Review By John Hansen
On Saturday, July 28th, 2007, I promoted my first bodybuilding competition in Romeoville, Illinois. After 25 years of competing in the sport of bodybuilding, I decided to take on a different role and actually promote my first contest. It was a great experience being the promoter of a bodybuilding competition. It was new, exciting and rewarding, feelings that I remember having when I started competing 30 years ago.
The 2007 Natural North America Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships were sanctioned by the ABA/INBA organization. This is the same organization that promotes the Natural Mr. Universe and Natural Mr. Olympia, titles that I was proud to win in the past. The Natural Mr. North America was actually the first ABA contest I ever entered (and won) way back in 1992 when it was held in San Francisco, California.
I was honored to promote an event that featured competitors from all over the United States including Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, Arizona, Iowa, Florida, Tennessee and South Dakota as well as Illinois. One competitor even flew in from Quebec, Canada to compete. It was great to see so many fine athletes assemble together for one competition. They were all in fantastic shape and they were a fine bunch of athletes.
Since this was a Natural competition, all the competitors were required to pass a polygraph exam before they could enter the contest. This contest required all contestants to be drug-free from steroids, growth hormone and diuretics for a five-year period.
At the conclusion of the contest, two competitors were chosen who were also required to undergo a urinalysis drug test. As this contest continues to grow, the drug testing will also be extended to ensure that everyone is truly natural and drug-free.
The show began with the Fitness Routines in the Ms. Fitness division. All seven competitors looked fantastic and their routines were full of high energy and daring acrobatics and the audience loved it!
Veteran Fitness Champion Nicole Guerrero from Schaumburg, Illinois came out on top with Crystal Juarez from nearby Joliet, Illinois coming in second with an excellent routine and first-time competitor Suzie Gramas grabbing the third slot.
In the Figure Division, the exceptionally shaped Sara Clark was the easy winner in the short class followed by Lauren Liepold of Urbandale, Iowa in second and Karah Veselka from Oak Creek, Wisconsin in third. In the tall class, Susan Today from Downers Grove, Illinois was the winner with Linda Gisburne in second and Jeanne Corbett in third.
Sara Clark was the overall winner in the Figure Division. In the Masters Figure category, 50-year old Susan Today looked spectacular in winning the division.
The bodybuilding competition began with the Teenage Division. Eighteen-year-old Vinnie DiRenzo was hard and ripped in his competition debut and he was the winner over big 17-year-old Brad McGury and third place winner Dan Dvorak.
The Novice Men's Division was highlighted by the spectacular physique of 25-year-old Thomas Anderson of Clarksville, Tennessee. Competing in his very first contest, Thomas was the hit of the night with his thick, ripped physique. He easily dominated the competition and beat medium class winner Vince Robbins and tall class winner Kenny Morrow for the overall title. This kid has got some incredible potential so look out for him in future natural bodybuilding competitions.
The Masters competition started off with the Jr. Masters division, which featured competitors from ages 35-39 years old. Martin Cormier from Quebec, Canada beat out Shannon Dillard and Will McRay from Illinois to take first place. Pierre Ellis of Chicago, Illinois won the Masters division (ages 40-50 years old).
Men's Grand Masters
In the Grand Masters division (over 50 years of age), Robert Breeding of Joliet, Illinois beat out John Stanton and Art Miller for first place. In the Ultra Grand Masters (60 years of age and up), 62 year old Phil Smeja showed off his thick Larry Scott arms in winning his class over John Moritz of Wisconsin.
In the Masters Women Division, the effervescent Paula McBride easily won first place over Julie Nelson from Brandon, South Dakota and Sally Stone from Northbrook, Illinois. These three women were also the top three winners in the Women's Open Division. This was an emotional night for Paula who was competing in the memory of her Father who recently passed away earlier this year. She won first place in the Novice, Masters and Women's Open divisions.
Before the Natural North America Men's Open division was contested, the audience got to see Nick Markins from Columbus, Ohio win the Physically Challenged Division, Jefra Cobb and Vince Robbins won the Mixed Pairs competition, Farrah Nudera won the Sports Fitness Model Search and Tiffany Klatt from Tucson, Arizona came out ahead of the pack in the Bikini Diva competition.
In the Men's Open, a ripped and hard Vince Robbins won the short class over the impressive Louis Johnson. In the medium height class, handsome Kenny Morrow edged out Tim Timlin from St. Louis, Missouri by one point for the first place trophy. Martin Cormier from Canada ended up in third place. In the tall height class, the very aesthetic Chris Delgado beat out Erik Schlick from Wisconsin and big Anthony Badejo from Chicago.
Best Body Part Awards:
To add some excitement to the contest, I decided to bring back the Bodypart Awards that used to be a staple for all of the bodybuilding competitions in the past. It was a great idea because the crowd really came alive as the individual bodypart awards were judged live in front of the audience during the evening presentation. The competitors also seemed to really enjoy this part of the competition.
Louis Johnson won the Best Çhest Award, Novice Overall winner Thomas Anderson won the Best Back Award, Vince Robbins won the Best Abs trophy, Pierre Ellis won the coveted Best Arms Title and Tim Timlin took home the Best Legs trophy. The Most Muscular Award went to the incredibly developed Thomas Anderson and the Best Poser went to Vince Robbins who lit the stage up with his fantastic posing routine.
Battle For Overall:
The overall title was very tight between Vince Robbins, Kenny Morrow and Chris Delgado. Kenny and Vince were both very hard and Chris had the most pleasing shape but, in the end, it was Vince's combination of size and hardness that won the overall title.
Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:
I want to thank all the sponsors of this exciting competition including Ironman Magazine (each competitor received a one year subscription to the magazine), Optimum Nutrition, Labrada Nutrition, Nutrition Discounters, House of Pain, Pride Nutrition, Fitness Factory Outlet and Bodybuilding.com. The lovely Gina Lara of Bodybuilding.com and Jenifer DiGiovanni from Labrada Nutrition were very helpful in handing out the trophies at the evening show.
Click Image To Go To Wallpaper Page.
Wallpapers: Gina Lara.
I had so much fun promoting my first bodybuilding competition; I can't wait to do it again next year. Just like when I was competing in bodybuilding, I want to come back next year with an even bigger and better show!