I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best for the Holidays! Your support in 2012 has made our association strong, relevant and very successful, setting us up for some great things in 2013. I am honoured and very proud to be President of the NBPFA, and I will continue to work hard to grow Bodybuilding and Figure in New Brunswick.
Reflecting back, it was just fifteen years ago that I called up then-President of the NBABBA Len Collette to express my concern that the 1997 NB Championships might be in trouble. Len was already of the same mind, having taken the opportunity to stop by many gyms throughout the province while travelling extensively for his sales job, and not hearing much buzz about the show or many names of confirmed competitors. Hanging up from our conversation, Len anxiously got on the phone to try and track down competitors but, after many disheartening calls, we discovered that the Championships had less than a dozen athletes! Faced with the serious dilemma of whether to cancel the show due to lack of interest and potential financial loss, we discussed our options and decided it wouldn’t be fair to those who were already training to call off the show. As a compromise the contest was held, but in a shorter, combined format during the afternoon, with both prejudging and finals presented to an audience of about 125 devoted fans. To say the least, this was one of the lowest periods in my thirty-five year involvement in NB Bodybuilding!
From that day on, Len and I vowed that we would work harder to promote the NB Association and the New Brunswick Championships! Unfortunately, in 2006 my long-time partner and close friend decided to step down as President, leaving me to carry on the association that we proudly worked so hard to build. I learned a great deal from Len and attribute his honesty, passion and integrity as the leadership example for how the NBPFA is run today. I am a much better person because of my many years of friendship and close association with him.
Standing on the stage at the beginning of the 2012 NB & PEI Championships, I couldn’t have been more nervous as backstage there were a record 112 competitors all anxious to strut and flex their stuff. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement! Only fifteen years before we were worried there wouldn’t be enough competitors to run a contest, and now there may be too many! Who could ever have imagined how far we would come?
With the great work and organizational skills of Angela Carver, backstage coordinators Steve Ward, Jason Dick, Mike Fitz, and the brilliant skill of MC Tony Smith and our best NBPFA judges the 2012 NB & PEI Championships set a new standard in contestant participation, fan support, sponsorship and machine-like precision in its smooth running operation. I cannot express how proud I am of being part of this historic event.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the tremendous growth of the NB Championships is the dedication by personal trainers such as Just4Show’s Andrew Pierce and Rachel Vienneau LeBlanc who were responsible for putting over 40 competitors on stage. Blueprint Athletics’ Jody Peterson and PEI’s Together Fit under the leadership of Josh and Sam Rioux also played a huge role in training competitors for the Championships, and I am very grateful for the support of all of these trainers.
One of the highlights of this year’s championships came in the attractive and fit physiques of the forty-three Figure Models. The positive feedback I received after the competition included those who found the evening Theme Wear round most enjoyable and very entertaining. We are the only province in Canada that features this round in our provincial competitions, and will continue to do so as long as it remains popular with our audiences.
With thirteen to fifteen shapely competitors in each of the three Figure Model classes, the judges had a very difficult task of picking the winners. In the Short Division, it was Fredericton’s petite and perfectly proportioned Victoria Buchanan who came out the winner, slipping by Jessica Bourque (2nd) and Kalie Robichaud (3rd); the Medium Division was won by Saint John’s superbly conditioned Vanessa Seale, who defeated Jessica Bonnelly (2nd) and Jessie Lynn Ellsworth (3rd); the Tall Category title was won by Fredericton’s sultry Jennie Atherton, with Jenna Young placing second and Karen Cousins third. The final pose-off for the Overall Figure Model title saw the compact Buchanan dwarfed by the two taller class winners but, when the smoke cleared, her superior conditioning and excellent overall balance gained the judges’ favour and she was awarded the Overall NB Championship title.
The NB Overall Figure Championship was won by PEI’s superbly conditioned Kat Delima, who edged out Short Class winner Fredericton’s sultry Emily Robinson and newcomer Lincoln’s Becky Harrison who took the Medium Class. In winning the Tall Class, Delima defeated Tracey Underhill (2nd) and Michelle Price (3rd). She sported remarkable improvement over her condition of last year, particularly in her quads and hamstrings.
In taking the Medium Division, Harrison displayed some impressive muscle highlighted by her six-pack abdominal development that was good enough to push veteran Heather Johnson into second place, with Jacqueline Green third.
It was Robinson’s nicely balanced shape and symmetry that earned her the Short Figure category over newbie Rachel Doucette (2nd) and veteran Katrina Campbell (3rd).
