May 17th, 2005
Looking back on my first Pro/Am Classic promotion, I realized how grateful I am to have friends, sponsors and athletes I've grown up with over the last 20 years in the sport supporting my efforts.
I especially appreciate the friends I've made in the last couple of years since my retirement from competition, who helped make this show a roaring success! My company, Vyo-Tech Nutritionals, my partner, Colorado District Chairman, Jeff Taylor are nothing short of amazing when it comes to the details and behind-the-scenes aspects of putting together a first class team!
I went into this project knowing all the things I love about our sport and the things I hate about it. Looking at it from different perspectives certainly helped - as a professional athlete competing in the show, to a fan watching the show and a promoter promoting a show.
I tried to cover all the areas of promotion for everyone involved to make a memorable event impressionable so that everyone would want to come back and take part year after year!
I chose Denver, CO because it is one of the "Fittest Cities in America!" The surrounding area is beautiful, the time of year was nothing short of spectacular as far as the weather is concerned!
Everything an athlete or fan needs is only a short distance away from top quality restaurants, entertainment, shopping and relaxation. On top of that, the hotel rates were really accommodating for all parties involved!
I chose the Colorado Convention Center because I have always felt professional bodybuilding contests should have the feel of something BIG! Like a heavyweight title fight or the Super Bowl championship! The multi-million dollar facility offers us room to grow as a show, in the way the Arnold Classic has without having to relocate in a couple of years as we grow.
Jeff Taylor and I assembled an All Star team that made the functioning part of the show very easy for the athletes and ourselves. Steve McAdams of Body Rock Productions came into handle the stage, set design, lighting, music and direction.
Pam Betz was our field general regarding the organizing of the NPC Athletes and show functions. Kim Klein, was our Chief expeditor backstage, directing the athletes. Isaac Hinds was in charge of our print ads, web site and promotions on the Internet.
I decided to come on strong to let the athletes know that I meant business and they would be paid onstage and in FULL! I had some great sponsors who helped make this payday possible for these athletes:
We had the most competitive line-up in many years regarding our top 10 athletes! New comers, Phil Heath, Bill Wilmore and Marcus Haley made the show worth attending, as these guys have great futures ahead of them! Some cagey veterans of the IFBB - Darrem Charles, Rodney St. Cloud, Jason Arntz and the return of Gary Strydom really made things interesting!
I have signed on for the next 2 years to continue to follow my dream of promoting our sport! Next year we will be back in action and possibly adding an IFBB Pro Fitness competition to the roster for Friday night, along with championship arm wrestling, gymnastics, wrestling and karate during the EXPO!
The Contest Winner:
Phil Heath did not surprise many people who knew him. He continued his winning streak of 6 in a row, as he served notice to many IFBB Pro's out there by beating a good line up of athletes including a "Peaked" Darrem Charles!
My personal opinion of Phil is that if he shows up at the Mr. Olympia in this kind of condition and shape he would rest comfortably in the top 3 and give Jay Cutler all he could handle. I think he has what it takes to replace a guy like Ronnie Coleman atop the Olympia Seat and has Father Time on his side due to his young age of 26!
Congratulations to all our raffle winners of the prizes (Cell Phones, iPods, Dinner Certificates, Contest Tickets, DVD Player, CD Player, Magazine Subscriptions, Sponsor Packages and more), including Jim Bluff from Utah for winning the 2006 Hummer H3!
Overall, I had the time of my life, impacting other people's lives through this promotion. Bringing BIG TIME Bodybuilding to a state like Colorado is exciting because the people are so nice and into fitness! I hope I am part of the process in "Raising the Bar" for contest promotions & prizes. This is also why Jeff Taylor & Co. deserve a lot of recognition for their role in making this show a success!
We intend to add 1000 people per/yr in the seats until we are at Full Capacity of 5000 Fans watching this event!
We will be back June 1st & 2nd of 2007!
Visit my web site: www.shawnray.com.