Review by: Sean “Sully” Sullivan
On June 23rd 65 of the best Natural athletes converged on the Cape Cod Community College Tilden Arts Center to contest for one of the five IFPA pro cards to be given out that night. Competitors came from as far south as DC, as far north as Maine and as far west as Pittsburgh PA making Cape Cod the center of MASS!
The title holds its roots in the old ANBC (American Natural Bodybuilding Conference) that flourished from 1983 through 2004. The Us Natural was established in 1986 and fast became the top title in Natural Bodybuilding. Top athletes such as Greg Rando, Jose Raymond, Nancy Andrews and Mary Greco have been past US Natural Champions.
The OCB adopted this title in 2005 in an effort to carry the great past of the ANBC making this event the 21st US Natural and the longest running Natural National Championship.
The show started with the Figure Novice and 1st time competitor Lisa Cummings came up with the top honors. She was tightly contested by Doreen Merrian and Gina Maddeiena. The rest the top five included Theresa Young in 4th and Lana Grelle.
In the figure masters it was again Lisa Cummings edging Doreen Merrian with Kimberly LaChance a close third and Melissa Wells and Theresa Young in the top five.
In the figure open short class Kelli Correa walked away with top the honor but had the beautiful Veronica Davis close behind. Melissa Wells, Theresa Young and Laura Morley were the top five, but this was one tight class with a high level of natural talent.
In the open tall class it was again Lisa Cummings in 1st, completing the trifecta, with Michelle Murphy one point behind in second and Kristen Roundsley a point behind Michelle in third. It does not get much closer then that! In 4th was future champion Tiffany Foster and Gina Maddelena in 5th.
In the figure overall two pro cards were to be given out and the top two in each class advanced to the final round. This was the first time that this system has been used to determine the pro card recipients when more then one card was to be handed out. The principle behind advancing the top two in each class is so that the two best athletes advance to the pros.
How often do you see results from a show and find the best two athletes are in the same class? If only one advances and more then one card is handed out then the second best athlete did not receive that card. By advancing the top two athletes you assure the proper two competitors advance to the Natural pro level. In this case the judges first decided between Kelli and Lisa for the overall champion.
The judges had to use three judging rules to decide the show champion, that is how tight the decision was, but in the end Lisa made her first competition memorable by being chosen as the figure champion and newest figure pro. Kelli had already earned her IFPA pro status, but had not activated it to allow herself an opportunity at this show, so the second pro card was handed down to a deserving Michelle Murphy.
Men's Teen Bodybuilding Division:
Next up were the teens and this was the best teen class I have seen in decades. The ripped quads of Eric Clifford bested the graceful lines if John Paul Zarba. Zarba is only 17 so much more will be heard from this young man. Steve Rash, Joseph Reutt and Louis Romo finished out the top five.
Two men battled for the 50+ title and Melvin Wear was a muscle and posing marvel showing mass and density men half his age would die for. Melvin was also awarded the shows best poser title. In second was the muscular Bill Willoughby, and at any other event he would have ruled but today was Melvin’s day.
The women’s 40+ was next and Maryanne Dee flexed her way to 1st with Lisa Watson, owner of the best legs in the women’s classes, in 2nd, Rita Concepcion 3rd, Erika Dejesus 4th and Amy Korin in 5th. All five were in top shape and it was not an easy judge’s decision.
Novice Bodybuilding Divisions:
The Novice men’s bodybuilding classes looked more like open classes. All 19 of them were in top shape and had plenty of muscle. I noted that almost all of them posed well and had excellent color. All common errors that novice competitors make, but not this time! The short class was a toss up with teen Eric Clifford, Scott Allen and Jeremy McCurdy battling for top place. In the end Eric’s freaky legs took the top spot with Scott and Jeremy following in that order.
The tall class was another story with Kevin Trosky dominating the rest. The real battle was a four way battle for second. These four could have landed in any order with little dispute but in the end it went Michael Craven, John Cummings, Chris Morley and Steve Britto. Kevin also massed his way in the pose down and was named novice champion.
In the Novice women Jenessa Ray flexed past figure and model star Veronica Davis.
Fitness Model Divisions:
The female model division was next and these ladies showed beauty, poise and elegance through the swimwear and sports wear rounds. In first was figure short class champion Kelli Correa, Veronica Davis in 2nd, Sarah Castle in 3rd, Tiffany Foster 4th and Megan Roller 5th.
The male models were next to take the stage and after three rounds of difficult judging Chris Cassciano took the division with Jason Almeida the runner up and Michael Nicolas in 3rd.
Open Bodybuilding Divisions:
When the women open took the stage the judge’s work got harder. Nine top physiques contested for the pro card but only one could win. In what seem like the longest prejudging in history a champion was finally chosen, Maryanne Dee became the newest IFPA women’s pro bodybuilder. First time competitor Erica DeJesus was 2nd with Lisa Watson a close 3rd. Rita Concepcion landed in 4th and Kimberly LaChance was 5th.
The men’s open was divided into three classes by height. In the short class teen sensation and novice short class winner Eric Clifford bested Donald Ferrera and Glenn Nazarian to take the top spot. One notable competitor was James White in 5th. James was the recipient of the promoter’s award given to the competitor who displays the best sportsmanship and attitude. James was a credit to the show and his placements will jump in the future.
In the medium Steve Sims mass was just too much for the symmetrical and shredded Steve Constantine. The medium tall class was the battle royal with six physiques that could win almost any other natural show. Jude Camach was fresh off the middle weight class victory the week before at the INBF CT show but only pushed to 5th in this outstanding class.In 4th was mass monster and novice champion Kevin Trosky.
Then things really got hot. In 3rd was Ken Stewert, the man with perhaps the best chest and back I have ever seen. Had Stewert come in a few pounds tighter the results could have been quite different. The final two were the shredded Brett Otori and massive and freaky James Carron. This was the closest class of the night and James edged Brett by the smallest of margins, 1 point! In the tall class Brian Cassidy cruised to victory and the most muscular award, Michael Craven 2nd, John Cummings 3rd, Ripped Russ Kleecamp 4th and 5th went to the balance Chris Morley.
For the men’s overall the top two in each of the classes advanced to battle for the two pro cards on the line. The eight of them were a sight to see and all can and perhaps will one day be pro bodybuilders. After it was all said and done Steve Sims nudged Brett Otori out of the 1st pro card and James Carron cruised his way to a unanimous overall championship.
I would like to thank the judges, staff, spectators and the competitors for making this show so easy on Deb and I. It was wonderful making so many friends and seeing such great physiques on stage. Congratulations to all who competed and especially to the new IFPA pros.
The event was sponsored by bodybuilding.com, providing each competitor with a quality T-shirt, and Star Chem. labs who not only provided quality supplements for each goody bag but also paid for the urinalysis test of each competitor who received a pro card (every competitor was tested by polygraph before the start of the event) Star Chem. Labs wanted to show that they not only produce some of the best supplements on earth but are dedicated to Natural bodybuilding.
I just thought I'd let you know, how great it was to be at the OCB Spring Nationals, and how it feels really nice to be a part of a professional and friendly organization. I want to thank You and all the people at the Sports corner for your help and support in competing.
Sincerely, Steve B.
It was great to finally meet you. Thanks for putting together such a great show this past weekend. It really was a blast!
Sean and Debbie,
You both are a credit to the OCB.. I am aware of the time and effort that go into promoting a show and you both made it look easy. Your staff of expeditors, master of ceremonies and judges did an outstanding job on keeping the show pumping. My wife (Lillian) and I enjoyed our first visit to the Cape Cod area. We look forward to the opportunity to return to the COD. Keep up the impressive work.