Vancouver, BC. The 2016 Popeye’s Fall Classic promoted by Tarik Rahiman took place on November 12 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver. The last show in the BCABBA schedule was full of excitement and suspense as almost every class had contenders vying for top honors.
[Promoter Terik Rahiman addresses the audience at the start of the Finals alongside co-emcees Bert Sims and Stefan Lyren.]
I have been photographing this fall event for more than a decade and I am always impressed with the level of competition BC produces. Many at this regional level could have stepped on the National stage and pushed for top placements.
MANY COMPETITORS AT THIS REGIONAL LEVEL COULD HAVE STEPPED ON THE NATIONAL STAGE AND PUSHED FOR TOP PLACEMENTS.
There were a number of highlights throughout the day including a guest performance by IFBB Pro League Bodybuilder Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden who moved from two third place finishes at the Olympia to a strong second place. Shawn shared a little of his story and how he moved from soccer (football) to the gym. It took him a little bit before the wins started to roll. Now his goal is to take the Olympia title – and sooner the better for him.
[Guest Poser Shawn Rhoden takes to the stage at the 2016 Popeye’s Fall Classic]
[Guest Poser – Shawn Rhoden jumps into the audience to hit some poses and selfies.]
[Guest Poser Shawn Rhoden says a few words after his appearance alongside promoter Tarik Rahiman]
[2016 Popeye’s Trophy Presenting Team]
[BCABBA Judging Panel, Statisticians, Stage Marshalls, and Media Executive]
Always a highlight were seeing some of the volunteers I had met at the Knight of Champions early in September and at the Vancouver Pro/Am – it is always great to see familiar faces. It is because of people like these that the show can go on and run smoothly.
I hope you enjoy my insights into the show. All photos in this special feature have been prepared from registration. If you would like your photo package from the show, please click here.
Junior Bodybuilding is alive and well in BC. I was especially impressed with the size and shape of third place competitor Quin Leroy. I look forward to watching this young man take his time and develop over the next several years. He definitely has the size and shape to take this passion to the National level. Winning this class was the conditioned Nicholas Archibald. Andrew Schmittling placed second.
In Lightweight, we were treated to a very competitive class. All three men were in great shape and each presented nicely through their respective posing routines. At the end of the night, Dane Makuch, who has been featured in Status Fitness magazine in the past, placed first. Second place went to Douglas Jang and third to JL Lino.
Middleweight was very competitive. Big Dustin Reaume took first place honors, Dwight Marples second and third place was taken by Shawn Joy.
Light Heavyweight saw some very aesthetic physiques battle it out. Ola Alagboro placed first. Colin Brown second and Jordan King a close third.
Like each of the other classes, Heavyweight was also quite competitive. I thought Jordan Gladman would win the class, however, he had to settle for second place. Steven Bentley took first, and Wayne Crow came third.
The Master, over 40 class, was competitive. Wayne Crow, Duane Borsa and Shawn Joy each were gunning for top place but Wayne went on to win with Duane a close second and Shawn rounding out the top three.
It is always great to see the Master, over 50 class, show up. These guys were in quality shape and showed no slowing down. Big Andy Alexiou took first, Arthur Laskowski second and Mark Slessor third.
In the Overall, all eyes were on Ola Alabboro. His aesthetic look kept pulling our eyes towards him. That said, both Dustin Reaume and Dana Makuch were pushing Ola hard. Both Dustin and Dana had Ola slightly out-conditioned, however, it was hard to get past Ola’s round muscle bellies and overall genetics. I am interested in seeing Dana add more size over the next couple years as he is showing where his genetics and hard work can take him. He’s added a fair bit of quality mass since he graced the Status Fitness pages a year or so ago. He possesses a small waist and broad shoulders and I know he is driven.
The Women’s Physique class is always entertaining. The creativity of this class continues to grow and I almost find myself sitting back watching rather than taking pictures. There were two classes in this show with three ladies in the A and two ladies in the B. In Open A, Leah Owen took first. Leah has nice shape but will need to come in harder at the Provincial level to push for a top three placement. In second was Danica Barden and in third was Amy Mathys. Open B was the class I was really interested in. The master winner was Ruth Saunders and she looked great. In the B class she was up against the striking Kelsey DeCamillis. Ruth’s conditioning and muscle maturity was too much for Kelsey and Ruth placed first and would go on to win the Physique overall. Kelsey settled for a second place but also caught my attention. You will be seeing more of this young lady in the near future. Keep an eye here on this website.
There were three competitive Classic Physique classes. The A class saw four competitive men battle hard for the top three. Dane Makuch, coming off his Bodybuilding Lightweight win took first. Second place went to Chris O’Leary and third went to Gord Broderick.
