Samuel:

    Silvio is one of the hardest working guys in bodybuilding today. He's competed in nearly every show in 2007 and has managed to keep his conditioning for each show. This show was no different and he looked to have improved on his posing as well.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Silvio Samuel At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel Here.

    He still needs some work on some of his shots but he is definitely on the right track. Ron and I had a chance to interview him after the show and he was happy with how things went.

video  
3. Silvio Samuel.

Windows Media (20.7 MB)


Ronny Rockel:

    I had Ronny in second after the prejudging as did the judges but he slipped to fourth by the end of the evening show. Ronny has great shape and his conditioning was spot on. I'm not sure there was much more he could have done to place any higher at this show. He seems to not get much love in the state sideshows as he does in the shows outside of the USA.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Ronny Rockel At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics Of Ronny Rockel Here.

video  
4. Ronny Rockel.

Windows Media (19.3 MB)


David Henry:

    David brought back the look fans and judges are used to seeing him present. He was full and ripped at both the prejudging and finals. He looked to improve more and more as the day went on. David deserved to be in the top five and it's good to seem him return to the top ranks.


Click Image To Enlarge.
David Henry At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics Of David Henry Here.

video  
5. David Henry.

Windows Media (16.0 MB)


Other Competitors

A few thoughts on some of the other competitors...


Dennis James:

    Dennis James had to be the biggest disappointment of the show. The guy failed to make the top five and was way too heavy and lacked the conditioning he needed to be a threat for the title. His stomach is out of control and needs to keep it in check while he is posing. The guy looked like he was bored out of his mind while on stage and during his evening routine.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Dennis James.
View More Pics Of Dennis James Here.

video  
8. Dennis James.

Windows Media (19.0 MB)


Branch Warren:

    Branch Warren who many felt would be a contender for the title slipped out of the top five. His back is his biggest weakness as it has been for some time. He was well conditioned but until he improves his back he won't be in the winner's circle again any time soon.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Branch Warren.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren Here.

video  
7. Branch Warren.

Windows Media (14.6 MB)


George Farah:

    George Farah narrowly missed the top five and was in the best conditioned I'd seen him in quite some time. His back as improved and his biggest weakness is his glutes or lack there of. I spoke with George about this and he assured me he is lifting heavy and squatting like a madman but it is genetically not something that he has.


Click Image To Enlarge.
George Farah At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics Of George Farah Here.

video  
6. George Farah.

Windows Media (15.2 MB)


Johnnie Jackson:

    Johnnie Jackson was improved from the Keystone Classic but his legs need to come up before he can do damage in the top ranks.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Johnnie Jackson.
View More Pics Of Johnnie Jackson Here.

video  
9. Johnnie O. Jackson.

Windows Media (15.1 MB)


Will Harris:

    Will Harris has great proportions and has the muscle to contend for the top five but needs to bring the conditioning he had when winning the USAs.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Will Harris.
View More Pics Of Will Harris Here.

video  
13. Will Harris.

Windows Media (9.1 MB)


Omar Deckard:

    Omar Deckard looked to be improved from the Iron Man Pro but his weakness is his legs as well.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Omar Deckard.
View More Pics Of Omar Deckard Here.

video  
10. Omar Deckard.

Windows Media (20.0 MB)


Craig Richardson:

    I was hoping to see Craig Richardson in the show as he could have been a top 5 contenders if he brought what he did to the Keystone with some improved conditioning.


Women

The Figure played out as expected after the prejudging. Valerie won the Colorado Pro Show title for the second year in a row and was without a doubt the best competitor in the lineup. Mary Jo-Cooke was in second followed by Nicole Pritcher-Scott.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Valerie Waugaman.
View More Pics Of Valerie Waugaman Here.

All three are now qualified for the Figure Olympia in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Mary Jo-Cooke & Nicole Pritcher-Scott.
View More Pics Of Mary Jo-Cooke Here.
View More Pics Of Nicole Pritcher-Scott Here.

Rounding out the top five were Elisha Archibald and Felicia Romero. Julien Bonner was the Super-Heavyweight winner and went on to win the overall title as well.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Elisha Archibald & Felicia Romero.
View More Pics Of Elisha Archibald Here.
View More Pics Of Felicia Romero Here.

As I mentioned earlier Sara Hurrle won the over all figure title and Roseanne Desmarais capture the Women's Bodybuilding overall title. Any one looking to view more photos and purchase photos from the NPC portion of the Colorado Pro/Am can do so by visiting: www.photos.liftstudios.com.


Final Thoughts...

First, For The Less Than Positive Things:

    Many of the people in attendance felt the event is great but the venue is too big. The Olympia could be held in this venue it was that nice and that big. If I was to make one suggestion for the promoters and to promoters everywhere it would be to remember...

    The emcee is a key part to your show. The worst emcee in the history of bodybuilding took the stage in Denver, Colorado. Tom Terwilliger was a great bodybuilder but his contributions to the bodybuilding stage should not be served as an emcee. I've never heard anyone make more mistakes, tell worse stories and manage to make a fool of himself more than him.

Some Of The Positives:

    The host hotel was hands-down one of the best hotels for any event. The vendors seemed happy with the number of people who came through the expo. I was happy to be able to grab a slice of pizza and not live on just Redline for the entire day. Mad props to Jeff Taylor and his wife Melissa for all the extra effort they did to make the show a success, without them this show would not take place.

    Shawn Ray does a good job of getting the word out to the bodybuilding community and with Vyotech behind him is able to make this show come to it's own. Also to the expeditors did a great job of keeping the show running smoothly.

    The behind the scenes people are what help make shows like this a success. Another key person to the behind the scenes action is Pam Betz. Pam is an integral spoke in this wheel. Pam will be having her NPC Jr. Nationals in Chicago June 14th & 15th.