The kickoff of the spring NPC bodybuilding, fitness, and figure season was held on March 31st at the Skyview high school auditorium in Vancouver, Washington USA. And what a kick off it was. The 2007 Vancouver USA Natural Classic Championships drew one hundred twenty-five of the best natural competitors from the Pacific Northwest and over eighteen hundred muscle-minded spectators.
This, being the second year of the Frank Bohm/Tanji Johnson collaboration, proved to be the most successful show ever. Featured guest posers were IFBB pros Bob Cicherillo, Victor Martinez, and Tami Ough. Rounding out the cream of the crop of celebrities was the irrepressible MC Kim “Kong” Farrison.
It was great to see the Fitness division make a strong comeback. Tanji Johnson has been tireless in her quest to “Save Fitness.” Judging from the number and caliber of competitors I say she is right on track. This year’s show even featured a junior fitness class. Mackenize Allen’s bubbling personality sole the hearts of many as the lone competitor.
Allen’s routine displayed some high-flying gymnastics as well as some strength and flexibility moves that grabbed everyone’s attention from the get go.
In the women’s fitness class there was a great bouquet of talent featuring all different types of physiques and styles. Winner Kolbie Best had a strong routine that highlighted her emphasis on dance and aerobics. Figure crossover, Kristina Lum, brought her usual grace and beauty to the swimsuit round but it was her fitness routine that she really shined.
Lum took a year off to pursue her fitness goals and it was evident in her overall presentation. Third place winner Safiya Johnson, who is no stranger to Northwest fitness stages, came all the way from North Carolina to bring it on. And bring it on she did. Her routine was one of the highlights of the evening.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention fourth place winner Genie Markwell. Markwell came on the scene a few years ago in a “Miss Bikini” competition, caught the competitive bug, did well in figure and now she is on her way in fitness. The transformation of her body in a few short years is nothing short of remarkable.
Without a question the bulk of the competitors came from the figure divisions. This could be the sign that the show has grown into a two-day event. Besides the number of competitors it was the quality that made judging difficult. Figure has finally come of age. No more is it comprised of women training for a few months.
This crop of women has been training and dieting for years. I believe the Northwest will become known as a hot bed of figure as it has been in the past for fitness.
Over 35 winner Shawna Charboneau is one such lady. She has been training for quite a while now and has steadily improved her physique and presentation at each show. Second place Carole Fallstead showed great symmetry and was a standout in the class. Diesta Goldsmith, who took third, is a former Northern Classic winner a few years back.
In the figure under 5’3” class, winner Jennifer Pietila was eleven points in front of second place Sheia Malmoe. Pietila possessed the perfect mix of symmetry, muscle and conditioning. Danielle Davis finished third in a class of thirteen lovely ladies.
Under 5’5” winner, Elsie Huxtable, is another woman who has worked hard and paid her dues. A few short years ago she was a beginning bodybuilder. Her lack of size was a hindrance to her. But still she persisted. This year was the first time I had seen her in the figure division.
All the things that held her back as a bodybuilder worked to her advantage. She had one of the best-shaped bodies of the night, just hard enough to make her a contender for the overall title. Susie Hoverson is another woman who just doesn’t quit. Hoverson, who could compete in the masters, missed the winner’s trophy by four points.
Kolbie Best missed defeating Hoverson by a single point. That is how close these decisions were all night.
Linda Nelson’s wide shoulders and narrow waist were the strengths that gave her the edge in defeating second place winner Tonia Francis for the top trophy in the Under 5’7” class. Third place, Kelly Weatherman, had a smile that could light up Times Square during a blackout and her stage presentation was flawless.
The Over 5’7” class was dominated by winner Mary Hallman. Hallman stood out in all areas. She was well proportioned between her upper and lower body. Her shoulders were wide and the sweep in her thighs created a dramatic accent to her narrow waist. She walked the stage like she owned it.
Second place Shanna Tuthill came on strong for a first timer and will be a force in the future. Erica Aydelotte took a well-deserved third place.
The overall comparisons brought the crowd to life. As the quarter turns unfolded it became evident that the overall title was between Elsie Huxtable and Mary Hallman. At the end it was Hallman who received the title of 2007 Tanji Johnson Figure Overall.
Master’s Men Over Forty:
Mark Kimble came to Vancouver as a timid first timer and left a seasoned competitor and with a newly christened moniker, “Madman Mark Kimble” First place winner Kimble effortlessly pushed his way through second place, Chris Smith, and third place John Simms. With his new found confidence he had his eye on the overall master’s trophy.
Master’s Men Over Fifty:
Someone else had his eye on the master’s trophy too. That someone was sixty-year old Frank Endresen, a veteran of many years of muscle wars. Endresen swept his way through the Over Fifty division beating the likes of second place Harry Blair and third place Richard Burke, neither of who are slouches.
Ah, the innocence of youth. Even a forty-five year old youngsters like Madman Mark Kimble needs to be taken to the woodshed every once in a while. It was on this evening in Vancouver, Washington that The Madman woke the Sleeping Bear. Andresen pounded Kimble with one classic bodybuilding pose after the next.
The ecstatic fans were whipped to frenzy by the time Kim Farrison called Endresen as the winner. A humbled Madman graciously conceded to the Bear. But like I mentioned above, Kimble is just a baby and I have a feeling he will be back with a vengeance.
Women’s Novice Bodybuilding:
Diana Franckowiak was the solo competitor in the women’s novice lightweight division. Heavyweight winner Barbara Anecone took all seven first place votes to defeat second place, Dusty Mink, and third place Heather Munson. Anecone also took home the women’s novice overall award.