Classic Physique B saw nine men step on stage – consisting of a wide variety of physiques. Ronald Hernandez-Lebron had nice shape and took first place. I personally felt there was a strong argument for Jordan King, placing second, to take first in this class but that was not to be. Gavin Gambhir has great shape and if he came in slightly tighter, would have been a real threat for first. Good work guys. Nice to see another very competitive class.
Classic Physique C was a lot of fun. Jordan Gladman deserved first and clearly won it. He has a great look – marketable with nice shape and stage presence. He is well spoken and it was interesting to hear his interview after going on to win the Classic Physique Overall. Second place went to Wayne Crow who had previously won the Master Bodybuilding – over 40 class earlier in the night. Third was taken by Parker Henderson who had a lot of great energy on stage. Nice work guys.
Classic Physique Overall was a showdown between Jordan Gladman, Ronald Hernandez-Lebron and Dane Makuch. Both Ronald and Dane have a slightly better shoulder to waist ratio than Jordan but it is hard to beat Jordan’s shape and thickness. All three were similarly conditioned with Dane possibly taking that aspect. In the quarter turns Jordan’s quads and hamstrings separated him clearly. I liked Ronald’s delts and back in the back pose – he possesses a wide flair and a tiny waist. Although he has clear separation in his delt/arm tie in, his chest lacks the thickness Jordan possesses. Dane looked great too but will need a little more mass to compete against the bigger classes. As the dust settled Jordan emerged with the win and deserved it.
[Classic Physique Overall – Jordan Gladman, Ronald Hernandez-Lebron and Dane Makuch]
There were six classes of Figure in this show which was great to see. At times Figure seems to give way to Bikini as that category tends to swallow the others. All six classes in Figure were competitive and showed equal numbers throughout – five to seven competitors each.
Figure A was won by Nina Azimikor who looked great – quality muscle, nice shape and well-conditioned. Second place went to the beautiful Tessa Barresi and third to Jo-Danielle De Belen.
[Jo-Danielle De Belen]
Figure B saw Francesca Bolton out-muscle the others for the clear win. Robyn Allen has some great lines and with a few more pounds of quality muscle will be a force in her height class. Leah Owen took third place.
Figure C was quite competitive. Leanne Bodnar took first, edging out Jen Ullett, and Kayla Johnson wasn’t far behind. All three ladies had great presence on stage and looked to be enjoying themselves which is always nice to see from the audience. Great work ladies.
Figure D was ultra-competitive between first and second – with the only exception being we had previously seen both ladies battle it out for the Master Figure Overall a little earlier. Ruthie Unaegbu had won the Master 35+ class and Michelle Troll the 45+ class. I hadn’t seen Michelle on stage since 2005, I believe. Not much has changed for Michelle as she continues to look fantastic, making it near impossible to believe she is over 50 years young. What a way to represent Michelle. Be proud of your accomplishments. You will be motivating many in your fitness journey. In this open class, like in the Master Overall, Ruthie would take first just ahead of Michelle. Ruthie’s shape is what solidified the first place. She looked great and possessed nice round muscles with just the right amount of separation. Ruthie has a pro level physique if she can trim her legs down and come in tighter in the lower half. I look forward to seeing what she does for Provincials in July. Michelle will be a force at the Provincial level in both the masters 45+ and the Open. Watch out ladies, she will be pushing hard for first in both. Third place went to Simone Artz.
Master Figure 35+ saw Ruthie Unaegbu taking first. Jen Ullett taking second and Shelly Lessard taking third.
Master Figure 45+ was won by Michelle Troll, the ever pleasant and energetic Zeng Allardyce placed second and Cheryl Hutchinson took third.
[Figure Overall – Front Pose – Francesca Bolton, Nina Azimikor, Leanne Bodnar, and Ruthie Unaegbu]
[Figure Overall – Back Pose – Ruthie Unaegbu, Leanne Bodnar, Francesca Bolton and Nina Azimikor]
[Figure Overall – Winner Ruthie Unaegbu]
Men’s Physique was competitive across the board. Every class was a battle and the judges had their work cut out for them. As the show progresses and we see only two categories left, we sometimes feel the show will see a quick ending but that is never the case. Men’s Physique and Bikini both test the judges and I’m sure leave many test judges scratching their heads. What tends to separate the competitors in this category is the tightness and leanness of the waists. Sure, most can build thicker chest and wider delts, but you need to do your homework and come in tight to compete for the highest spots… and don’t neglect those calves. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, I have seen many placements decided because of the shape or size of the calf muscles. Do as Arnold did and hit those bad boys multiple times a week – perhaps even seven times a week to break through any limitations.
