A New Twist on an Old Standby
By Mark Mason
Brad and Elaine Craig spun the wheel of fortune and moved the Washington Ironman, a mainstay in Northwest bodybuilding, to the ballroom of the newly christened Snoqualmie Casino. After seeing the parade of one hundred fifty of the best natural bodybuilding, fitness, figure and bikini athletes from the tri-state area I would say the gamble paid off in spades.
Featured guest poser at the show was IFBB pro Troy Alves. Only one week beyond his appearance at what was arguably the best Mr. Olympia lineup since its inception forty-five years ago, Alves held the crowd mesmerized with his perfectly balanced physique and his neo-classic posing. One of pro bodybuilding’s most underestimated competitors, Troy Alves is now at the pinnacle of his revitalized career.
Another treat dealt by Craig Productions was a no-holds barred battle royal of former Emerald Cup champs Todd “The Crown” Jewell, Todd-“Zilla” Scott and Nathan “The Destroyer” DeTracy. All three are in heavy training for their assault on the 2009 NPC nationals being held at the end of November. Judging from their conditioning all three are well ahead of their games.
Kicking off the evening was an energetic performance by IFBB fitness pro Michele Mayberry. Mayberry is one of the inspiring forces in Northwest fitness and figure circles and is slowly working her way up the professional ranks.
As in any high level competition some legends were forced to swallow the bitter pill of defeat as well some long persevering competitors finally tasted the sweet nectar of their just deserves.
The great lightweight Henry Jung, who has and beaten men half his age and twice his size watched his overall trophy go to another. Anderson Moore, arguably one of the best all-natural bodybuilders in the USA was edged out in the light-heavyweight class.
Super heavyweight winner Ken Ralston soundly defended his 2008 title. Pastor Ken, who is one of the nicest people you would want to meet off-stage, gave both Jake McKinzie and Tyler Leenknecht a whole lotta hell on-stage.
Newcomer Owen Stewart surprised everyone including himself taking the novice middleweight class and overall. Stewart possesses some incredible genetics and with the right tutelage could make his mark in the Northwest and beyond.
Another perseverance success story goes to the darlings of the 09 Ironman Rob and Julie Barnet. Rob was in the best conditioning of his bodybuilding career and took the masters over forty class convincingly defeating the likes of Jack Brown and Mike Handy. And wife Julie took top honors in the Figure C class and was a front-runner in the overall.
There is no doubt that the talk of the show was overall winner Scott Kluth. Kluth, who has been around for several years flirting with top three placings, ratcheted up his training, nailed his diet and became a leading man in Northwest bodybuilding. His conditioning was dead-on, his posing routine was perfect for his physique type and his charisma could be felt all the way to the back of the hall.
Another highlight of the evening was the revival of the mixed pairs division. Five couples vied for top honors with thematic routines reminiscent of mixed pairs in the 1990s. Second place Zoe Lefrancois & Lionel Orgi presented an entertaining Pink Panther parody while third place Caroline Pepin & Michael Buckley danced their way into everyone’s hearts. Winners Jan Guenther & Dave Patterson…hmm how do I explain that? Well, it ended with Dave in drag and wearing pasties. Dave is a great bodybuilder and phenomenal poser but makes for an U-G-L-Y woman.
Cindy Goodrich is another competitor who will never say die. Goodrich, with help from diet and training gurus Pete and Apple Grubbs and inspiration from trainer Tanji Johnson has continued to refine her physique. She is now reaping the rewards with a masters overall victory at the 09 Emerald Cup and now the open overall at the Ironman.
The Ironman Bikini classes boasted seventeen competitors in three classes. The overall line up came down to 2009 Washington State runner up Dana Standemo in the short class, the well proportioned Idahoan Crystal Matthews in the medium class and the leggy and lovely Diane Rudholm in the tall. In the end the overall went to Standemo.
The Ironman has always attracted the best in figure competitors. This year was no exception with nearly fifty shapely femmes in five classes. It was the ever-smiling Nicole Peterson who took the Figure A Class over second place Andrea Freitas and third place Natasha Love.
In Figure B the sultry looking Melina Elder defeated the nearly unstoppable Zory Garasimchuk. Garasimchuk took several divisions in the Oregon State earlier this year, which speaks volumes for Elder’s victory. Third place went to the lovely Jacey Bourne who is a protégé of Montana’s number one trainer Kimberly Agnew.
In figure class C Julie Barnett beat out rising star Dana Tucker and crossover fitness winner Lauren King. The D class winner was another woman who competes regularly and should never be underestimated, Sherri Stokes. Second place went to SG2 Victory girl Christine Moore. Rachel Murray placed third and Leah Salatino fourth.
In the Figure Masters class it was Keturah Knutson in first, Kimberly Fallis second, and the lovely Bonnie Meneese in third.
One of the liveliest classes of the evening was the masters men over fifty. Winner Jess Edens had more energy then a room full of pixie-stick laced kindergarteners. Second place went to gangsta Dave Patterson who wowed the audience with his loaded guns. Third place Alan Woody played the straight man of the trio and displayed a physique that showed that lifetime of hard training and clean eating does a body good.
In the over sixty class (really over seventy) Walt Radke and Robert Mussehl displayed the ultimate in sportsmanship and the camaraderie that only seasoned competitors can relate. In a touching moment Musshel presented Radke with the most inspirational award. I give a special nod to both Radke and Musshel for continuing to compete throughout the years.
In the masters women over 35 Lisa Harper of Everett, Washington took first place over second place over Spokanite Melody Horne. Cara Raymond finished third with the irrepressible Cheryl Brose fourth.
Masters women over fifty went to cowgirl Janet Guenther and second place to Ann Gannon. A contest with Guenther and Gannon always guarantees exceptional posing routines. Guenther is full of flash and theatrics while Gannon presents a more melodic and thematic approach. Both ladies bring a wonderful perspective to women’s bodybuilding regardless of age. Sandy Ornberg took third place with Eden Davidson fourth.
Congratulations to all the competitors who were part of the inaugural Craig Production’s Washington Ironman at the Snoqualmie Casino. With the overwhelming positive response to the venue the 2010 event will undoubtedly shine even brighter. The next big thing on the Craig Productions calendar is the 2010 Emerald Cup being held the weekend of April 16th and 17th.