As we approach the holiday season and New Year I want to thank everyone for all your support in 2013! It would be an understatement to say that growth in our sport and NBPFA in New Brunswick is at a fever pitch! It began with a record setting 35th Anniversary of the Atlantic Classic Championships promoted by Ti-Jean & Heather LeBlanc at Casino NB last April, then we hit the Fredericton Playhouse on November 2nd for the New Brunswick Championships, which turned out to be the biggest competition in New Brunswick history! I confess that I never expected the huge turnout and we got caught totally off guard! Regardless, contest facilitators led by statistician Angela Carver, Jaclyn Wilson, Steve Ward and Mike Fitz rose to the occasion and got the 135 plus competitors measured, weighed and numbered.
Considering the huge numbers, I was extremely pleased with how smooth the championships ran ending at 10:15. This would not have been possible without the expertise of MC Tony Smith, Angela Carver (Statistician), Duncan Lombard (Chief Judge), Steve Ward, Mike Fitz, Jason Dick (Backstage facilitators) and Playhouse staff. For years the biggest complaint I have always heard following our championships is that the show is too long! This year I believe we ended these complaints with an event that ran as smooth as silk and finished at a decent time. Considering the huge numbers that our NBPFA judges faced, I wish to thank them, as they did an outstanding job as evidenced by the few complaints following the competition.
The Championships produced some outstanding winners and future CBBF Champions, particularly Overall Bodybuilding Champion PEI’s massive Johnny Doull who could be the Maritime’s next IFBB Pro. I was also blown away by the astounding transformation of Fredericton’s Brittany Courtney who emerged the Overall winner in a very competitive lineup of 53 Bikini hopefuls. A few years ago Brittany struggled to place in her respective division. At the Championships she sported a National caliber package that is on par with the best in the country. I was also very impressed with Overall Figure Champion Tracey Underhill who outclassed a record lineup of 15 Masters competitors to take the division and then went on to win the Tall Class and Overall title. Rounding out the Overall winners was the superbly sculpted Lucas Reid who became the first Men’s Physique winner. All these Champions will represent New Brunswick at a very high level at the 2014 CBBF Nationals.
Unfortunately, as successful as the New Brunswick Championships were, I was left wondering about the future of Men’s Bodybuilding. Out of the 138 competitors there were 5 Juniors, 5 Masters, 1 Classic Bodybuilding, 2 Lightweight, 5 Middleweight, 2 Light heavyweight and 5 Heavyweight for a total of 25 Bodybuilders. At one time Bodybuilding was the flagship of our Championships but current trends indicate this is no longer the case, as evidenced by the 53 Bikini and 40 Figure competitors that dominated the stage. My biggest disappointment was in the men’s Classic Bodybuilding division with only a single competitor showing up. Last year there were 20 competitors in two classes. I was totally shocked at the lack of interest in this great division. On a positive note the newly created Men’s Physique Division (Board Shorts) turned out to be a huge success with a total of 14 competitors. It was obvious that a lot of competitors decided to go change over from Classic Bodybuilding to Men’s Physique. I was also very pleased to see 7 shapely and conditioned ladies compete in the Women’s Physique category won by the sultry Eva Dunbar. After a slow start Women’s Physique seems to be finally catching on.
Moving into 2014 I will be taking a close look at the demographics of our Championships and setting down with Ti-Jean & Heather LeBlanc to discuss the up coming Atlantic Championships on April 5th at Casino NB. We no longer feel it fair to host divisions where only a couple of competitors show up while other classes have in excess of 20! It only makes sense to focus on the divisions that support the numbers. Our sport is evolving into a more fitness-oriented community that now includes a varying degree of participants. We intend to further reach out to them by including more divisions and decreasing others to best represent the growing demand and interest in these new divisions.
For this year’s Atlantic’s we will be doing a survey to get an idea as to what the numbers will be in each division. If the numbers are not there, Men’s Open Bodybuilding will be cut to three classes; Lightweight, Middleweight and Heavyweight. Junior and Masters will still be included. Based on what I seen at the New Brunswick Championships I have a strong feeling that Men’s Physique (Board Shorts) will become the premiere competition for men and is ready to explode like Women’s Bikini. If this is the case more classes could be added. We also will be addressing the huge numbers of Bikini competitors by adding additional divisions. I am very excited at the direction we are heading in 2014 and look forward to seeing how it all plays out beginning with the Atlantic Championships.
As president of the NBPFA it is my intention to encourage and support all New Brunswick competitors who wish to step up to the next level by competing at the CBBF National Championships. There are three National events next year and it appears that there is a lot of interest from our qualified athletes who intend to compete at one of these events. I have been approached by Fredericton’s Jody Peterson who will be competing in the Men’s Physique Division in Edmonton, Alberta at the Nationals on July 5th with the idea of forming Team NB. In the past we have never had more than a few New Brunswick competitors competing in Nationals hosted out West, but for Edmonton there is a lot of interest from more than a dozen NB athletes. I feel that the concept of Team NB is a very good one and have appointed Jody as the official team manager where he will pursue promotion and sponsorship opportunities. To aid and encouraged those wishing to qualify for the Nationals in 2014 I have arranged with the CBBF to now make the Atlantic Championships a qualifier for all NB competitors who finish in the top three of their division.
In closing I want to let everyone know that we have big things planned for 2014 and I am working hard to grow our Association in an effort make your competition goals a reality and more importantly fun! The memories you create by getting in your best shape and sharing with your friends, family and public by stepping on stage is something you will cherish the rest of your life. Believe me, I have been there!