Mark Mason's 2009 Emerald Cup Review!

Many of the same things are said each year about the Emerald Cup Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure and Bikini Championships. The show was held in one of the best venues of any show in the country, and that includes the USA's and the Nationals.

Many of the same things are said each year about the Emerald Cup Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure and Bikini Championships. The show was held in one of the best venues of any show in the country, and that includes the USA's and the Nationals. It was well represented by the national bodybuilding press.

Dozen's of industry VIPs appeared at seventy plus booths of the top vendors in the health and fitness world. Two hundred fifty athletes from nearly every state in the Union and from Canada and Mexico competed. And Divine Providence bestowed the Seattle area with post-card perfect weather. Yes, the Emerald Cup rated a perfect ten; dwarfing the two other national caliber contests being held elsewhere in the country.

But despite all of the hyperbole descriptions listed above the main theme of this year's Emerald Cup was fun, more fun, and fun again. The over 5000 spectators who passed through the turnstiles came to partake not one thing in particular but to enjoy the entire Emerald Cup experience. I, for one, cannot recall a more enjoyable time at a show.

Brad and Elaine Craig spared no expense bringing some the most entertaining guest posers to the extravaganza. The X-man, Toney Freeman sauntered from one side of the stage to the other flaunting his perfect genetics. Freeman, who was supposedly "off season", was still in rock hard condition.


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Toney Freeman At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Mark Dugdale, only two weeks out from the Pittsburgh Pro, also presented a spirited guest posing routine. It is hard to believe that only a few years ago Dugdale began his competitive career on the Emerald Cup stage as a Junior. The hometown hero done made us proud!

The amazing Russ Testo worked his magic several times throughout the weekend. Testo is now fifty-one years old and boasts a physique of a thirty year old. His interpretive posing style never grows old. This year marked Testo's eleventh Ecup appearance in its twenty-seven year history.


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Russ Testo At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Another hometowner, IFBB Fitness pro Tanji Johnson partnered up with her sister Safiya, who was awarded her pro card in 2008. The "Sisters Johnson" unleashed a double-barreled blast of, gymnastics, dance, strength and flexibility pyrotechnics that caused temporary eyestrain on those attempting to keep an eye on both girls at the same time. I predict great things to come for team Johnson and Johnson.


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Tanji & Safiya Johnson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Two more seasoned veterans graced the Emerald Cup stage. Seven-year-old breakdancer extraordinaire Jaylen Testerman and eight year old dance champ Tia Buell presented their brand of entertainment for all in attendance. The "Little Phenom" Testerman has made appearances on the Oprah, Ellen, and the Murray Povich shows and Buell has been racking up awards at dance contests nationwide.


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Tia Buell At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

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Figure
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A hundred figure women ranging from seventeen to sixty-two years old descended on Bellevue to vie for awards in ten classes. In the masters figure over thirty-five Sheila Salinas came all the way from the Tri-Cities to solidify her comeback after a several year lay off.


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Sheila Salinas At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Sheila Salinas At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Salinas took first in the class as well as winning the masters figure overall. Heidi Hansen, the beautiful blond with the mile-wide smile from Ketchikan, Alaska took home the second place award with Nicole Huss taking the third place award back home to the Buckeye State.


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Heidi Hansen At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Heidi Hansen At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

In the over forty class it was Dianna Brock staging her comeback as well. Brock took first place with Montanan Connie Potter-Frame in second and the ever-popular Wendy Bogard third.


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Dianna Brock At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Dianna Brock At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

A very impressive Susan Ershler won the over fifties over an always hard to beat Kay Friend. Third place, Vivian Wood was one of the many Alaskans who ventured down from the Great White to compete. Stephanie Bonneau-Meece won fourth place and a most inspirational award for her complete recovery from a debilitating condition that left her paralyzed for a good part of last year.


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Susan Ershler At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
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In the under 5'2" class Kiana Phi-Lewis secured the first place win over Golden State gal Lisa Sandercock. Oregonian Brittani Simpson was awarded third place in a highly competitive class.


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Kiana Phi-Lewis At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Kiana Phi-Lewis At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

5'2" to 5'3" winner Katrinka Danielson had her hands full with the likes of sailor Carole Castillo and Nic Younis protégé Dion Blackburn. Castillo and Blackburn took second and third respectively


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Katrinka Danielson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Katrinka Danielson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Winner of the 5'3" to 5'4" class Michele Bigler came all the way from the Beehive State to send both Mary Simmons-Kerby and Jacey Bourne back to Montana with the second and third trophies.