Men’s Novice Bodybuilding:
As women’s bodybuilding numbers decline the men continue to grow. The caliber of the novice men’s division was quite impressive. Not only in numbers but also in quality of competitors! The future looks bright in the men’s ranks.
Novice Lightweight Mike Klettke posed himself into the winner’s circle. He displayed some great muscularity and detail for a lightweight. Brandon Repp, who placed second, also showed great conditioning, especially in his midsection. Third place Andy Tedfrod brought a great routine to the stage that was well received.
Novice middleweight winner and eventual overall winner Henry Jones finally dialed it in. He has been lurking on the edge the past year taking thirds and fourths. This night he got his due. Second place D’ghon Culpepper came on strong and posed well. Culpepper wasn’t enough for Henry Jones but just enough to send Lee Dougherty home with the third place trophy.
It was a close match up between Brent Woodall and Garrett Cornatzer in novice heavyweights. Cornatzer got the first place nod due to his well-proportioned legs. If Woodall fills out in the legs things could be different for the likes of Cornatzer.
Open Women’s Bodybuilding:
In the middleweights Nancy Lublink’s persistence paid off. She has been knocking on the door for a while. Saturday night she kicked it off the hinges taking all of the judge’s number one votes for the Women’s Open Overall. Heavyweight Victoria Reese posed well in her victory over second place Ingrid Hutchinson.
Open Men’s Bodybuilding:
It was an interesting face-off between bantamweights Douglas Horton and Jerry Bigler. Horton eventually took first leaving Bigler to be satisfied with second. It was the posedown between these two bantams that was the highlight of the evening. Each competitor matching the other with their best poses! MC Farrison let the battle go until the clamor threatened the roof of the Skyview auditorium.
Open lightweight winner James Harris was in the best shape of his competitive career. He has moved through the novice ranks and has bloomed into a great lightweight competitor. His size belies his danger as an open competitor and he not one to turn your back on.
Posing master extraordinaire, David Williams came back from a year layoff to take second and the big surprise of the evening was third place winner, Shinji Ogita. Ogita has a future in Northwest bodybuilding.
Middleweight winner Joey Hawkin’s posing routine was one of the best of the evening. Hawkin’s is a neo-classicist making old-style poses look new and exciting. It was his great build and movie star good looks that placed Steve Vargas in second place.
There is no doubt who ruled the roost during the evening. Light-heavyweight winner Joe Derousie brought one of the best packages that I have ever seen at the Vancouver show. He was thick and full, shredded and vascular, and his posing routine was commanding. Second place winner, Justin Scott, looked great but was no match for Derousie’s thickness.
Third place winner Juan Jose Alonso is destined for greatness. He has been making steady progress the past few years. If he ever dials in his diet he will be unstoppable.
The heavyweight class was stacked with three phenomenal physiques. Third place Anthony Moore presented himself well as did second place Joseph Marcell Scott. Scott is one of those people that loves to compete and always makes a good showing. The big dog of the evening, first in the heavyweights John Smith came ready, willing, and able to take the overall title.
The Battle For Overall:
When the men lined up for the overall comparisons everyone knew the end of a long night was near. But it was worth the wait. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Joe Derousie was going to be the overall winner. Someone forgot to tell John Smith. Smith came on stronger as the final minutes ticked off.
After Farrison moved Derousie and Smith to the other end of the stage things began to look different. Smith became a man possessed; fighting his way through some several abdominal cramps. After the comparisons were through Farrison called for the posedown and the real battle began.
All eyes were on Derousie and Smith as they went toe-to-toe. James Harris squeezed in between the two behemoths doing his best to grab some stage time. Time seemed to stop as the mêlée grew in intensity.
After the battle weary were put back into their line Joe Derousie was declared the 2007 VancouverUSA Natural Classic Overall Champion.
Bob Cicherillo, known simply as “Chick” to those who know and love him; and even to those who don’t, is one of the most popular celebrities to appear at the VanNat since it’s humble beginnings nearly twenty-five years ago. Chick’s Herculean physique, handsome looks and biting wit have made him one of the most sought after pros on the circuit.
Co-Host Of Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Radio.
He is co-host of the popular radio show Pro Bodybuilding Weekly, the IFBB athlete’s rep, bodybuilding historian, new husband and father, and arguably the most outspoken voice in the sport today. Love him or hate him; Chick is one of the biggest assets in professional bodybuilding at the moment.
IFBB pro Victor Martinez, still in great shape from his recent Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic win, brought the house down with his guest posing appearance. Martinez is one of the leaders in the future of the sport with his streamlined body that emphasize symmetry and proportions over sheer mass and distended abdominals.
Winner, 2007 Arnold Classic!
Photo By SecondFocus.
Week #51 - 3/06/2007
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Did I mention that this guy could pose? His routine flowed like the grace of a synchronized swimmer with the power of a Mac truck. Martinez is a contrast in genres.
Former Emerald Cup Fitness winner and now IFBB pro Tami Ough performed the kind of routine that shows why she is destined to become a household name in the pro ranks. Fitness is alive, well and in good hands with talent like Tami Ough taking stages around the country.
Without a doubt the most impressive asset of the evening were the fans. Bodybuilding shows are notorious for being too long and the spectators getting placid. Not this night. Not this crowd. Throughout the night I noted that the decibel level continued to stay high. As a result the competitors gave back even more. That is how a physique competition should be.