Text and Photos by Mark Mason
Once again the Pacific Northwest muscle maniacs invaded the Apple Capitol of the World, Wenatchee, Washington for the 2007 Evergreen State Championships. The Bank of America Performing Arts Center was filled to capacity as nearly ninety athletes graced the stage in over a dozen divisions each aspiring to win one of the coveted Neils Andersen Excalibur swords.
Perseverance paid off for heavyweight Matt Porter. Porter has been an overall contender in his past four shows. Previously he had to be satisfied with the class win and a handshake from the overall winner. Not in Wenatchee on this night. Porter came in leaner and harder and defeated several great competitors on the way to his Evergreen State victory.
One high point of the open men division was bantamweight Doug Horton's evening posing routine. It was paced perfectly with just the right mix of hard-hitting in-your-face muscle shots and melodic neo-classical poses.
Lightweight Matt Ramsey soundly defeated Spokanite James Shumpert. That is no small feat being that Shumpert had won his class in both the Emerald Cup and the Empire Classic earlier in the year.
There was a rumble among the middleweights. Jerry Brodeur ended up the last man standing but not after a good scrap with the comeback kid, Chris Goepfert. Goepfert, who hadn't been seen for a couple years, had the best conditioning of the evening.
The light-heavyweight class was the most controversial of the evening. The top three were all within a single point of one another. Kevin Anders, who sports calves that could rival Mike Matarazzo, took first place by edging out the number two man Paul Stephenson. Biju Varghese may have been awarded third place but he was number one when it came to audience response.
Varghese has phenomenal genetics with sweeping lats and a tapered waistline. He has the potential to rake havoc in the Northwest if he ever dials in his diet.
The Evergreen State brought out some great women bodybuilders throughout the evening. Not satisfied with her recent string of victories multi-title winner Janet Guenther traveled east of the mountains for another win in the master's over fifty division. Eastside gal, Ann Gannon, gave Janet a run for her money.
Both ladies are creative posers in their own rights. Guenther came on like a rowdy cowgirl while Gannon presented another one of her moving works of art. Regardless of their placings both ladies proved the art of posing is still alive and well.
Master's winner over 35, Allison Clerc, came in her best conditioning in a long while. As she squared off with Janet Guenther for the masters overall MC Kim Farrison took quick decibel vote polling the crowd.
It was too close to call. The judges declared Guenther the master's winner as well as the most inspirational.
The Evergreen State Figure divisions welcomed a lot of new faces to the stage as well as marking the comeback of Kelli Piggee'. Piggee' led a great lineup in the masters over 35 which included names like Teresa Mason, Lori Baggerly, Mary Sohnly and fifty-something Sharon Doughtery. Not one to rest on her laurels Piggee' also entered and won the under 5' 2" class as well.
Floridian Sydney Moses made the trek all the way across the country to compete in Wenatchee. The golden rays of Sol shined brightly for her as she took the 5' 4" first place trophy and the overall figure sword back to the Sunshine State. The competition for second place between Billy Rhyne and Jami Tautfest ended in a tie and had to be broke by the judges. It ended up with Rhyne in second and Tautfest third.
In the 5' 6" class it was the well-trained physique and confident stage presence (along with a mile wide smile) that gave Angie Corbin seven first place votes. Second place went to Sharon Doughtery and third to Quinn Andrews.
Rachel Scharf was the solid winner in the 5' 8" class, with Mary Sohnly second, and Emily Cox third.
There was no surprise in the over 5' 8" class as Jill Lane took all the first place votes. Lane hasn't been on stage in nearly two years opting to spend time improving her physique. Sporting a wider back and fuller delts it was obvious she used her time well.
One of the highlights of the Evergreen State is the spirited masters men's bodybuilding competition. There were nearly a dozen men ranging from forty to sixty years old. Kris Shumway was the eventual overall winner but had to deal with the towering Ken Ralston who was in his best shape in a long while.
Also in the mix was the big man from Hayden, Idaho, Dan Doughtery. And if that wasn't enough on Shumway's plate he had over sixty winner and perennial favorite Terry Fultz to contend with. Fultz is the nicest guy you would ever want to meet...off stage. On stage he is as sly as a fox and as mean as a junkyard dog.
After several rounds of comparisons and one of the longest posedowns in recent memory Kris Schumway walked off with the overall masters trophy. As an extra treat he received the award from his mentor and idol none other then Terry Fultz.
Kudos must go to Sally West and her crew in Wenatchee. Sally's collaboration with technical director Don Fox on the stage set up and lighting was the best ever, and that is saying a great deal.
Everyones Favorite Post Contest Activity:
In appreciation to all the competitors Sally provides a complimentary pizza and pastry party at Abbey's in East Wenatchee. Free food for post contest bodybuilders? Needless to say the revelry goes until the wee hours of the morning.
My parting shot was of overall winner Matt Porter, who was ending nearly five months of dieting, holding a huge slice of triple topping pizza in one hand and a piece of double chocolate cake in the other. His dilemma: trying to decide which one to eat first.