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Michele Bigler At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Michele Bigler At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

In the 5'4" to 5'5" class it was the stunning Courtney Bynog who took the class win and the figure overall back to lil' ol' Pineville, Louisiana. Bynog possessed the perfect conditioning and presented herself well on-stage. Bynog was just one of a couple of dozen of gals masterminded by super trainer Kim Oddo. Summer Reece edged out recent Vancouver USA class winner Tori Stroud for second.


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Courtney Bynog At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
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Andrea Rosenbaum was all smiles after her victory in the 5'5" to 5'6" class. Rosenbaum was followed by Anna Brown in second place and Joni Nelson in third.


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Andrea Rosenbaum At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Andrea Rosenbaum At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

First place winner in the 5'6" to 5'8" class Ginny Gardea finally got her due. The fiery red head has been threatening for the past several years. Here consistent training and perseverance paid off. Taking second to Gardea was another Nic Younis disciple Rachelle Sundberg with Erin Moore winning the third place call.


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Ginny Gardea At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Ginny Gardea At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

5'8" and over class was a shocker. Last year's winner and the 09 heir apparent to the Ecup figure overall, Mary Hallman, had to be satisfied with third place. I thought Hallman look great but heard whispers of "over conditioning." Hannah Ringholm capitalized on the opportunity and won first in the tall class with the gem from Idaho Jennifer Luddington placing second.


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Hannah Ringholm At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Hannah Ringholm At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

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Fitness
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Tanji Johnson's Save Fitness campaign continues to march forward. In the fitness short class Carole Castillo was in perfect form and snatched the first place award from the high-flying Canuck Tammy Rosiek. Marunde Muscle gal Laurie Joslin continued her improvement and took the third place award from another competitor who gets better each time out, Janice Zander.


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Carole Castillo At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Carole Castillo At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

In the tall class it was a battle between teammates Cinzia Clapp, Heather Skaar, and Mallory Fountain. The trio is just three of many core members of the above-mentioned Save Fitness Team. Second place Skaar performed well but it was Cinzia Clapp's evening to shine, winning the class as well as the overall.


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Cinzia Clapp At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Cinzia Clapp At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Missing in the line-up was the effervescent Viko Newman who sustained an unfortunate ankle injury a week out from the show.

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Bikini
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Saturday afternoon the NPC bikini competition made its Emerald Cup debut. Twenty beautiful ladies contrasted with MC Donnie Bell's "rugged good looks". The inaugural event was an overwhelming success. Bell kept the competition both entertaining and tasteful.

Short class winner, Diana Graham, defeated a tough-to-beat Jen Turnbull. The exotic looking Mennen Perez won the third place award with Brenda Burke taking the fourth place award.


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Diana Graham At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Diana Graham At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

In the Medium class it was another victory for Chelsie Beanblossom who had recently took the overall in Vancouver. The very sexy duo of Amanda Schulte and Kate Gary took second and third.


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Chelsie Beanblossom At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Chelsie Beanblossom At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

The Tall class was the largest of the day. Overall winner Tori Briggs, training under the tutelage of IFBB Figure pro Kristi Tauti, presented the ideal representation of what the NPC is looking for in Bikini. Second place winner went to yet another Oregonian the leggy Angela Leong with Shameen Cochrell being awarded third.


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Tori Briggs At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Tori Briggs At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

When the bikini class was first announced by the NPC I was one of many of the naysayers concerned that it would be nothing but a glorified wet t-shirt contest. With the guidelines that the NPC implemented I have since changed my mind. Bikini has added a whole new dimension to physique competitions and will continue to grow in the coming months.

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Women's Bodybuilding
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In the masters division lightweight Cindy Goodrich finally got her just reward: Wining the overall. Goodrich has been one of the most overlooked competitors ever. She always comes in condition. Instead of rehashing an old posing routine she always presents something new and exiting from the ground up. But most importantly she has taken the past disappointments in stride with a smile on her face.


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Cindy Goodrich At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Cindy Goodrich At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Second place in the masters lightweight was Brittani Simpson. Simpson has always walked that fine line between figure and bodybuilding and did well in her first crossover from figure. Third place Cheryl Brose continues to improve and had a great posing routine as well.


