Thursday - November 18th:
We set off for Johannesburg, South Africa on November 15th from Los Angeles, California for the first ever bodybuilding contest to be judged strictly by "Professional Bodybuilders", as well as put on the first ever Muscle Camp in the Mother Land!
My crew of professional athletes included: The current and reining Fitness MS. Olympia, Adela Freidmansky, 2004 Night of Champions winner, "Marvelous" Melvin Anthony, the beautiful Slovakian Fitness Pro Champion and Cover Girl, Timea Majorova, as well as last years "Rookie of the Year" and former Mr. USA Champion, Troy Alves! Last minute addition to our spectacular line up was USN Sponsored athlete by way of England, was IFBB new Pro and English Pro Champion, 30 yr old Lee Powell from Glouster, England.
My partner from Olympia Fitness Promotions, Tommy Fraser and I began putting this weekend extravaganza together a little more than 9 months ago. With the help of "Title Sponsorship Dollars" and our diligence to make this dream a reality, Tommy and I scrambled to get top quality athletes and people in place to bring "Big Time Bodybuilding" to a country craving information and entertainment.
The fan support and turnout, made our efforts worthwhile, as the athletes and fans were overwhelmed by the professionalism our athletes had regarding our sport and friendships they made in connecting with the fans. This vision of promoting the sport of bodybuilding in South Africa started with an email from 23 year old Tommy Fraser to me a little more than 2 yrs ago. I responded and shared his vision of promoting the sport of Bodybuilding, next thing I knew, I was on a plane to the "Mother Land" for a tour to promote what Joe Weider had taught me in my 16 years with his company, "The Total Bodybuilding Lifestyle" through Health & Fitness.
In February 2004, the door was kicked down in a country looking for motivation and answers, as I toured Johannesburg and Cape Town in February. I promised then, that I would return with friends and give the fans what they truly desired by way of inspiration! Tommy worked feverishly to put all the pieces in place with the support of a major sponsorship in the company of sports nutrition giant, USN!
Tommy shared my vision of giving the fans something they never had before, a top quality weekend that would last a lifetime for both athletes and fans.
The weekend began on Thursday night at Caesars Hotel in Joburg, with a Professional Seminar by the Pro's with a Posing Exhibition Show that would follow. The fans eagerly asked questions of our "Fitness Queens", Timea and Adela, as they took the stage first to answer the questions that surrounded the Ms. Olympia, as well as the future of Fitness in our industry.
Both of them were swamped with questions they would handle with grace, in a straight forward no nonsense kind of way that the audience would embrace.
Later, the men would share the stage with the ladies and shoot straight from the hip regarding questions pertaining to: Training, Competition, Mr. Olympia, Challenge Round, Prize Money, The Internet Fights, Big Ronnie Coleman and his 7 Straight Mr. Olympia Victory, Judging, Weider, Motivation and so on..
This was a highlight of the evening for most of the fans, was realizing that our athletes were "Normal People" with feelings and emotions the magazines could not convey.
The seminar "Humanized" these awesome athletes to the point where the audience could connect with where they were coming from and where they are trying to get to, using Bodybuilding as a tool with respect to their life i.e.; Marriages, Family, Friendships, Jobs, Etc.
After about 2 hrs, the fans got there monies worth, as we opened the second half of our show with the posing exhibition of each pro champion! Coming to the stage was the Rookie from England, having competed in the Pro Ironman and Night of Champions, Lee Powell had been training for the upcoming 2005 Contest season. Lee, reminiscent of a smaller, shorter Jay Cutler, took the stage like a veteran Pro and posed like nobody's business! Truly a great future in store for Lee and this exhibition with fellow Pro's he has admired in the magazines, served as a motivating tool for him to kick his career into high gear for 2005, as his quest to qualify for his 1st ever Mr. Olympia is in high gear!
Following Lee was one of the most photographed women in our Fitness Industry, Slovakian Sensation, Timea Majorova. She moved like a Lioness in a routine that included gymnastics and dance moves that would leave the Men wanting more and the women desiring lessons! Timea no longer competes on the Pro circuit but is still in demand by promoters, as her pictures are famous worldwide with a body and face to die for!
Next up was former Mr. USA and reigning Night of Champions Winner, "Marvelous" Melvin Anthony! Last year's recipient of the first ever award for "Best Presentation" at the Mr. Olympia, Melvin wowed the crowed with moves they had never before seen! Taking a break from Olympia competition this year due to exhaustive traveling and the recent purchase of a new home, Melvin was surprising refreshed after some much needed time off from the gym. Anthony shimmied up and down the pro like a Muscular Michael Jackson with muscles! Later he would break into his famous "Pop Lock" moves and "Ticking" that would bring the crowd to its feet with applause and appreciation! The Marvelous One's next appearance will be at the 2005 Pro Ironman in Pasadena, Ca. as an appetizer for the Arnold Classic in March!
After Melvin brought the crowed to their feet, Ms. Fitness Olympia, Adela Freidmansky would bowl them over with moves to that would make Janet Jackson look like she had 2 left feet! This dynamo would shake, rattle and roll her way into the crowds lap with her style of Salsa, Booty shaking moves that won her the Triple Crown this year:
Pro Fitness International Champion, GNC Pro Fitness Winner and Ms. Fitness Olympia Winning the 3 Majors had never been accomplished before by a Fitness Competitor and probably never be duplicated again! Adela Freidmansky, is the "Queen" of the Fitness world and shared her passion for the sport by way of her entertaining routine the audience fell in love with!