The Master class saw Brian Nevins take first. Brian always looks great and this show was no exception. Second place went to David Purcell and third to Stephen MacKinnon.
Class A was a lot of fun. This group knows how to pose and typically no one stands still. This was the case for a few competitors in the class. Raphiel Del Rosario placed first. Second went to Mehrdad Ahghari and third to the slick poser Gi Beom Gron who made it hard to grab great shots.
[Gi Beom Gron]
Class B was tight. James Song shared his story with Status Fitness before his previous show so it was with great expectation I looked to see him this show. James didn’t disappoint and added some quality size but had to accept second place behind Ronald Hernandez-Lebron who would go on to take the Overall title this show. Third place went to Zachary Khan.
Class C was exciting to watch. Jordan Barth knows how to move and combined with some quality shape and size he took first. Second place went to Benjamin Jacuk and third to Brendan Banser.
Like each of the other classes, Class D was also competitive. I liked Arman Ayazi’s shape and musculature and thought he could have taken first place with some quality posing. Watch for Arman at Provincials. Cameron Richard possessed a nice V taper – wide delts and back and a slender waist. Combined with good posing he was the one to beat and no one did this night. Cameron took first. Third place went to Nathaniel Vail.
In the Men’s Physique Overall battle we saw Raphiel Del Rosario hold off all challengers to take the coveted title. Raphiel’s waist is small, mid-length with higher lat insertions which adds to the aesthetic appeal. It isn’t until you have each class champion side by side that you start to see the noticeable differences. I felt Jordan Barth had the nicest upper body – delts, back, arms and chest, but his waist didn’t show at the same level as Raphiel. Cameron Richard has nice brought delts and fairly small waist proportionately however he needs a little more width on his pecs to push Raphiel. His conditioning was on, though, and I look forward to seeing him on stage next July.
[Men’s Physique Overall – Cameron Richard, Ronald Hernandez-Lebron, Raphiel Del Rosario, Jordan Barth]
Bikini saw nine classes total this show. One Master 45+, two Master 35+ and then six open classes. The largest class was C with twenty-two competitors. The smallest open class was Open A which is where I will start this section.
There were a number of very marketable competitors in Bikini this year. One being Brittney Ward who was a stand out in this class. Brittney has amazing shape and is a graceful poser. I have seen hundreds of shows and I truly feel she has the potential to turn pro over the next five years. Slow and steady wins the race and with Brittney’s genetics, I know she can go far. Second place in this class went to Katrina de Mesa and third to Chloe Logan. What I noticed about Chloe is what I didn’t notice. She possesses a strong physique but she seems somewhat subdued on stage. I would love to see Chloe own the stage – smile more and keeping perfecting her poses. They are quite good where she is but I know the combination could be slightly better and this will lead to higher placements.
Sarah Taylor had a great night. I am sure I have seen Sarah compete before but this was the first time I really noticed her. Her physique was on point and her posing was eye catching. She took home first place and as well the Overall title a little later in the night. Second place went to the beautiful Frances Ahn. What Frances possesses can’t be developed through hard training – a beautiful face and a striking smile and stage presence. She will need to keep training hard to push hard at Provincials but she definitely stood out to me and made my marketable list of the night. Third place went to Rhonda Gunderson. PoOn Yeung was another stand out in this class as far as marketability goes. A very pretty girl, PoOn will need to add more muscle in order to make a bigger impact in competition.
Open Class C was very interesting. I’m thankful I wasn’t a judge as I guessed the final placements incorrectly in this class. I wasn’t sure how it would go. We had Nissa Wellman with her wide shoulders and strong physique. We had Sarah Ramadan who I had thought would take first and then we had Jasmine De Torres who had an amazing energy on stage. From a primarily physique viewpoint, I thought Sarah had the best look of the three. Great quad sweep, nice delts, high glutes and good calves – a complete package if you will. I felt Jasmine’s traps were a little over-powering taking away from her delt caps. The judges didn’t see it this way and rewarded Jasmine with first place, Sarah with second and Nissa with third.
[Jasmine De Torres]
Kiera Nielsen was on this show. Not only beautiful, Kiera continues to make improvements to her physique and she placed a deservedly first place in the Open D Class. Brea Guy placed second and Nicole Downie came third. Kiera is another competitor I feel has a marketable look. She was very pleasant at registration and I was impressed with all aspects of her stage time. Well done.
Open E class went to Kristyna Diaczuk, second place to Sherilyn Sutton and third to Ashley Schwab. In this class I liked what Ashley brought to the stage. I felt her posing could have been slightly better and perhaps she didn’t show her physique as well as she could but she has nice lines and shape. With a little added muscle, watch for her to make a splash at Provincials. In this class I was impressed with the marketable look and stage presence of Kat Easterbrook. Kat’s posing and energy caught my attention. I look forward to seeing her improve in the next year.
