For the fifth consecutive year, I have been promoting the ABA Natural North America contest in Bolingbrook, Illinois. This year's event took place only 3 weeks before the INBA Natural Universe competition, which will take place at the same location in Bolingbrook on Saturday, September 1st.
I had 55 competitors show up on Saturday, August 11th, 2012 this year to compete in divisions such as Men and Women's Bodybuilding, Figure, Bikini Diva and Men's Physique. In addition to the outstanding competitors, I also brought in one of the best Natural Bodybuilders in the world to guest pose. Philip Ricardo Jr. has won multiple championships in several different Natural Bodybuilding organizations and is considered one of the very best in the sport.
I presented the Natural Bodybuilding Lifetime Achievement Award to 1966 AAU Mr. America Bob Gajda. Bob has been a big supporter of Natural Bodybuilding since I started promoting these contests and he has also been a big influence in the lives of many physique stars in our sport. It was an honor to present Bob with this award.
In the Men's Open Bodybuilding category, Nigerian native Richard Aluko won the short class and the overall. Richard was hard as nails with no visible bodyfat anywhere on his body. He had striated muscle popping out all over his physique. Unfortunately, Richard has a bad hernia in his lower abs that is very distracting but this didn't stop him from taking first place in the short class and winning Best Chest, Best Back and Best Legs as well as the Overall Title.
The winner in the Men's Medium Class was Anthony "Flex" Williams. "Flex" was lean and ripped to win first place. He still needs to add some muscle but he is new to the sport and the best is ahead of him.
The Tall Class winner was Brian Noe who presented a very ripped physique to take a unanimous first place. Veteran competitor Larry Montgomery was in second and Big Phil Borowski was third. If Phil ever comes in ripped, he's going to give the competition some problems.
In the overall, Richard Aluko could not be denied the title with his combination of rock hard muscle and extremely low bodyfat. What a genetic freak this guy is! Watch for him in the future.
The Figure Open class was won by first time competitor Kasia Puchalski. Kasia won the short class with her shapely but muscular physique and defeated Tall Class winner Ashley Abel for the overall title.
In the Bikini Diva, tall and sexy Faydra Brown won the Tall Class and the Overall. Faydra knows how to work it onstage and she definitely personifies the Bikini Diva attitude. The Short Class in the Bikini Diva category was won by Tammy Hellings.
In the always competitive Novice Men's Bodybuilding category, Short Class winner Brook Wilkerling won the Overall. Brook made remarkable improvement from the Natural Illinois show in April where he placed a distant fifth. Over 20 pounds lighter for this contest, Brook displayed good thickness and superior leg development over his competition.
The Medium Class was won by Anthony "Flex" Williams in his second first place finish of the night. Flex beat a tough class of contenders in this class to emerge victorious.
The Tall Class was awarded to Adam Long. Adam has a great upper body with good shape and thickness. He needs to bring up his legs to match his upper body and then he will win an overall title in the near future.
The Open Women's Bodybuilding title was won by first time competitor Aleesa Govan. Aleesa is very young but she posed like a veteran competitor, smiling throughout her posing routine and hitting each pose perfectly. Her parents, Kevin and Cassandra Govan, own a Personal Training Studio in Bolingbrook so they gave her expert instruction.
The Masters Men category was a repeat of the Men's Open Bodybuilding Tall Class. Brian Noe took first followed by Larry Montgomery in second and Phil Borowski in third. In the Grand Masters category (age 50-59), Terrance Kowalski was in first place. In the Ultra Grand Masters category (age 60-69), Bill Busby returned to competition after almost 20 years away from the stage. Bill looked incredible and he looked like someone 20 years younger. In the overall Masters Men, Brian Noe took home the big trophy.
The Figure Masters was won by first time competitor Mary Boyer. Mary looked great onstage and you would never have guessed that this was her first time competing.
The Jr. Masters Figure (ages 35-39) was won by Amy Koehler and the Jr. Masters Bikini was awarded to Jacinta Taylor.
Jenni Whipple won both the Novice Women's Bodybuilding and the Masters Women's Bodybuilding as well as taking second place in the Women's Open Bodybuilding category so she had a very successful night.
In the Men's Physique division, Mitch Holmbeck captured the right combination of muscle size and definition along with good presentation to take first place. This was the first time that the Natural North America hosted the Men's Physique division and it proved to be pretty popular so it will be back again next year.
Philip Ricardo Jr. gave an outstanding posing routine that combined three songs so the audience definitely got their money's worth. Phil is not only one of the best Natural Bodybuilders in the world but he's also a fantastic poser.
Thanks to Optimum Nutrition, ABB Performance and Pride Nutrition for sponsoring the contest. I am looking forward to an even bigger year for these Natural Bodybuilding contests in 2013!