“HOW DID YOU NOT WIN?”
“What’re you talking about? I got 3rd! That’s where I saw myself.”
“No way!! You CLEARLY had the best routine up there in your group. Are those judges blind?”
I laughed. My nephew didn’t have a clue as to what bodybuilding was all about. He and the rest of my family and many friends came for the first time to one of my shows when I had our church youth group as part of a posing routine for an Emerald Cup several years ago. He was right. We rocked. I won the Best Poser award. But I didn’t win my class. I didn’t have the best physique onstage. But in his, and many others eyes, I SHOULD have won based upon stage presence, entertainment value, and smile. He, as so many others think, thought the night show, and what I did and how others looked AT NIGHT, was the determining factor in placement. Wrong.
This blog is designed to help competitors’ family, friends, and loved ones ‘understand’ our crazy sport. Feel free to share, post, send, and anything else you wanna do with it as far as social media is concerned. Heck, use it to line the cat litter box…maybe lil’ fluffy will read it and understand you better.
As a first-time spectator enters the Meydenbauer Center, he or she is overwhelmed by the sights, the sounds, and the SMELL of competition. Bronzed bodies walking around, some covered up, some ¾ naked, some in silk robes, and some just chillin’ lying on the floor in a corner. The lobby itself is buzzing with excitement, anticipation, and frenzy. Is this the right line? Have they started yet? Where’s everyone going? Why isn’t anyone moving? I go where? Huh? What? Spectators bump into you. Competitor’s buzz past you holding their bags. Big bodies. Fit bodies. Beautiful bodies. People yelling across the room as old friendships amongst competitors are renewed. “DUDE!! Look at you, man…you all swole up! You competing today?” “Oh my God…you look AMAZING!” A couple of common sentences, which you’ll hear throughout the afternoon or evening depending upon whether you (as a spectator) go to morning pre-judging or the night time finals.
The morning what? Night time huh? Let’s see if I can make sense of this for you. The morning of the event is called the Pre-Judging, in which the competitors are judged and placed. There’s a Friday pre-judging and a Saturday pre-judging. Yes, there’s a fee to get in – $20. Unfortunately you won’t find out the placings at that time. You’ll have to wait until the night show, which means you’ll have to buy another ticket and come back. The Friday and Saturday night finals ticket prices are $30, $35, and $40. It’s at the finals in which you’ll find out how your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or BFF placed. The night show is also known as the Awards Presentation, as that’s when the Top 5 are announced, the class winners are announced, and then the class winners go up against each other to determine the Overall Winner of a particular division. I call the night show the ‘Glitz-n-Glamour’ or ‘Entertainment Value’ portion of the contest. In essence, the ‘contest’ is judged during pre-judging, and trophies are awarded during the ‘Night Show’. Hope that clarified things a bit. For more information on all of this, click here.
Back on point…
You, the spectator, enters the Meydenbauer Center Convention Room…WHOA!! Look at all the people milling about. Look at the bodies! Look at the booths! Look at the girls!! (I’m a guy…don’t judge me…). You start walking around, getting caught up in all the hoopla. You notice the giant big screens playing loops of competitors talking, training, and having fun. You walk up one isle and down another, taking in all the samples, looking at everything, being completely overwhelmed by it all. With close to 50 booths, if not more, you’ll see everything from supplement companies to cosmetic surgery, to clothing. Shameless plug here…be sure to stop by my booth – BUFFEDWEAR – and check out all of our new gear. We print on the fly, so if you see a saying or graphic you like, pick a shirt style or color you like, and give us a couple of minutes, we’ll print up your custom-designed shirt(s) right there AT GREAT PRICES. We’re booth #46. Stop by, say ‘hi’, let’s take a pic, and you can even enter our drawing to win a free shirt…or two…or three! End shameless plug…
Personally, I can never get enough of walking up and down the aisles. So much to see, so little time to see it. The E-Cup promoters, Brad and Elaine Craig, definitely know how to put on a grand event. They cater to the audience, the vendors, and the competitors by providing one of the best venues in the NW.
Uh-oh…pre-judging’s starting. You make your way to an open seat. Prejudging seats are general admission. People like me seldom sit for more than a couple of minutes…I get antsy. I’m up, down, and walkin’ all around. If I have a team competitor going in, I’ll find a seat up close or squat down in an aisle. As soon as his or her class is over, I’m up again. To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I stayed in one seat an entire show. That’s not me. But most spectators do.