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Brittani Simpson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Brittani Simpson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Janet Guenther was back for yet another over fifty win. Guenther continues refine her physique and looked even better then last year. Californian Robin Grizzi trekked up from Santa Clara to finish second with the ageless Kay Friend taking third. Another masters woman that seems to be overlooked is Denise Rathwick who had to be satisfied with fourth.


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Janet Guenther At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Janet Guenther At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

In the women's open division the amazing Anne Kam took the first place win. Kam always is in great condition and her posing routines perfectly demonstrate the strong points of her physique.


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Anne Kam At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Anne Kam At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Canadian Barbara Stannard traveled all the way from Calgary to meet her match with Anne Kam. The defeat didn't deter her spirit. Stannard spent a full week in the Seattle area training at one of the top hardcore gyms in the area, Ironworks. Jenifer Erickson took home third and Melissa Williams fourth.


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Jenifer Erickson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Jenifer Erickson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Middleweight and eventual overall winner was Oregonian Laurie Smith. Smith was a crowd favorite and presented her best package ever. Second place went to Wendy Lindquist-Pronick from Abbotsford, BC


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Laurie Smith At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Laurie Smith At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Heidi Hegg came down from Alaska to claim her first place award in the heavyweights. Hegg, who is sponsored by the Powerhouse Gym in Anchorage simply out muscled everyone in her class.

Evelynn Johnston took second place back to Idaho. Third place winner Peggy Willis has made a marked improvement to her physique, especially in her lats. If Willis ever dials in her conditioning she could be tough to beat. Wonder Women Susan Stone placed fourth in the heavies.


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Peggy Willis At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Peggy Willis At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

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Men's Bodybuilding
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Bodybuilding is what the Emerald Cup has always been about. Beginning with the Masters over seventy all the way to the Junior men over one hundred of the best amateur bodybuilders in the country is what The Cup delivered.

Walt "The Silver Stud" Radke won the over seventy award beating out a retiring eighty year old Kareem Cadogan. Radke was back in the gym on Monday training for his assault on the Masters Nationals this July.


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Kareem Cadogan At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Kareem Cadogan At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Wildman Michael Clark was unopposed in the over sixty class but that didn't stop him from having a good time with his posing routine. Clark always comes up with something interesting for the spectators.


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Wildman Michael Clark At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Wildman Michael Clark At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

The master men over fifty class boasted over ten athletes and was stacked with great competitors. Winner Bill Pliska looked great but had his hands full with comeback kid Rich Sather. Sather has been absent for a few years but always presents a quality physique ala the Vince Gironda era.


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Bill Pliska At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Bill Pliska At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Another comeback that was never in doubt was David Patterson. Dave took time off for a couple of hip and shoulder surgeries and is back with a great look and of course his unmatched posing routines.


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David Patterson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of David Patterson At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

The masters men over forty had two classes, lightweight and heavyweight. Both masters classes could have been tough open classes in any other show but the Emerald Cup.

Lightweight champion Andrew Saguid came in peeled and exhibited one of the best posing routines of the night. Second place Laif Knutson hails from Central Point, Oregon.


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Andrew Saguid At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Andrew Saguid At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

C.P. may be a podunk town on the map but it is a metropolis when it comes to producing great bodybuilding, fitness and figure competitors. The always entertaining former Squid Jerome Williams took third place back home to Bremerton.


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Jerome Williams At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Jerome Williams At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

One look at masters forty heavyweight Twayne Rawls and you would think the competition was sealed. Someone forgot to tell Wayne Green. Greenie made quite a comeback two years ago redefining "grainy". This year he was close to upsetting the size and symmetry of Rawls. Mukilteo's Colin Hill was third in a great group of men.


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Twayne Rawls At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
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The Emerald Cup is always a great vehicle for the top regional junior men to get a taste of big time competition. This year the big dog from Tacoma Bryce Boschetti came to town and beat the favored Jesse Ortega for first place. Third place Roland Cochrun nudged past a well-conditioned Michael Mkrtychyan.


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Bryce Boschetti At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Bryce Boschetti At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

The hot dog from Alaska Matthew Wonchala wowed the crowd with a testosterone laced posing routine. Sixth in the juniors was the Fly Boy from South Carolina Derek Yoakum.


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Matthew Wonchala At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Matthew Wonchala At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Bringing up the rear in seventh place was Josh Davis. Contrary to his placing Josh Davis possessed the best genetics of the bunch and with the right guidance, training, and perseverance Davis can make his mark in the sport.


