Full Contest Review
NYS VI is in the book as one of the fiercest fought competitions to date. All the pre-contest hype came to fruition in Binghamton, NY on the 7th of October.
The day started off the right way with promoter and bodybuilding enthusiast, Mike Halsey, personally greeting all competitors, and welcoming them to the sixth annual event. The athletes streamed through the door, and the atmosphere was electric.
The tone was set during the competitors meeting amongst a sea of Bodybuilding.Com Tee-shirts filling the Binghamton Forum. Everything athletes could want, separate and distinctly qualified judges for the bodybuilding and figure divisions, and more goodies from sponsors such a Vitaglow.Com, Nutri-sports, and the supporters of the NYS Natural than anyone could carry, even a sponsor hotel within sight of the Forum.
The backstage environment is unique to any show I have ever seen the competitors of the NYS, while each wanting victory, never hesitated to provide some assistance or support. Top-to-bottom, all classes were first rate and tough to call. Not only was it bodybuilding, all figure divisions were filled with picturesque beauty and class. From the first time competitor to masterâ€™s with a lifetime of training, you had it all.
Teen and Juniors Divisions:
The Teen and Juniors were represented well, with Matt LaPlanche earning victory in the Teens and Sean Claridia the champ in Juniors Lighhtweight. Deawaka Dolo earned top honors in the Juniors Heavyweight division, making this the largest most competitive group of bodybuilders under twenty-three.
Menâ€™s Pro-Masterâ€™s Divisions:
Menâ€™s Pro-Masterâ€™s was a first rate class with Pros Kent Bierly, Mike Uzar, Vince Cardamone, Dale Baker, Rod Kendrick, Les Weaver, and Chris Raker. These athletes put on a display of what the sport is all about, with Kent â€œThe Kingâ€� Bierly pulling his third in a row.
Menâ€™s Masters had classes of 35, 40, 50, and even 60. Big â€œKentuckyâ€� John Cubit took the 35 class, with local favorite and heavy metal vocalist, Steve Potenziano close behind, making huge strides and bringing the crowd to life. Darryl Lee, Frank Caine, took the 40 and 50 classes, and a class act of Ron Talome, making perhaps his last stage appearance, walked away with victory in the 60 year old division.
Womenâ€™s Novice and Open saw Sara Colombo crowned, and long-time champion Barb Prouty was the Masters champion.
Menâ€™s Novice provided Jeffrey Strong his first win, with competitors; Frank Caine, Chris Detor, Justin Beers, Carmen Racciatti, and Ryan Oleyourryk close behind.
Figure classes seem to be the wave to ride in natural fitness, growing each year with no end in sight. Figure Novice champion Toinette Bango was on top of her game with poise and a smile you could see form the back of the room. Up and comers Kristen Donahue, a.k.a â€œThe Girl Next Door,â€� Katie Eckert, Melanie Kornblatt, Natalie Ceklovsky, and Cory Miszko filled the stage with class and poise. Shelia Mettler, coming off a recent overall, was named Figure Masterâ€™s champion.
Figure open winners Michelle Seminski and Lisa Johnson graced the stage for Figure Overall. Michelle and Lisa are what it is all about, total packages with class and style always with a friendly smile. Lisa earned the win on this day, with Michelle just a half-step behind, Lisa is a total champion and well-deserved, and Michelleâ€™s next step is a sure overall.
Menâ€™s Open Divisions:
Menâ€™s Open division winners Sean Claridia, Darryl Lee, Brian Petersen, Jack Kunkel, Adam Shawver, and John Cubit fought it out for the overall... but after rousing posing routines from all.
Hands-down the NYS has the most entertaining, creative, routines with every competitor bringing the out the showmenâ€¦and women. Crowd favorites Les Weaver, Rolando Amorin, and Mike Duffy brought the crowd to life, each with their own flair.
Top posing honors went to Lou Giacco, this years â€œSupermanâ€� left a tall building ending with a spinning split that had everyone a gasp. Showing a comeback this years were couples, Mike Duffy and Lisa Johson, along with Steve Potenziano and Toinette Bango displaying artistic class in bringing back this art.
Back to the overall, athletes went though their mandatories, each with their own shape and overall look. Adam Shawver redefined thick, Jack Kunkel was intense, Brian Petersenâ€™s symmetry and look was hard to ignore, John Cubit... who drove all the way from Kentucky...was sure to fit into the fix with his quads shadowing the stage, but, in the end, the little giant, Sean Claridia took it all. Yes, another Bantam weight, his overall look, symmetry, and muscularity gave him the slight edge.
A great showing by all and a first class show from Halz Production. The crew is hard at work preparing the Figure Nationals and Liberty State Natural, May 12, 2007 at the Forum in Binghamton, NY. See nysnatural.com for pictures from the show and information on upcoming events. A huge thanks to all involved, especially Bodybuilding.Com. Stay focuses, train hard, and see you in NYS in the spring.