Out come the competitors, class after class. Some classes you’re into. Some you’re not. You’re trying to figure out what’s going on. “Why did he step forward?” “How come she wasn’t brought up front?” I chuckle as I type this, because competitors would say, “How come he/she wasn’t called out?” We have a language all our own come contest day. You’ll hear words like, “ROTATE”, “CHEST UP”, “QUADS”, “HAMS”, “BLOW IT OUT…BLOW IT OUT”, (blow what out?), and many others. Eventually you’ll start figuring it out. You might even be good enough to pick who you think would win his or her class. But I’ve gotta warn you, in many classes, the physiques will be so close that you’ll throw your hands up in frustration and scream, “What are the judges looking for?” People will be yelling for their guy or gal, as you will. Go ahead, yell! If you’re up close and it’s kinda quiet during your friend’s class, you yelling will lighten everything up and draw a laugh from the crowd. It’s okay to be loud and vociferous at these shows. Prejudging can last several hours. But the Craig Production team is definitely on point in running one of the smoothest prejudging’s around. And with it being a two day event, not all classes and competitors are packed into one morning’s prejudging. So expect things to go fairly quickly.
Once prejudging is done, the auditorium quickly empties, the vendors close up their booths, and all the staff exit to grab a bite to eat and rest up for the night show – the finals. As a spectator, if you thought the morning stuff was wild, you definitely don’t wanna miss the night show! To steal a line from the old Rap group, Houdini, “The Freaks Come Out At Night” at the evening show. Oh it’s ON! Guys with more muscles than you can shake a stick at are walking around in skin-tight shirts. Girls with more wow-n-pow (guys, put your eyes back in your heads) are in skin-tight everything, including 4, 5, and even 6-inch heels struttin’ their stuff. Eye candy overload if you’re into that kind of thang. And this happens BOTH nights! My recommendation? Go to both pre-judging’s and both finals. Take it all in. You’ll be glad you did! But in case you can’t, let’s talk about what to expect at the night shows.
At last year’s E-Cup, it literally was shoulder-to-shoulder most of the time down the main aisles. I expect it to be even more of that this year as the Craig’s are bringing in the Pro Women’s Physique division. I don’t really know what to say except expect the unexpected. You’ll be shocked and amazed at the physiques onstage at the night show. For most classes, trying to guess the winner will be like arguing who’s better – LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobi Bryant, or Michael Jordan all in their prime (okay…bad example…Mike would crush em all…). But you get my point. There’s gonna be so many Beautiful Bikini bodies, Fit Figure bodies, Poppin’ Physique bodies, and Buffed Bodybuilding bodies that it’ll boggle your mind. And that’s when you’ll sound like my nephew – “HOW COULD HE/SHE NOT WIN? Remember, they were judged in the morning by seven judges only a few feet from them who literally had the best seats in the house. It’s subjectivity at its best. And here’s something else to ponder…a person could look fantastic in the morning, over-carb or over-drink, come back to the night show and look worse but place high or win and you’ll be wondering, “What the heck is going on?” On the flipside, a person could miss his/her mark in the a.m., do a little manipulation between shows and come back looking awesome in the night show and not win. It’s enough to have you pullin’ out your extensions if you didn’t go to the pre-judging(s).
What can I say about THE BEST MC this side of the Mississippi…and probably on the other side as well, that hasn’t already been said? Kim “Kong” Farrison, my high school friend and long-time lifting partner from back in the day is the bomb, hands down. He’s high energy, quick-witted, and dresses to the max. His stage presence alone is worth the price of admission. And there’ll be plenty of guest performers as well both nights to entertain you.
This past weekend at the Vancouver Natural, one of my old competitors, Gerry Bernebe, introduced me to his friend who was attending his first contest. You know how dogs are constantly looking around at their environment taking in every sight, sound, smell, and movement? That’s what Gerry’s friend was like. Gerry laughed as he said, “My friend is like a kid in a candy store running between the booths, watching the bikini girls, and looking at all the tanned bodies walking around.” Yup…that pretty much sums it up. All I can say is, if Gerry’s friend had a ball at the Vancouver, then you’re in for the experience of your life at the Emerald Cup! Enjoy the experience…peace…