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Josh Davis At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Josh Davis At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

The irrepressible Spokanite Tommy Gun crossed the mountains to compete solo in the Emerald Cup wheel chair division. Tommy is a fast riser in the division and will be a threat national in short order.

The open men's divisions were an all out muscle war. Some of the hardest fought battles in recent Emerald Cup history unfolded before our eyes. Brother and against brother and friend against friend. Show no mercy was the only rule of the evening. And none was expected. After all the Emerald Cup overall title was at stake.

The bantams got down to a tough fight between Arlington's Golden Boy Matt Jensen and the shredder from the north, Canadian Jason Ste-Marie. The Jensen beat Ste-Marie by a handful of points.


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Matt Jensen At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Matt Jensen At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Lightweight winner Andry Israel came over from the Tri-Cities with a couple of other toughs who were set on sweeping open classes in the Cup. Israel was in fantastic condition and easily took the class over second place Matthew Johnson and third place Peter Mawhinney.


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Andry Israel At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Andry Israel At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Honorable mention goes to fourth place Tony Ruggiero. Ruggiero donned an Elvis duck tale wig and a Vegas-style bow tie as a silent tribute to the recently departed masters competitor Dan Marsh. Marsh will be missed and Ruggiero looked great as Elvis.


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Tony Ruggiero At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Tony Ruggiero At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Andy Rasmussen, the middleweight winner continued to show his improvements as did second place Mark Piper. Ted Perry defeated an always-tough James Gipson for third place.


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Andy Rasmussen At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Andy Rasmussen At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

The light-heavyweight win went to Randy Edwards. After Randy's big splash at last years Northwest championships his appearance at the Emerald Cup was highly anticipated. Edwards is working with Pete and Apple Grubbs of the Construction Zone. Edwards and the Grubbs make a deadly combination.


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Randy Edwards At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Randy Edwards At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Second place in the class went to Matthew Axford of Citrus Heights, CA. Former Ecup light-heavyweight champ and national contender Ryan Imamura placed third.


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Matthew Axford At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Matthew Axford At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

The heavyweight class was indeed the high point of the evening. Three men, friends, training partners, brothers in arms in past competitions became rivals in this 2009 Emerald Cup. Spokane's Mell "Swat Dog" Taylor, who sports some of the best arms in the country.


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Mel Taylor At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Mel Taylor At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

Joe "The Beast" DeRousie, who has the innate ability to bring himself to the stage at perfect peak condition. Roger "The Phantom" Baker whose genetics are the stuff legends are made but who has never really brought his best to the stage. The Big Three squared off for the mother of all battles.


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Roger Baker At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Roger Baker At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

As phenomenal as Taylor looked, and he was on that evening, it was obvious that the fight was between DeRousie and Baker. Neither of the two gave an inch but only one could win the class and move on to the overall.


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Joe Derousie At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Joe Derousie At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

One is a number neither behemoths will forget too soon. One point separated the two. Push came to shove and Roger Baker took the light-heavyweight title from friend and training partner Joe DeRousie.

The only thing that stood in Baker's way was the Super heavyweights. One in particular: A big Canadian who journeyed all the way from Winnipeg for the Niels Anderson sword. Jason Eggleston came ready and conquered. Eggleston thwarted the comeback Kim Nix and beat the Blond Bomber from Oregon, Alex Webb. Nix placing second, Webb third and Marcel "The Great" Scott fourth.


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Jason Eggleston At The 2009 Emerald Cup.
View More Pics Of Jason Eggleston At The 2009 Emerald Cup.

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The Expo
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The Emerald Cup is well known for many things. First of all it is one of the longest running shows since the birth of the NPC. Promoters Brad and Elaine Craig have nurtured the show from its humble beginnings in Everett, Washington to the action packed two day extravaganza that it grown to today.

The Cup always attracts such a large amount of national level athletes that caliber of competition rivals (and sometimes exceeds) the line-ups at the USAs or the Nationals.

It boasts the best in guest posing, one of the best venues in the country and spectator numbers that usually exceed six thousand for the weekend.

One of the attractions that usually gets lost in the show hype is the Emerald Cup Health and Fitness Expo. The expo has grown exponentially over the nearly three decades of the contests history. The Meydenbauer Center, where the Emerald Cup has be held for the past twelve years, is one of the largest and most luxurious event centers in Washington State.

