After seeing 65 contestants hit the stage at the inagural NPC IRON MAN Naturally last season, I figured 85 to 90 would be a good number to shoot for in 20012. Fortunately, I figured wrong. Yup, a grand total of 118 bodies, with 150 counting crossovers, showed up on Saturday, January 28 at the LA Convention Center to take part in the annual event that is part of the huge LA FitExpo.
And it wasn’t just the quantity that stood out; the winners were all exceptional, with a few seasoned vets and a host of first-times putting on the posing suits to strut their stuff in front of the judging panel and thousands of spectators viewing both the contest and the Expo.
One of those veterans, Ibrahim Daramy, came back to defend his Open Lightweight crown and left with not only another class win, but the Overall crown as well, besting LHW winner Lamir McQueen, MW champ Jason Demarco and HW winner Greg Grant in the process.
In the Novice Men category, Ricardo Miranda took the MW class en route to the Overall, topping Israel Hernandez (LW) and Mike Pierron (HW). In the newly formed Men’s Physique division, where I added a third class because of the volume of competitors, Shaka Smith duplicated his Short class and Overall victory at my 2011 BMR West Coast Classic, holding off the strong challenge of nemesis Tim Roberts, who finished right behind Smith at the WCC, but one slot ahead of Shaka at the USA. Smith fended off strong challenges by Mike Saffaie, Class B winner, and C category champ Martin Mester, to cop top honors. Mester, the Tall class winner at the 2011 WCC, toppled the field in the Masters to add another award to his mantle. Masters Mester…sort of a nice ring to it, eh?
Alexandra Porshnikoff, one of the NPC’s premier figure competitors, returned to the stage after a two year absense to win both the Open and the Masters 35. Porshnikoff, 38, now has her sights on the Arnold Amateur title, to be held in Columbus, Ohio next month. Cindy Jackson came out on top in the Masters 45+ division.
In the Open Bikini division, Alyssa Adamson followed up her victory in the Masters 35+ category to take both the C division and the Overall; she defeated A champion Victoria Renee and B Class winner Cystal Cunningham to top a very strong field of contestants.
Alabama’s Holland Canter was crowned as the winner in the newly added Women’s Physique class; Greg Grant won the 50+ in Masters Men 50+, with Michael Landon (no relation to the late, great actor), did likewise in the 40+.Robert Willey, a 17-year-old senior from Granada Hills High School, defeated Danny Zamora to win the Teen Men title.