It's time to get the party started in the world of bodybuilding and figure. The first show of the year does exactly that, February 17th in Pasadena, California. Everyone is talking about who is the front-runner in the men's show and who had a productive off season. Me, I'm more interested in the weather report as the last two years have provided heavy rainstorms.
Okay, so that's not totally true but I do hope Mother Nature takes a break from her 3rd annual Pasadena shower. (BTW - Weather.com is reporting it will be sunny with highs in the upper 60s and only a 20% chance of rain). I'll concede and speak on the top contenders going into the show.
Speaking of water and percentages... Will Lee Priest's legs be a couple of water balloons or will he dry out and claim victory? Lee is amusing himself in the final days of dieting by posting on getbig.com that he has retired only to follow it up with photos of his wheels.
The looks of his latest leg photos show they are peeled and ready to roar. Lee will place in the top two slots. The only man who will give him a run for his money is Troy Alves.
The question with Troy is... will he display the conditioning he did last year with the added muscle or will his time off hurt him? By the looks of the photos online I'd say the time off helped him and he is ready to rumble. He looked great last year at the IRONMAN and should have placed higher in my opinion.
We haven't seen Mark Dugdale on stage in awhile - how will his time off serve him? The family man has been nestled in the upper west coast, working on bringing the size of his arms up to match his insane legs. Word is he'll be packing more size and bring the same crazy conditioning that earned him his pro card.
David Henry came on strong in 2005 and showed he may be one of the smaller sized pros but he can get shredded and has added some quality muscle since turning pro. Will he be able to match the conditioning and bring a similar package to the stage this year? David will be knocking on the door of the top 5 but will fall short of a top 3 slot.
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David Henry @ The 2005 Wildcard Showdown.
Look for Ahmad Haidar to show up in his usual condition - shredded. He's one of the quieter pros out there but he lets his body speak or itself. Will he get some west coast love? He should be in the top 5 and be a contender for the 3rd place behind Alves and Priest.
I like what I've seen out of Tony Freeman in the latest pics that have been posted online. He's a giant on stage but his conditioning is always a little off. I look for him to be in the top 10 and hope to see Tony in the shape of his life.
Eryk Bui will be making his pro debut this weekend. He looked amazing at Nationals two years ago, but we haven't seen him on stage since then. Eryk will get his welcome to the big leagues this weekend. I don't see him being in the top 10, but I have been wrong before.
Don't forget about the man with some of the craziest legs in the industry, Mohammad Mustafa. While I'm not a fan of his physique he does hold his own and was in the Olympia last year. Mustafa should be battling for a top 5 position if all goes well.
Speaking of Olympia, Kris Dimm got his @ss handed to him at the 2005 Olympia by not making the cut and is looking to redeem himself at the Iron Man. We'll see how he rebounds and if he can position himself in the top 5. I look for him to be closer the 7-8 spots.
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Kriss Dimm @ The 2005 Olympia.
This show draws a number of competitors from outside the United States. Last year I found myself cringing at the site of many of the European physiques. I'm not sure what these cats are drinking in Europe to jack their physiques but I hope someone proves me wrong and lands in the top 10.
Many of the top tier pros are sitting out the Iron Man and focusing on the Arnold Classic. We'll see how Lonnie Teper kicks off the season premiere at the Press Conference, Friday afternoon. If we're lucky, maybe Lonnie will show the audience how to do some arm curls.
All kidding aside, last year's press conference was well attended and added a little entertainment to the show. We won't be seeing Gustavo Badell stripping down or Melvin Anthony challenging anyone to a dance off. No camera crew following Craig Titus around this go 'round.
Pro Bodybuilding Weekly:
What the audience can count on is a very well run event from start to finish. The atmosphere is laid back, easy going and gives everyone a chance to enjoy the start of the bodybuilding season. Pro Bodybuilding Weekly will be broadcasting live from the press conference.
