[ Q ] Thank you, John, for giving me some time out of your busy schedule for this interview, Bodybuilding.com and myself really appreciate it. First off could you give us some background information on yourself and how you got into the industry?
This is my 51st year in bodybuilding. I started out as a 14-year-old wanting to be bigger and stronger. I was a competitor in both bodybuilding and Olympic style weightlifting for 12 years. I promoted my first major contest in 1970-71 with Bill Pearl; it was the AAU Mr. America held in Culver City, California. I am also the publisher/editorial director of Iron Man Magazine.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Photo On Left Copyright © 1968 Steve Downs.
John Balik At Age 26 & Co-Promoter, Bill Pearl.
[ Q ] Let's start off by asking what exactly is the Iron Man?
The Iron Man Pro/FitExpo has evolved into a three-day weekend of superstar seminars/strong man events, an NPC Figure competition, and a fittest couple competition with the IFBB Iron Man Pro bodybuilding contest as its centerpiece. In addition, there are over 100 booths at the FitExpo.
[ Q ] Where will the Iron Man take place?
The Vyotech Iron Man FitExpo Weekend will take place in Pasadena, California, USA at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and conference center at 300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA on Feb. 16-18, 2007.
[ Q ] For those of us who will be coming to the show, what hotels do you recommend people stay at? What are some of the best places in the area to eat at?
The headquarters hotel is the Pasadena Sheraton, which is adjacent to the venue.
Pasadena is a great restaurant town with many terrific places to eat. It really gets down to preferences and budget. Go to pasadenacal.com and there is everything you want to know about Pasadena, California, its restaurants and hotels.
At the Expo itself we have plenty of high protein and fresh foods available. Within walking distance you have Ruth Chris for steaks, Tokyo Wacko for sushi and teppanyaki, for gourmet Chinese, go to Yujean Kangs and PF Changs, and the ever-present Starbucks and fast food outlets are everywhere.
[ Q ] I heard there will be another Webcast of this years events. What are your thoughts on that?
With the help of Bodybuilding.com we were the first to do a free Webcast of a bodybuilding event. I think it is a great opportunity to promote the virtues of our wonderful sport, generate additional exposure for our sponsors, and hopefully attract new fans and participants. Our auditorium only holds 3000 people but the worldwide audience is huge.
[ Q ] Could you give us the schedule for this year's Iron Man (dates and times of each of the events)?
- Press Conference/Men's Check-in, Friday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. (Expo stage)
- Meet the Pros, Friday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. (Expo stage)
- Men's Judging: Saturday, Feb. 17 at 10:00 a.m. (Civic Auditorium)
- Figure Judging: Saturday, Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m. (Expo stage)
- Men/Figure Finals: Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7:00 p.m. (Civic Auditorium)
- FitExpo Hours: Fri/Sat/Sun, Feb. 16, 17, 18 - visit www.thefitexpo.com
There are so many events, it will be hard to list them all here. The full program is on our contest website at www.ironmanpro.com. A partial schedule of the major bodybuilding contests is as follows:
[ Q ] How can anyone who is interested purchase tickets and what are the prices?
- Men's Judging ($40)
- Figure Judging ($13)
- Men & Figure Finals ($75, $50)
- FitExpo ($13 per day or $25 for 3 days)
- *VIP Package ($125) includes Judging/Finals + 3-Day Expo pass, first 15 rows Orchestra seating and the 2007 IRON MAN Pro DVD. Limited seating. First come first serve.
- **Gold VIP Package ($299) includes everything from the VIP Package but with even better seats plus After Party, exclusive training session with the pros, Gold Room party during the finals, photo with Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, and tons of free stuff from our sponsors. Package is limited to 100 people.
You can purchase tickets at www.ironmanprotickets.com or by calling 1-800-447-0008.
There's also a special Bodybuilding.com package called BodySpace Privilege Pass that's available only on Bodybuilding.com.
[ Q ] Who all will be competing in this year's event?
We usually have about 20-25 of the world's top professional men bodybuilders. A partial list is on our contest site www.graphicmuscle.com.
[ Q ] What prizes are up for grabs for the winners for 2007?
There's over $30,000 in prize money available with $15,000 going to the first place winner.
[ Q ] Are there any changes in this year's Iron Man compared to 2006?
One of the big changes is that the IFBB has made the top five finishers eligible for the Mr. Olympia, that is up from three in previous years.
[ Q ] What are your predictions for this year's result? Anyone in particular that you think has a great chance of winning or someone who you would like to see win in this years events?
Because the list is still coming together, I don't have a prediction other than we will have many of the best pro bodybuilders in the world on stage in Pasadena and the results will be up to the judges. Many winners from our event have gone on to win the Arnold Classic that follows the Iron Man two weeks later.
[ Q ] Before we part, is there anything else you would like to add or say?
I would like to say that producing an event like this requires the collaboration and hard work of many people. Bodybuilding.com has been and continues to be an indispensable part of this collaboration to help competitive bodybuilding grow. Everyone there is dedicated to bodybuilding; their name says it all.
Also, many of the country's leading supplement companies sponsor the Iron Man FitExpo. These include Vyotech, Gaspari Nutrition, NxLabs, VPX, MET-Rx, Worldwide Nutrition, Prolab, and Muscle Milk. Their contributions really enable events like ours to take place.