Photos courtesy of Isaac Hinds.
Hot mamas and Junior Fitness Stars Steal the Show in Denver!
2007 Point Athletic Club NPC Carla Sanchez Fitness Fiesta, presented by Tokyo Joe's Saturday, October 20th, 2007. Denver, Colorado.
Denver, Colorado. The Mile High City. Home to the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, the National League Champion Colorado Rockies, and, as was evident on Saturday, October 20th, some of the hottest and fittest bodies west of the Mississippi.
The future stars of fitness and figure shone as brightly as ever on this sunny afternoon in a contest that is truly designed especially for them, from the spacious dressing rooms at the venue, to the helpful staff and homemade chocolate chip cookies backstage.
For the past five years, Rocky Mountain NPC chairman Jeff Taylor and IFBB fitness pro Carla Sanchez have promoted the Fiesta, the only NPC show in the country exclusively for fitness and figure competitors. With over 130 participants including crossovers, the contest is quickly becoming a favorite of first time competitors eager to test the waters before stepping onto a regional or national stage.
The absence of bodybuilding at this contest has not hindered its popularity, and the event continues to attract larger audiences, new sponsors, and several popular IFBB fitness and Figure stars, including Elaine Goodlad, who also provided makeup services for many of the contestants.
Colorado's newest figure pro Jessica Steffens was also on hand, returning the favor by helping out backstage and helping with award presentations. In addition to the outstanding fitness and figure athletes, the contest attracts top-notch entertainment, this year including guest performances by local dance company Elements of Motion, and the Denver Nuggets Dancers.
The Fitness Fiesta features three height classes in novice figure, three classes in masters and open figure, as well as a collegiate division. Many of the competitors chose to compete in all three divisions, which paid off for first time competitor Tara Green of Aurora, Colorado.
Tara won her class in all three divisions, and took the overall in both the Masters and Open categories. An outstanding athlete with beautiful symmetry and superb conditioning, Tara could easily hold her own on the national stage. I am certain we will be seeing a lot more of her in the years to come.
Special mention should also be made of Collegiate and Novice winner Lindsay Renee Huber. One of the tallest competitors in the competition, she caught the judges eye the moment she stepped on stage. This young woman is bursting with potential with awesome genetics and model good looks. With continued training, she will also fair well at the national level.
Similar to other contests around the country, the numbers were down this year in the fitness category, with only one participant in the men's and women's adult fitness divisions. University of Colorado student Kara Walsh took home the sole fitness award in her first contest, while returning champ Jason Carlton wowed the audience with his strength and killer dance moves.
Hands down, the highlight of this contest is always the junior fitness routines. The Fitness Fiesta is the only contest in the country to feature a junior fitness division where athletes as young as six compete in the 2-minute routine round.
This year, 11 young ladies thrilled the audience with their remarkable talent, mind-boggling flexibility and entertaining routines, many of which were choreographed by Denver Nuggets Dancer Keri Grogan. Returning competitor Bianca Laratta took top honors in the 8 and under division, followed by MaKayla Laurita in second, and Paulina Diegel in third.
In the 9-12 year division, Lexi Blecha placed first, while in the 13 and over division Dominique Laratta took the title for the fifth year in a row, displaying tumbling and strength moves that would make any IFBB fitness pro envious. These young ladies will surely be a forced to be reckoned with in the coming years.
Fitness Model Search:
Another highlight of the show came with the return of the Fitness Model search. In addition to the men's and women's divisions, this year introduced the fittest couple and hot mama divisions. Contestants competed in swimsuits and fitness attire for a multitude of prizes, including a photo shoot with fitness photographer and Bodysport.com owner Terry Goodlad, a portfolio shoot with local photographer Jason Hayes, and a free membership to the Point Athletic Club.
Figure participant TiaNiecia Mosley took top honors in the women's division, and Performance Ready athlete Amanda Berthoud received the fan favorite award. Amanda was also chosen by sponsor EST Nutrition to represent them in a national ad campaign. Returning champion Jason Carlton retained his title in the men's division, and was also voted the fan favorite.
For those that hold the belief that it's impossible to achieve an outstanding physique after having children, the 10 participants in the Hot Mama division of the model search proved them wrong, and then some. The Hot Mama award went to figure participant and mother of five Laurie Geisz of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Fan favorite honors went to former bodybuilder and first time figure competitor Andie Vandenhul. There were even a few fit grandmothers in the group, proving you can have a fit body regardless of age. No more excuses, ladies! Laurie also took top honors in the Fittest Couple division, participating with friend and trainer Cody Pope.
Congratulations to Jeff Taylor and Carla Sanchez on another successful show, and to all of the inspiring contestants. You are proof of what you can achieve when you follow your fitness dreams, regardless of your age, or how many children (or grandchildren) you may have!