One of the biggest upsets of the competition came in the Figure Master Category, where newcomer Fredericton’s Tracey Underhill defeated three-time NB Figure Master Champion Heather Johnson of Saint John. Despite Heather’s superb conditioning, the judges preferred Underhill’s fuller appearance and superior overall balance.
I cannot overstate my satisfaction with how far we have come in both numbers and caliber of competitor in the Classic Physique categories. What started out back in 2007 as a single class with only four competitors has now grown into one of the most popular divisions of the NB Championships. In fact, I was shocked at how many competitors were trying to fit into the height/weight chart ratio to make one of the Classic Physique divisions! By the time the Saturday morning prejudging began, we had a record number twenty competitors in two divisions.
The Classic Physique Short category was won by Fredericton’s exquisitely conditioned Vince Cormier, with Moncton’s newcomer Lamine Riad Saibi second and Fredericton’s Jeremy Basque third. The Tall division saw a fierce battle between Maugerville’s shredded Brian Pilling and Fredericton’s nicely proportioned Alex Whammond. Pilling came 100% prepared with a golden tan and bone dry conditioning in contrast to Whammond’s paler appearance. Regardless, Whammond sported superior size and overall shape but was not quite as dry as Pilling. It could have gone either way, as evidenced by Pilling’s winning the division by a mere point. In the final posedown, it was Cormier’s superior symmetry and spectacular leg development that won him the Overall NB Classic Physique Championship title.
New Maryland’s buffed Sharon Robertson became the inaugural Women’s Physique champion, with Charlottetown’s shapely Katie Corrigan second.
Saint John’s rugged Paul Munn won the Grand Master Men’s Division, with Jacksonville’s newcomer Jordan Little declared the Junior Champion.
Without question, one of the most dedicated and passionate NB competitors is Fredericton’s thickly muscled Mike Gray. Year after year, Mike keeps plugging away and comes back to the NB Championships hoping to take home one of the top spots. For this year’s competition Mike walked onstage in the best shape of his life, sporting tremendous mass and muscle density. He was rewarded for his trouble with a win in the Masters category, second in the Open Light Heavyweight division and presented with the Most Muscular award.
Even with the record number of competitors the show ran smoothly, with the climax of the evening occurring in the posedown to decide the 2012 Overall NB Bodybuilding Champion. Leading up to the championships there was a lot of chatter on Facebook and around the gyms that Shediac’s Rene Leger was in top shape and the odds-on favourite to win the title. In the meantime, Saint John’s stocky Devin Trenholm wasn’t paying much attention to the postings and was determined to make Leger’s quest for the title as difficult as possible. Most expected to see the final posedown between these two, however for this to happen, Leger had to get by Mike Gray (2nd) and Corey Janes (3rd) in the Light Heavyweight Division. In taking the class I felt Leger could have been a bit drier, however his overall size and proportions won the judge’s favour. In the Middleweight class, Trenholm defeated a much-improved Randy Madsen (2nd) of Fredericton and Dalhousie’s newcomer Mike Miller (3rd). Fresh from his Overall win in Classic Physique, Vince Cormier took the Lightweight class with Hoyt’s James McDonald second and Moncton’s Lamine Riad Saibi third. Rounding out the final posedown was Fredericton’s shredded Elliott Carr, who slipped by Saint John’s Paul Munn (2nd) and Fredericton’s Nicholas MacLean (3rd) in winning the Heavyweight title.
When all class winners walked onstage to do battle in the final posedown, all eyes focused on Leger and Trenholm. Although Cormier and Carr were in excellent condition, they failed to match the overall muscle density and size of Leger and Trenholm. It was so close between them that the slightest edge would decide the winner. As the posedown progressed, it was clear that Trenholm had better quad sweep and calf development while Leger had a slight advantage in the back poses. Everything else was close to being even, and the final decision would come down to what the majority of the judges preferred. Finally the difficult decision was reached, with Trenholm edging out Leger for the Overall NB Championship title by a vote of 4-3.
So ended the most competitive and best attended NB Championships in its thirty-eight year history. I am looking forward to 2013 as we have some great events coming up, beginning with the 35th Anniversary of the Atlantic Classic Championships scheduled for April 13th at Casino New Brunswick, promoted by the husband wife team of Ti-Jean and Heather LeBlanc. Then it is on to Halifax on July 6th for the CBBF Canadian Bodybuilding Championships, which was last held there back in 2001. We are expecting a big team from New Brunswick to participate and it is my hope that several will even be bringing back some National Championship hardware!