Went down to Venice Sunday, meeting up with Alex Azarian, Merv and Jerry Fredrick at Dave Bourlet’s Max Muscle store, but a block away from the infamous Gold’s Gym. Alex once again joined me in taking an inside look at the 2009 NPC Nationals, being held November 21-22 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
So, in case you can’t figure this out, we pulled out our crystal balls nearly a full seven weeks before the show. Who are our top selections? Hey now, I’m not that dumb…you’ll have to enjoy the video when it’s placed (probably in two-three weeks) on the site.
And, since neither one of us have seen any of the contestants to date (either in person or in pics or videos), it’s totally a guessing game. Well, let me take that back. Alex has viewed, up close and personal, one of the combatants on a daily basis—himself. Yes, Azarian will be back, in either the Welterweight or Lightweight divisions, with redemption on his mind.
After we did our thing, Merv filmed a segment with Bourlet and me. Dave truly loves bodybuilding (“This isn’t a job to me”), and it’s obvious with a quick viewing of his neatly organized facility. As he says, it’s more of a museum than a store, with autographed posters from several Mr. Olympia events, photographs of more big names than I have space to mention, and two comfortable couches to view DVDs made by some of the icons of the industry.
After it’s completion, Alex zipped home to get back to his latter stages of his contest prep, while Merv and Jerry and I walked down to Gold’s to see what interesting subjects may be in the gym on this cool, windy afternoon. Jerry had warned me this was an “off day” for celebrity sightings, but I was confident we’d find somebody worthy of taping.
Sure enough, there was Titan, AKA Michael O’Hearn, who told the viewers about the completion of a recent flick, featuring Ving Rhames and James Caan, with another film ready to start production on October 16. Mike’s girl, Figure Olympia competitor Sherlyn Roy, was also on hand to chat about the experience of being on the Orleans Arena stage for the first time, and how she’s prepping for the Sacramento Pro in November.
When finished, we headed back to Sauce, the mega-popular eatery next to Bourlet’s business, for lunch. And, who do I see sitting at a table? Mr. Olympia himself. Yeah, Jay Cutler, joined by wife Kerry. Cutler had been in town for several photo shoots earlier in the week, so it was a pleasant surprise to run into him. I hadn’t had a chance to talk to the Ultimate Beef since his historic victory a week earlier; he told me he was in the 255-260 pound range on stage. I asked him about a rumor swirling around that he was considering retirement after he achieved his longed for three Sandow statues; then added that I’d already picked him, in my interview with Dave, to win it again in 2010. Sorry Jay, can’t put the posing trunks away just yet.
Oh, Jay also promised to be back as my special guest poser for the first ever West Coast Classic, formerly known as the Junior Cal, next June. Of course, since I don’t have venue locked up, it may be wishful thinking, but I’m optimistic (am looking at a facility Monday afternoon), and will keep ya all informed as soon as I seal the deal. But, in any case, am off to a pretty good start, eh?