Edmonton, AB – The Muscle Beach Fall Bodybuilding Classic completes the Alberta Body Building Association competition season. It is always a fun and exciting show. I haven’t missed an event since promoter Ty Hamden launched it. I have seen a number of Alberta’s IFBB pros begin their respective careers at this show and I eagerly anticipate the event each year to see new talent emerge to push for Alberta and national titles and perhaps that elusive IFBB pro card status.
It’s widely known that the province of Alberta has been hit extremely hard with complex conditions – financial and physical. Between the hard hit oil industry and the fires of Fort McMurray we have seen a steady decline in the number of competitors over the past couple years. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all those affected. Including cross overs this show saw approximately 180 competitors take to the stage.
There were a number of highlights throughout the day including a guest performance by IFBB Bodybuilding Pro Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden who moved from two third place finishes in 2014 and 2015 at the prestigious Mr. Olympia to second place at this year’s event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Another highlight was the always incredible volunteer team. The moment I walked through the door I was greeted by smiles from Wes Arsenault, Kim and Kevin Gramlich, IFBB Pro Nicole Ball, ABBA president Jim Mah and many others including many of the competitors. Of course it always a highlight seeing Marty MacPhee take the podium as the show’s emcee. Good work Marty. While I am giving out kudos, I want to thank the judging panel as well. Lead by Nathalie Mulder, the team did a great job. At times the classes were tough in multiple ways but they managed to work through and deliver the final placements.
[ABBA President Jim Mah addresses a packed house at the Winspear in Edmonton]
[Guest Poser – IFBB Pro Shawn Rhoden]
[Muscle Beach emcee Marty MacPhee sporting the best hair in the building]
We went back to the original format for this show which gave competitors the opportunity to take to the stage in two shows – prejudging and finals. I have seen competitors spill over between shows but everyone stayed tight through the day and looked great which made some of the classes tough to judge. That is always a good problem to have.
In this show review, I am going to look at the Bodybuilding classes. Review on the other classes will be added to this or in a new report.
Female bodybuilding has lost some of it’s shine over the past several years, especially at the regional level. This show saw one competitor which is disappointing, however, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Chantal Thompson did her due diligence and came in conditioned and with a great attitude. Typically, the bodybuilders are the most depleted and this can result in low energy but Chantal didn’t show any signs of this as she entertained the audience with a great routine and some good humour directed at the fact she was the only competitor in both her classes. Awesome Chantal. You looked great!!
[Women’s Bodybuilding Heavyweight & Master Winner – Chantal Thompson]
It was great to see many familiar faces in the Men’s bodybuilding classes. A number of the classes were quite competitive. That said, the moment I saw Denis LeBlanc step on stage in the Grandmaster class I knew he would be hard to beat. Saeed Majdnia pushed him and I have to add – had one of my favorite routine music choices of the night. What is especially noteworthy is that Saeed has overcome many challenges on his journey to the stage, including beating Grade 3 Astrocytoma brain tumour. Keep up the good work Saeed. John Drebert rounded out the top three.
[Grandmaster Winner and Bodybuilding Overall Winner – Denis LeBlanc]
[Saeed Majdnia – Second Grandmasters]
Men’s Masters bodybuilding was interesting. Elliot Taylor is a big guy and has incredible muscle development. The moment he takes to the stage he looks like he’s competed for many years. I don’t know too much about his competitive background, however, the judges tend to go for tight shape over mass in the twenty or so years I have attended shows. I know Elliot was disappointed and could make the argument about muscle size but he still needs to come in tighter. Although he was tighter than the last time I saw him take to the stage, there is room to still tighten up and make the most of his muscularity. Jason Torrance was on point with his conditioning and took first. Jason Sherban came second, Elliot third and Abhishek Singh took forth.
[Elliot Taylor – Third Place Masters]
[Jason Torrance – Light Heavy Winner and Master Winner]
Men’s Lightweight saw four gentlemen take to the stage. The judges always have their work cut out for them. I see some guys hitting on all cylinders in posing their upper body, sometimes forgetting about heir foundations. Other guys are tight through the legs but forget to keep their abs tight. Chris Tralnberg had a well balanced physique and kept tight through the middle while hitting most of his poses. This gave him the edge over Max Obeidat who took second. In third was Abhishek Singh with Craig Kaliel rounding out the top four.
[Chris Tralnberg – Winner Lightweight]
[Max Obeidat – Second Lightweight]
Men’s Middleweight was competitive. All five guys brought strong physiques and showcased their strengths well. That said, it was hard for anyone to compete with Grandmaster winner Denis LeBlanc. Jesse Scholtes looked to be pushing Denis though and fittingly used the music All The Way Up for his routine. In the end, Denis took first. In third was Danny Lavergne who possesses a very aesthetic build. Posing to Metallica Danny was entertaining. Look for this young guy to continue to improve over the next year. Saeed Majdnia placed forth and John Teed rounded out the top five.
[Jesse Scholtes – Second Middelweight]
[Danny Lavergne – Third Middelweight]
Light-Heavy weight was made up of five competitors. Master winner Jason Torrance had the best conditioning and deservedly took first. Second place went to Ali Albuquerque who possesses nice shape but couldn’t compete with Jason in the conditioning department. Third went to Martyn Jennings. Forth to Spencer Jensen and fifth to Neil Peterson.
[Ali Abuquerque – Light Heavyweight – Second Place]
I was interested in the Heavyweight class as I learned in the week leading up to the show that Kevin Nephin was competing. I have known Kevin for a number of years and know the guy won’t step on stage unless he is in shape. He was but who else might show up? Patrick Plowman, that’s who. Patrick is several inches shorter than Kevin and perhaps edged him on thickness which threw a wrench into Kevin’s plans of taking home a first place trophy. Kevin was on point as was Patrick so I would believe their placements were quite close. In third place was Mike Fish who carried the most size in the class and has great shape. Had Mike come in a little tighter it would have been a real battle for first. Watch for Mike to make an impact at Provincials if he decides to do it next June. Forth place went to Jason Sherban with Daniel Hagan rounding out the top five.
[Heavyweight Winner – Patrick Plowman]
[Heavyweight – Kevin Nephin – Second Place]
[Heavyweight – Mike Fish – Third Place]
Thank you to Ty Hamden once again for putting on a wonderful show. Thank you to all the volunteers who allowed things to run so smoothly both on stage and backstage and to all the competitors who took to the stage. You all worked extremely hard and deserved to be up there!! Be proud of your journey.
PHOTO SHOOT OPPORTUNITIES
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