I had a great time attending the 2011 IFBB Tampa Bay Pro Show promoted by Tim Gardner out here in my new home of Tampa, Florida. Matt Midyett, the owner of the Powerhouse Gym in downtown Tampa, was one of the sponsors of the show and he was kind enough to hook me up with a pass to see the show. Matt and myself hung out with 1983 Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout during the prejudging. Samir was on hand to receive an award for his contribution to bodybuilding and Powerhouse Gym at the evening show. Samir is a Bodybuilder's Bodybuilder and he still really loves the sport. It was fun to see him backstage with all the pro bodybuilders ready to go on stage. Samir was telling all the guys how to stand and how to pose and some of these poor guys were getting exhausted from Samir's posing lessons before they stepped out under the lights. LOL
After the prejudging was finished, Matt, Samir and myself went out to lunch and were joined by Matt's beautiful wife Gina, Shawn Ray, photographer Rick Schaff and beautiful fitness model Sherry Goggin, who was in town to see the show. It was great talking bodybuilding with Shawn and Samir, two awesome bodybuilders I grew up admiring and reading about in the magazines when I was coming up in the sport.
At the evening show, more bodybuilding legends were in attendance. 1982 Mr. Olympia Chris Dickerson, a Florida resident, was also there watching the show. Lee Labrada was also at the show to receive the Ben Weider Lifetime Achievement Award. They couldn't have picked a more worthy recipient than Mr. Mass with Class himself. Lee was gracious and eloquent in his acceptance speech after receiving his award. Samir also received an award from Powerhouse Gym in downtown Tampa owner Matt Midyett for his contribution to the sport of bodybuilding and his support of the Powerhouse Gym chain.
As for the show itself, Marius Dohne pulled an upset in beating contest favorite Hidetada Yamagishi. