The Jim Manion-run Pro Masters men's event was to be a follow on from the now defunct Masters Mr. Olympia. It was highly anticipated and promised to give the fans a taste of muscle maturity at its best, as well as some of the sports legendary physiques. It succeeded on both these counts.
2006 Masters Pro World Championships Highlights
With a full line-up of 25 competitors, with notables such as past Masters Olympia winner Claude Groulx, the massive Bob Cicherillo and seasoned competitor and winner of three pro shows, Pavol Jablonicky, the Masters Pro proved to be a great show. Pre-show predictions and hype suggested Jablonicky and Groulx would battle it out for the top spot.
Bob Cicherillo, however, had other plans and trounced them both to win his very first pro show, to place himself at the top of the Master's competition ladder. For final placings and commentary on the show, read on...
The Top Five
First Place: Bob Cicherillo
As documented on Bodybuilding.com's The Fit Show over recent weeks, Bob Cicherillo has trained hard while maintaining the mindset that this would be his show to lose, should he arrive in shape. Bob certainly predicted correctly as his powerful physique - arguably the most balanced onstage - did the talking to win over the judges and take first place.
For this contest, his first pro win, Bob presented a balanced physique with no glaring weaknesses, which stood out by virtue of its sheer size. Although some might disagree, this win did not appear to be a complete walkover as Bob was up against at least three worthy contenders.
However, no one can argue with the result and Bob should be happy with his efforts. Congratulations, Bob, on a wonderful showing and best of luck for future competitions!
Second Place: Johnnie Stewart
No slouch in the muscle department, Johnnie Stewart has a competitive history going all the way back to 1978 where he placed 4th in the Junior category at the AAU Iron Man Muscle Classic. Since then he has been a regular competitor in the NPC Team Universe Championships, garnering high placing's with every outing.
A win at the NPC Masters Nationals in 2002 enabled him to turn pro and a second place at the 2003 Masters Olympia proved he had what it took to compete with the best pros around. In this Pro Masters Professional World Championships, Johnnie pushed Bob all the way as he presented a dense well-conditioned look, with possibly the best back onstage.
Possibly pound for pound the most solid competitor onstage, Johnnie was worthy of his second placing and should be competitive in this category for however long he chooses to compete.
Third Place: Pavol Jablonicky
Although noticeably smaller than in previous appearances, Pavol Jablonicky still presented the same classy physique that has won him three pro shows - with top ten placing's in many others - and given him a following among bodybuilding fans the world over.
Two years ago, Pavol beat out many top competitors to place 11th at the Mr Olympia 2004. Many felt he could have placed higher based on his conditioning at the time. At the 2006 Pro Masters, the 5' 8" Pavol (in the eyes of many, the favorite going into the show) showed the same great conditioning. However, given the quality beef the top two presented, Pavol must be happy with third.
Fourth Place: Claude Groulx
Finishing 21st, 15th and 19th in his last three Mr. Olympia appearances says more for the quality of physique presented at these shows than it does for 2003 Masters Olympia winner Claude Groulx from Canada.
Competing in his first pro show "The Niagara Falls Pro Cup" in 1995, Claude has gone on to compete as a pro every year since... in the process developing a reputation as one who always arrives in shape.
He can claim to be amongst the top five Masters pros in the world after his showing at the Pro Masters in New York. At this show, Claude presented his usual ripped physique replete with massive shoulder and back development.
Another favorite going into the show, Claude seems to have packed on even more mass since his last appearance. One thing to note, however... his waist was very blocky in some poses which might have cost him a few placings. Compared to Claude, Bob, Johnnie, and Pavol each bought a very streamlined midsection.
Fifth Place: Stan McCrary
Stan "Curly Top" McCrary presented the largest physique on the Pro Masters stage with arms stretching the tape to over 22 inches at over 260 lbs. bodyweight. Stan turned pro by winning the 1995 North American Bodybuilding Championships and achieved his highest pro placing, 9th, at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix.
Although Stan was never in the running to beat Bob for the top placing, he did present one of the biggest physiques ever to be seen on a bodybuilding stage - anywhere. After seeing some of the less than impressive competitors competing at this show, it was refreshing to see someone of Stan's size posing with such enthusiasm. Good work, big guy!
The remaining competitors ranged from the well-conditioned symmetrical physique to the kind that would find it hard to place in an amateur contest.
The top five had no fear of being overtaken by any of the others, save the possible exception of John Simmons, Daryl Stafford, and Rusty Jeffers (who many felt was ripped off).
Controversial Placing Of The Evening
One competitor who stood out as being a possible top five competitor was Fit Show star Rusty Jeffers who displayed a very well-balanced physique with an appreciable amount of size and a near perfect X-frame. His posing was also possibly the best onstage - he hit the Arnold shot perfectly, which is very hard to do. Rusty will be back.
The Pro Masters World Championships show was overall an exciting event for bodybuilding fans, as it showcased the best Masters competitors in the world. Bob Cicherillo proved he had the best package, but his main competition also showed a ton of class. Let's hope this contest continues in line with the emergence of many of the top champions of the past!
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