The Expo Has Grown Exponentially Over The Nearly Three Decades Of The Contests History.
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The Expo Has Grown Exponentially Over The
Nearly Three Decades Of The Contests History.

The size of the Emerald Cup is now pushing the limits of the Meydenbauer and Craig Productions must tread that fine line between enlarging the booth space and cutting back on seating for spectators. It is a decision that Brad Craig has wrestled with for the past several years.

As of 2009 there were eighty-five spaces for vendor booths and a waiting list for a couple dozen more. Many of the larger companies purchase several booth spaces to insure that they are not lost in the rush of attendees.

The Size Of The Emerald Cup Is Now Pushing The Limits Of The Meydenbauer.
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The Size Of The Emerald Cup Is Now
Pushing The Limits Of The Meydenbauer.

Although well represented by the major supplement, training, and clothing marketers the Emerald Cup also features more eclectic vendors ranging from teeth whitening, to skin care to chiropractic services. Just about anything that pertains to health, beauty and fitness can be found.

I overheard one long-time attendee attempting to explain the Emerald Cup to a first timer. After several minutes of trying the person gave up and simply said "The Emerald Cup is something that you just have to see to believe."

When first entering the main room there is usually a quagmire of people slowing down the process of others entering. Your first instinct is to take a right into the first row of booths and try and circumvent the clog. Depending on how you look at it that may be the wrong choice.

Just About Anything That Pertains To Health, Beauty And Fitness Can Be Found.
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Just About Anything That Pertains To
Health, Beauty And Fitness Can Be Found.

That row is prime real estate for the vendors. Many the major supplement companies are located along that row. VIP guests, top names in bodybuilding and fitness signing autographs, and supplement giveaways are situated there. Those first two rows can take the better part of an hour to experience fully.

Depending on the time of day moving through the rest of the expo can be less manic and more of a leisurely jaunt. Personally, I have my favorite moments. I remember meeting Lee Labrada and Rich Gaspari for the first time. The former archrivals had booths next to each other and graciously posed in a photo with me.

The German Giant, Gunter Schlierkamp had dozens of fans surrounding him for autographs and instead of rifling them through like many of the pros do at the Arnold or Olympia, the affable Schlierkamp took his time with each and every person.

Those First Two Rows Can Take The Better Part Of An Hour To Experience Fully.
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Those First Two Rows Can Take The Better
Part Of An Hour To Experience Fully.

One of the Emerald Cup Expo mainstays is IFBB Fitness Pro Laura Mak and her clothing line "Mak Attack". Although I have never bought any of her clothing I love her booth. Laura always has some of the most beautiful women modeling her very sexy attire.

Another regular is Mark Kopel of Body Temple. Mark always has a large booth of his men's and women training and casual wear as well as competitive posing suits.

If you get hungry you can always grab a protein bar, a shake, or a smoothie. You can even get yourself a glass of wine. If you feel the need for something a bit more heavy Azteca Restaurant is always somewhere along the gauntlet cooking up great Mexican food. If you can't see the Azteca booth just follow your nose, you'll find it.

If You Can't See The Azteca Booth Just Follow Your Nose, You'll Find It.
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If You Can't See The Azteca Booth
Just Follow Your Nose, You'll Find It.

I always get a big kick out of the BSN booth. Big Todd Satalowich is always on hand to say hello and dump a couple dozen BSN product samples into my goody bag. If you feel your energy waning you can always stop by the ZipFizz booth for a bottle of ice-cold tropical punch. One punch of ZipFizz and you are ready to take on the expo again.

One bit of warning. Don't get so wrapped up in the Expo that you forget about the bodybuilding, fitness, figure and bikini show in the front of the hall!

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Conclusion
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The overall lineup was incredible. Even MC Kim Farrison, who has the number one vantage point at twenty-seven years of Emerald Cups, was taken aback with the group. Head judge Johnny Tuman took the men through several rounds of turns and comparisons. Edwards looked great, as did the lightweight Israel.

Pound for pound Eggleston was a standout but Baker's conditioning and muscle maturity prevailed. The first look on Baker's face after being announced the 2009 Emerald Cup overall winner was that of relief. Moments later after receiving the sword and being idolized by his two young kids Baker realized that he had joined the ranks of some great Emerald Cup champions.

The excitement did not cease after the overall was announced. The energized throng exited the Meydenbauer and descended on the nearby Azteca restaurant. The party went on well into the early morning hours. It was a perfect ending to another unforgettable Emerald Cup.