In the Open F Class, I wasn’t sure what direction the judges were going to go in. Cassie Keeping has muscle and it is very evident. I am a big fan of muscle and appreciated seeing her take to the stage. The big question was, would it be too much muscle? I overheard a few people in the audience say they felt it was, and others were picking her to win. My feeling is in most cases it would be considered a little much but the rest of the class had some catching up to do and rather than reward someone with considerably less muscle, it was prudent to give Cassie first place. I have seen many pro shows and she would be more muscular than most Bikini pros at both the Arnold and Olympia so hopefully she doesn’t add any more size or if she does, she moves into Figure. That is her call and only she can make it. At this show, she came in her best and the judges decided they would reward her for it and deservingly she took first. Second place went to Stephanie Jamieson and third went to the striking Erin Elliott. In this class my attention was captured by fourth place finisher Erin Bjornson. Erin is graceful on stage and has a striking look. She will need to add a little more muscle mass in order to place higher at the regional shows.
In the Master 35+ A Class we saw Sadaf Imanian take first place. Sadaf looked great and definitely deserved first. Second went to Christina Cherban and third to Angela Evans.
Masters 35+ B Class was close. Kristyna Diaczuk took first place. Erin Kelly placed second and Jasmin Kohl took third.
The Master Bikini 45+ was impressive. Kristin Maine was the winner but I would need to see her DL to ensure she is actually 45+. The lady looks fantastic and not a year over 30. Wow. I am impressed. Second went to the charismatic Marlene Long who looked fantastic and third went to Tanya Goudie who looked like she was thoroughly enjoying every moment on stage. All three of you ladies deserve a HUGH applause. Well done!!
The Bikini Overall was fun to watch as always. Each lady brings something different to the stage and it is fun to compare and see who will eventually emerge with the title. Going into the final I was favoring Sarah Taylor and Brittany Ward for the simple fact they are well proportioned and have similar shape and musculature. In this show, Sarah out posed Brittany and showcased her physique well. You don’t always need to be hitting your poses hard as it can show too much muscle. Sarah posed perfectly and seemed relaxed. Brittany seemed to be trying a little too hard and it took away from her lines. Kiera Nielsen posed very well and is closing in on being a viable threat at the next level. As she brings her legs in, keep an eye out for her to push everyone. She has a very beautiful look and will continue to do damage if she takes things slow over the next couple years. At the end of the night it was Sarah who deservingly took home first spot. Congratulations Sarah on the big win.
[Bikini Overall – Front and Back poses]
BACKSTAGE PHOTOSHOOTS & FUN
It is always a lot of fun to go backstage and see what everyone is up to during the intermission. Status Fitness photographer Ali Sohrab is at the BCABBA shows conducting the masses backstage and having fun photographing as many adventurous souls as he can with no obligation to purhase his packages. I thought about that opportunity and decided to take him up on it. Of course a few curious souls stopped by to watch me work my “magic” – some of which was caught on social media – thanks Julie!! That said, I had to get her to put her actions where her… well you get the picture… and so you shall. Here is the magic of Ali photographing yours truly alongside superstar volunteer Julie McGraa.
[David Ford and superstar volunteer Julie McGraa experiencing the magic of Ali Sohrab backstage]
[David Ford headshot backstage with photographer Ali Sohrab]
I’m not sure how many competitors took advantage of Ali’s set up backstage but I know if I was competing again, I would definitely be taking advantage of this opportunity. Everyone puts in hours of hard work over 6-20 weeks and it’s the best way to commemorate the entire journey. Photos are forever – sometimes that is bad – but more times than not it is great to have something to look back on. Whenever there is a fire, photos are the main things people try to take with them. Not only for the sake of memories but for the sake of fun and a great experience – the next time you see Ali, come out of your comfort zone and get some great photos as well. I have only heard positive remarks about Ali’s interaction with the competitors/volunteers and his work back stage. If you shot with Ali backstage and haven’t had a chance to follow up with him, be sure to drop him a quick email here to ensure you get your photo set.
Thank you to Tarik Rahiman for putting on an exciting second fall 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. Learn more about the BCABBA here.
Winning a show feels great and is rewarding, however, this opportunity is limited to only one person per class. A professional photo shoot with the opportunity to be published is open to everyone and if you have a marketable look then it is a near guarantee. The above banner shows just a few of the athletes David Ford has photographed already published in 2016. Want to be noticed by peers, company heads, supplement companies, trainers, photographers and editors? Contact David to schedule your professional fitness photo shoot before your 2017 show.
Please note, we will be adding a few more images as time permits.