Q: There seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm around the natural bodybuilding world preceding the New Motion Machines NPC Texas Shredder Classic this year. So, how did your contest go?
A: To tell you the truth, I was a little nervous about living up to the ’09 Texas Shredder Classic, but this year’s show, which was held on April 24, was by far our biggest ever. We had 156 athletes on contest day, which was about 40 more than last year, and we sold out the 900-seat Texas School for the Deaf Auditorium in Austin for the second year in a row—we’re definitely going to be in a bigger venue next year. The quality and depth of the competition were mind-boggling, especially considering that we had a fully drug-tested event. Outside of the air conditioning and sound system not functioning optimally, the show came off without a hitch. The athletes entertained, and the standing-room-only crowd responded.
Mary Moran Parker completed her three-peat, taking the women’s overall and masters bodybuilding titles for the third consecutive year. Lightweight champion Diane Mueller brought her ripped physique all the way from Wisconsin but was unable to overcome Mary’s combination of size, symmetry and conditioning.
In the men’s division heavyweight Ken Stewart, who traveled from Maryland, took the overall and the NPC championship ring. The overall posedown was a battle royal, but Stewart’s chiseled mass prevailed over middleweight champ Charles “Skeletor” Fuller and lightweight champ Steven Cherry. Charles and Steven both brought ripped-to-shreds, well-proportioned muscle to the stage and made the decision a tough one for our esteemed judging panel.
For the first time in four years fitness competitors entered the Shredder Classic. I’m always impressed by fitness athletes. Having trained a few over the years, I know that it’s the most difficult sport to prepare for. Rachel Johnson won the title with a shapely physique, a high-energy routine and a Longhorn top—thanks, Rachel. As a lifetime Longhorn I really appreciated that. Maggie Filla was a very strong runner-up, and Aleece Oberholtzer was stellar in third place. I have to mention that Aleece was the kindergarten teacher of my nieces Anne and Allison. The audience participated with me in the pronunciation of her last name: O burr hole sir, just the way she teaches her kindergarten class to say it.
The figure division was loaded with talent—50 competitors in all. It took an outstanding body just to crack the top 10. Janeth Gonzalez took the A-class with a supersleek physique. Michelle Hanson took the B-class and overall titles with the perfect combination of great legs, a tiny waist, nicely shaped lats and beautiful delts—not to mention a gorgeous smile. I would look for Michelle to make an impact on the national level very soon.
The bikini division was the last to get onstage at the finals but was well worth the wait. Ninety-five percent of the audience stayed to see those ladies. Tara Granberry was named A-class champion with an incredible body and great stage presence, but B-class champ Ashley Gay claimed the overall title. Ashley was the picture of bikini perfection with beautifully shaped feminine muscle that was toned just right for the judges.
Mark Domme took the masters 40-and-over division with a ripped and heavily muscled body. I must add that Mark was also the runner-up in the open middleweight class, proving that it’s not downhill after 40. Speaking of improving with age, Sam Felts was absolutely shredded, beating out some very formidable competition to win the 50-and-over division.
Michael Nguyen parlayed his total package into a win in the teen competition over two other promising young bodybuilders, John McManus, in second, and Brett Moore, third.
While I’m on the subject of promising teens, I must say that while she didn’t have any competition in the teen figure, Megan Smith was an outstanding champion. Her top-flight physique was good enough to finish just out of the top five in her class in the open figure event. That girl is going to be a great one.
In masters figure Claudia Hensley was flawless in claiming the top spot in the 35-and-over division-—in an amazing field of 24 beautiful ladies. Laurie Khan brought her incredible body to Austin, proving that age is just a number as she took the crown in the masters figure 45-and-over division over eight other very talented young ladies. In the masters bikini Jill Gary bested the field of nine with beautiful feminine lines.
In the novice women’s bodybuilding competition Elisa Ospinaisaza came prepared with plenty of nicely shaped muscle and took both the lightweight and overall titles.
As for the novice men, even though lightweight champ Kevin Love and middleweight victor Derek Granzin both brought size, symmetry and plenty of cuts to the stage, heavyweight champ Damon Bowens dominated the novice posedown with a massive, shredded physique.
Before the night was over, Texas bodybuilding fans were treated to a wonderful guest-posing performance by 2009 Texas Shredder Classic Champion Kene Chinweze. The 6’4”, 250-pound mountain of natural muscle was in fantastic condition, especially considering that he was four months out from his next competition. Having witnessed Kene’s improvement since his first contest, the ’08 Shredder Classic, I’m predicting that this amazing young man will win the ’11 Team Universe.
I’d like to thank my wonderful staff of volunteers, who did an outstanding job. I couldn’t have put on the show without them. Special thanks goes to my good friend David Nall, who keeps everything superorganized; my girlfriend, Diana Hurley, who made all the badges and signs and organized all the volunteers; and my daughter Blythe, who scheduled all the polygraphs and kept the competitors organized for me. I know you’re probably wondering what the heck I did. I don’t know exactly, but I sure was busy leading up to the show, and I was incredibly worn out afterward. Special thanks also goes out to all our sponsors and vendors, especially New Motion Machines (you can read about them on page 174).
I apologize to our athletes and fans for the air conditioning and sound system. Again, next year we’ll be in a much bigger venue. So look for the NPC Texas Shredder Classic to be a lot bigger and better in 2011. Thanks everyone for your continued support.
Rachel Dodd Johnson
Megan Nicole Smith
Masters Figure 35 and over
Masters Figure 45 and over
Women’s Novice Lightweight
Mary Moran Parker*
Mary Moran Parker
Men’s Novice Lightweight
Men’a Novice Middleweight
Men’s Novice Heavyweight
Men’s Masters 40–49
Men’s Masters 50–59
* Overall winner.
Editor’s Note: See Dave Goodin’s blog at www.IronManMagazine.com. Click on the blog selection in the top menu bar. To contact Dave directly, send e-mail to [email protected]. IM