Contest Review by: Jim Britain
Photography by: Brent Van Pelt
Over sixty competitors brought their “A” game this year to compete in the fastest growing bodybuilding and figure contest in the North West. This annual contest has gathered a following of competitors and spectators that enjoy taking part in a well organized and exciting event.
The promoters Dave and Leda Christian wanted to make this contest legit so they went out of their way to acquire an experienced judging staff from all around the U.S.
Dion Benjamin is a pro bodybuilder with a long history of contest wins under his belt. He came all the way from Texas to be a part of the show and make sure the judging went smoothly. Dion enjoys the sport so much that he spends most of his spare time promoting his own NGA shows in the large state of Texas. Check them out at http://www.ngasouthernstates.com/.
Another one of the many judges was Karin Kimura who recently won first place in her division as a figure competitor in the 2007 Emerald Cup. She made her way to Idaho to help judge this event and finally got to see things from the judges’ point of view. Thanks to these two and the rest of the judging staff for making this event fair and consistent.
This event was also drug tested so 12 lucky competitors were selected at random to level the playing field and keep the sport of bodybuilding real.
Men’s Novice Division:
Towering over the competition was first place competitor Eddie Keating. His unmatched conditioning was no doubt the secret of his success. Coming in second place was Alec Erquiaga.
The third place trophy went to Gregg Sutton. Coming in with the best leg development, his symmetry was hard to beat. He has fulfilled many of his fitness goals and aspirations lately. It all started with losing fifty pounds of body fat for a 90 day transformation contest at the local Gold's Gym in Meridian.
He was also involved in a supplement challenge and sponsored by MAN Sports Products. He has been tasked with using their supplements exclusively for his contest prep. The supplements paid off and at the age of 33 he is now in the best shape of his life.
This experience has shown Gregg that anything is possible with enough drive and determination. He no doubt has the physique to go far in the sport of bodybuilding.
Men’s Masters Division:
Local favorite Mike Basye snatched up the first place trophy this year. He is on a winning streak and just came off of a win at the 2007 WFF Treasure Valley Contest two weeks prior. He held his conditioning and came to win.
Nipping at his heels was Christopher Cadinet who took home the second place trophy. He has a unique action figure physique that is a perfect example of symmetry. The third place competitor Chuck Stiff has a long list of contests under his belt and is no stranger to the stage. His posing was dialed in and he put up a fight with his great muscle mass in this large class of seven competitors.
Men’s Lightweight Division:
Mike Basye takes home his second trophy for the night. Being the oldest and most experienced of the group has finally paid off. This is a bittersweet victory considering he prevailed over men literally half his age.
Colby Porter from Nampa grabbed the second place trophy. This is a huge accomplishment for him considering he has been dealt a bad hand of luck lately from sickness and work related injuries.
He had to tailor his workouts around limited use of one of his hands for quite some time. Colby also had to gain back over 10 pounds of body weight after dealing with an onset of winter sickness that left him confined to his home for two weeks.
Local favorite Brandon Poe received third place this year. He has a long list of bodybuilding accomplishments starting with a string of wins from the early age of 18. He is now 21 and chalks up another top 3 victory. He has been juggling his training with a career in the booming mortgage business and also produces his own video show on bodybuilding.com.
Brandon is young and has plenty of time to perfect his physique for many contests to come. He finds it easy to stay in shape all year long by racing motocross and frequent weight training.
Men’s Middleweight Division:
Roger Schei came all the way from Chubbuck, Idaho to compete in this event. He will leave with the bragging rights of first place. The second place trophy was awarded to Chuck Stiff who will now go home with two trophies for the night. Third place was awarded to Daniel Rosenthal.
Men’s Light-Heavyweight Division:
With seven competitors in this division the competition was fierce. Mass monster Frank Greco Jr. has continued to wow the crowd with his signature abs and well developed legs. There isn’t a weak spot on this competitor and he just acquired his own local Nutrition store. Frank is going to be the one to beat now with his unlimited access to supplements that will no doubt fuel his body and maximize his genetics to form the perfect physique.
Mike Koci slides into a close second with his huge arms and perfect conditioning that is obviously the result of strict nutrition and countless hours in the gym. Mike has recently joined us back in Idaho to be with his beautiful wife Annie and their two kids. He has spent the winter making the trek back and forth from California to Boise to focus on his career and provide for his family, yet somehow finds the time to train hard for the sport of bodybuilding.
Andrew Moore traveled all the way from Missoula, Montana for this contest and received third place. After getting first place in the 2006 NGA Northwest Naturals contest these results won't sit well! He will no doubt go back to the drawing board and target his weak spots to prepare for next year.
Men's Heavyweight Division:
In the heavyweight division the big boys came out and wowed the crowd. Twenty-one year old newcomer Kyle Norseth displayed great muscle mass and symmetry for such a young age. With a recent first place victory at the Grand Teton Invitational and this contest under his belt he has plenty of momentum to keep winning contests.
Jason Schwartz came all the way from Kaysville, Utah to compete and received second place. The third place goes to Shane Maxey of Meridian, Idaho who is no stranger to the annual NGA Northwest contests.
Men's Pro Division:
This year will be marked in history for it's record number of professional men bodybuilders fighting it out on stage. It was inevitably going to happen sooner or later with the accrual of pro cards from this amazing organization. Over the years their has been many local rivalries which simply make the contest fun. The sportsmanship was very noticeable as the pro's pumped up back stage.