Finally, 2 weeks off his 2nd Mr. Olympia Contest ever, the Phoenix, Arizona trail blazer, Troy Alves took the stage looking nothing short of miraculous in condition that would make IFBB Pro , Dexter Jackson envious of! Troy, totally overlooked at this years Mr. Olympia, held his condition for the fans in Africa and looked the part of a world champion! After flying 26 hrs around the globe, Troy was classically in shape. No rebound from water retention or stomach bloat, we as fans have come to see regarding some guest posers. This man had the fans searching their hearts regarding whether or not they should begin dieting on this night, as Troy displayed separation and cuts they had never before witnessed! A "Big thanks" goes out to this man, for staying on his game after such a long time preparing for the GNC Pro and Mr. O earlier this year, as he will be looking at a Shootout with Melvin in the Pro Ironman early next year!
Friday - November 19th:
Moving on to the promotion of our 1st ever Bodybuilding Contest judged by Pro Athletes: Olympia Fitness Promotions with USN presents Shawn Ray's Muscle Camp Contest
This would be our (Tommy & I) first shot at promoting the future of Bodybuilding in South Africa and to our surprise, the athletes and fans responded overwhelmingly to the call!
Nutrition Giant, USN would step up big time to offer sponsorship packages of Nutrition to the top 3 in every class for the Invitational portion of the contest. We also had an Open Category for all those interested in competing with respect to Figure & Fitness as well as Men.
In our "Invitational" portion of the contest with the help of:
USN, Olympia Fitness Promotions and Shawn Ray Productions We were able to provide the winner with a check for R50,000.00 in South African Rand equivalent to: $9,000.00 USD! As well, we were able to provide the 2nd and 3rd place finishers with additional checks and prize money bringing the total Cash & Prize Awards to: R200,000.00!
The contest winner by way of Cape Town was resident South African Nutrition Store owner, Shameen Adams! Congratulations on winning our 1st Annual event, as we begin to build an even bigger and better event for 2005!
Next year we will be bringing Raffle Items from the Pro's competing in the Mr. Olympia as well, the fans will have the opportunity to win an "All Expense Paid Trip" to the Mr. USA weekend in July and participate in the Las Vegas Muscle Camp as my personal guest!
Saturday - November 20th:
Rising early Saturday morning, the athletes would now get the chance to get back to business and the South African Fans of the Iron game would have the chance to train and learn first hand from our resident IFBB Pro's! Traveling across town the athletes would arrive at the gym ready to Rock n Roll the place. It was like switching gears for them, as they relished the chance to break a serious sweat and workout the Jet Lag from the long journey. Some 30 Campers lined up to train Shoulders with Melvin, Legs with Timea, Arms with Lee, Back with Troy, Pilates, Stretching, Abs & Nutrition with Adela finishing Chest with me!
After spending 40 minutes at each training station before switching to the next Pro, the fans would have the chance to ask the pro's 1st and questions on technique, style, rhythm and reasons for each exercises and muscle they trained. By far the most enjoyable portion for the Pro's as sharing their wisdom and expertise in the area of training is a passion that cannot be measured. The Campers had the change to be photographed training with the athletes as well as break bread with them after the session had been complete.
Overall, there was a bit of sadness at the fact the day had to end. Friendships were formulated and bonds were made, as the commonality of "Health & Fitness" brought us all together in this place for this time. In closing we looked at this time as a beginning rather than an end, of things to come.
Tommy and I are already in negotiations for next year to continue our efforts in becoming the biggest force in this country the sport of bodybuilding has ever seen!
We are promising to bring in more stars of our sport, to educate and encourage the athletes in South Africa! Increase our Prizes and Cash as well as Shock and Amaze our fans with the sports leading Ladies and Gentlemen of Bodybuilding!
Sunday - November 21th:
Once the Training portion of our Muscle Camp had come to an end, we journey out into the "Real AFRICA" about a 4 hr drive into the belly of the Mother Land.
We lodged at a game farm in the wilderness surrounded by God's Country and wild life. We dwelled in Huts and ate food from the land, rich with Wildebeests, Kudu, Zebra, Baboons, Elephants, Gazelle, Snakes, Bucks and more!
The athletes were overwhelmed by the hospitality of Tommy and his friends and helpers: Steve & his brother Ryan Tommy's girlfriend, ______ Christian_______ Eric Heath from USN and his girlfriend_______ Muscle Evolution Publisher, Andrew Carruthers who documented the entire weekend for us & his fiancé, Tanja.
Animal Controller, who brought in the White Lion & Bengal Tiger Cubs ______ Mr. & Mrs. Fraser & Vivian Bus Driver, ______ I am sure there were others who's names I cannot remember but on behalf of my niece, Yvonne and I, as well as the IFBB Pro's, a Special "Thank you" goes out from all of us to you for treating us with Love, Respect and Kindness!
Next year, we shall return 2 weeks after the Mr. Olympia, with a new crop of Pro Bodybuilders and we will pay a visit to Cape Town for the Seminar / Posing portion of our Muscle Camp Weekend, then return to Caesars in Johannesburg for the Bodybuilding Contest and Training session! Wishing everyone that supported our efforts this year, "A huge debt of gratitude" to all of you for helping us in this ground breaking, monumental task together!
See you all next year in November 2005!
Those interested in: "Competing, Sponsoring and Promoting" in the next event, please contact us at:
Tommy Fraser -
Shawn Ray - www.shawnray.net
Andrew Carruthers - firstname.lastname@example.org
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