The show will give people, unable to attend, a sense of what's happening. The lighting and backdrop at the night show is the best you will find at any show. All promoters should take a lesson from Iron Man Magazine and Michael Neveux on how a stage should be set up and presented.
NPC Figure Competition
One portion that tends takes a back seat to the Men's Pro contest is the NPC Figure competition. Even though the men are the main event, this show has proven that the female competitors who are on stage are no joke. A number of women who graced this stage have gone on to earn IFBB status.
Last year's winner Alexis Ellis along with Amy Peters are both newly crowned IFBB Pros. Abby Duncan, Nancy Hirsch, Hannah Park all competed and are current IFBB Figure Pros. Not to mention the winner of the show receives a photo shoot with Iron Man's photographer Michael Neveux.
|Watch Alexis Ellis On The Fit Show.
Kim Oddo, Laurie Vanniman & Alexis Ellis.
Women's Training With Kim Oddo, Alexis Ellis.
Training W/ Jerome Fergusson, Alexis Ellis.
Training with IFBB Pro Rusty Jeffers, Alexis Ellis.
I spoke with Kim Oddo (one of the industry's leading trainers for female competitors) and he had the following to say about the show:
"Well, this years Iron Man should be as talented as last year and everyone is expecting a great turnout and an awesome line up of figure athlete's including four of our Angel's.
The venue is set for excitement with an exciting line-up of guest speakers and seminars by various professional athletes, an array of different supplement company booths to visit while at prejudging and the evening event theater is spacious and electric with energy as the pro men hit the stage along with Figure finals on Saturday evening.
We would like to wish our Angel's Halcy Duarte (last months cover girl for Muscle Fitness Hers), Sandra Ejnes, Melanie Nakaji and Avis Ware all our best for a fun filled and exciting 2006 Iron Man debut. To all coming, it's a fun filled weekend for everyone."
|THE FIT SHOW|
A big thanks to photographer Bill Comstock for providing the current list of figure competitors as seen here:
- Franci Alberding
- Maria Alegre
- Cinthya Beltran
- Dolores Burlingame
- Christine Camacho
- Mimi M. Dew
- Halcyon Duarte
- Sandra Ejnes-Barckholtz
- Patty Farrow
- Jamie Fisher
- Kim Fletcher
- Susan Fuson
- Dena Gunnoe
- Anne Holbrook
- Rachel Huckle
- Jennifer Keaton
- Roxana Kreklo
- Tamee Marie
- Tracey Martin
- Angelica Moore
- Karen Mullarkey
- Melanie Nakaji
- Masae Parker
- Megan Payan
- Ann Pratt
- Venus Ramos
- Robin Rosche
- Crystal Sheppard
- Jana Stewart
- Diana "Tatiana" Tinnelle
- Avis Ware
- Michelle Wauro
- Lynn Widdowson
- Soumaya Wilmore
- Shari Yates
I like Tamee Marie's chances in the tall class. I saw her compete at the Rocky Mountain/Carol Semple Classic where she won the overall title in the figure portion. She has a great look and added some size to her legs from previous outings.
Jamie Fisher has placed well on the national level in the past and if she can rebound from a disappointing 2005 season she should be in the winner's circle at this show.
Masae Parker has been at the top of the short class in years' past and should find herself there again this year. Christine Camacho will do well in the short class and give Masae a run for her money.
Another competitor to keep your eye on is Jana Stewart. She is consistent in her placing and will be a threat in the taller class. Lastly, keep your eye on Karen Mullarkey, she had a strong showing last year at the NPC USA's Figure and will look to do so this weekend.
The Fit Expo
Along with the competitions taking place there is The Fit Expo, where people can mingle with pros, sample the latest products and take in the fitness scene. There are also a number of informative speakers and seminars taking place throughout the weekend and worth checking out.
If you're looking for something to do after the show and in the mood to tear it up a little bit, check out the FitExpo After Party. The event will be held Saturday night at The Twin Palms.