Everyone stood back in awe as the pro's threw the heavy weights around effortlessly. The instantaneous increase of testosterone gave the onlookers goose bumps while the likes of Lance Sganzini, Mark Tilden, Aaron Schow, Craig Toth, Todd Opheim, Bruce Blake and Allen Bowlden began to swell with vascularity.
The crowd roared as the men were called out on stage. Seven of the best physiques busted through the curtain to reveal the obvious result of years of hard work and the shed of blood, sweat and tears. I don't envy the judges for having to try and pick these competitors apart and find weaknesses.
This is next to impossible with the amount of countless hours of cardio and strict nutrition these guys have been through in the preceding months preparing for this contest. The competitors knew it would be a rock fight and this just prompted them to raise the bar a couple more notches on their training.
The first place trophy went to mass monster Craig Toth who came fresh from the 2007 Treasure Valley Gold's Classic where he walked away with the overall title. Craig has dialed in his nutrition and it showed in his conditioning. The feathered striations in his triceps and quads were just some of the many qualities that won the judges over.
He runs through his posing routine with a terminator like facial expressions that let's everyone know he came to win. I have a feeling he will be hard to stop now that he is on a winning streak. Who will be the one to knock him off the podium?
The second place trophy was awarded to Aaron Schow of Idaho Falls. He has made many positive changes in his physique in the past year and it paid off.
Taking home the third place trophy tonight would be Allen Bowlden of Eagle, Idaho. He always has great conditioning and made some improvements on muscle mass since the last time we saw him. His very prominent v-taper makes him a genetic marvel and gives him the upper hand while performing some of the mandatory poses. We are keeping an eye on him also!
Women's Open Division:
Debbie Hazen jumped with joy as they handed her the first place trophy. She and her husband Rusty Hazen are both successful personal trainers. They are a perfect testament that the "proof is in the pudding" when it comes to looking the part. I commend her for training very hard for this contest. Her energetic routine had the crowd on their feet screaming for more as she stormed the stage with a great big smile filled with confidence.
The second place trophy was awarded to Cheri Moore of middleton, Idaho. Taking home the third place trophy would be Tryna Hayes of Eagle, Idaho.
Women's Masters Division:
Veronica Cameron received the first place trophy. She is one of the many competitors here tonight that have gotten a repeat victory after the 2007 Treasure Valley contest two weeds prior. It is very commendable to be able to hold this level of nutrition for any period of time.
Cheri Moore will be taking home two second place trophies tonight. Trina Reyes was granted the third place tonight in the women's masters division. It is hard to believe these women are all over the age of 35! Their level of fitness is the result of plenty of hard work. I can personally attest that fitness gets harder to maintain as you grow older.
Women's Pro Division:
The women's pro division is always one of the crowd favorites. With four lovely ladies posing down on stage this year this once again a record number of competitors in this particular division. We are happy to see pro's from the East coast come to compete with our local favorites.
First place is awarded to Jenny Stevens who made it clear that she was relieved to see Karin Kimura on the judges’ panel and not standing next to her on stage. Her honesty is admirable but does not take away from all of her hard work for this contest.
Second place is awarded to Robin Gorczyca. She has years of contest experience under here belt and always shows up ready to win. Her conditioning was dialed in this year but it looks like it came down to a miniscule difference in muscle mass. We will see what she is going to do to come back next year and try to claim first place.
Women's Figure Short Class:
Once again a record breaking year for the shear number of competitors in each division. The competition was fierce! As the ladies walked out on stage one by one dazzling the crowd with their flashy bikinis you could see the look in the judges eyes. It was apparent that this was going to be a string of difficult decisions.
Jesse Grand traveled all the way from Smyrna, Georgia to show Idaho that she has what it takes to blend in with some of the most beautiful ladies in the north west. Her travels paid off in the way of first place. The trophy will be a great souvenir to take home and show her friends and family.
The second place trophy was awarded to Toni Popp of Kalispell, Montana. She is just another one of many contestants that got word of this annual event that has a great following of spectators. Tiffany Holdman will be taking the third place trophy back to Lindon, Utah. Hopefully these ladies tell their friends and family about this fun event so it will continue to grow for years to come.
Women's Figure Tall Class:
One of our local favorites Jeannie Zingg has done it again. She is definitely on a roll now, and all of that hard work has finally paid off. She has another first place trophy to add to her fast growing collection.
Jeannie is seen in the local Gold's gym pushing herself through grueling workouts while still maintaining that beautiful smile. I'm sure we will see her next year as she continues to perfect her winning physique.
Kristy Barton was another crowd favorite as she flowed through her quarter turns with shear elegance. The third place trophy was awarded to Kristin Shaffer of Meridian. All seven figure tall class competitors were adorable and remain to be a great contribution to the sport of bodybuilding, figure and fitness.
Women's Figure Masters Division:
Deja vu is a phrase that comes to mind! Jeannie Zingg is once again awarded another first place trophy as she was two weeks prior at the 2007 Treasure Valley Classic. This should give her the confidence and momentum she needs to continue to win in many upcoming figure events.
Toni Popp accepted the second place trophy with a big smile. Her stage presence was memorable as she walked the line with confidence. With her muscular and shapely physique she would be a great competitor in the women's bodybuilding divisions as well. Kristen Shaffer will be taking home another third place trophy.
Dave and Leda Christian pulled off another successful show this year. Host MC Lance was a riot as usual. He has been hosting this event since I can remember and never fails to get the crowd roaring with laughter. It never gets old listening to him make fun of his own chicken legs. Looking forward to seeing you next year Lance!