Mark Erpelding has recorded quite an impressive NPC contest resume. He won his class at the IFBB North American in 2005; he finish third in the Light Heavyweight division at the Nationals the same year. Erpelding is also a familiar face to Los Angeles bodybuilding fans, winning the Heavyweight class at the Excalibur in 2008.
So, it wasn’t an unknown entity, to say the least, when a St. Louis, Missouri resident toppled the Open Division at the 2010 ‘Cal Saturday night at Veterans Auditorium in Culver City. Erpelding bested an outstanding field of Luca Pennazzato (SHW), An Nguyen (LHW), Leo Morales (MW), Craig Jones (WW), Tatsu Kazu (LW) and Jeffrey Garlejo (BM) en route to the Overall prestigious crown. Look for Erpelding to challenge for a pro card at the USA in two months.
Congrats also to the other Overall winners at the Jon Lindsay-Steve O’Brien production: Jordan Pierce (Women’s BB), Heather Dees (Figure) and Alex Zerega (Bikini). In the Men’s Novice, Chris Sanchez won the Overall. Chris, a huge Lakers fan, might have been even happier when he found out his fave team bested Phoenix earlier in the evening, and will be moving on to the NBA Finals to meet the Celtics one more time.
Pete Ciccone joined me as co-emcee of the affair, and did a good job in his first ever attempt being behind a podium instead of on stage flexing. As always, the venue was filled with big names in the industry: Shawn Ray, Charles Glass, Lionel Brown, Hany Rambod, and his fiance, Faranaz Tavakoli, sporting his new engagement ring proudly. Also in the house was IRON MAN’S Jerry Fredrick and Ruth Silverman, Tad Inoue and Lee and Stacy Thompson. Lee, the Texas State chairman, flew in to handle the head judging duties, while Stacy, a pro bikini star, served on the judging panel.
Michael Bautista isn’t competing in my West Coast Classic in three weeks, but he is the official suit designer for the show. Bautista showed off those biceps, growing with all the design work he’s been getting of late.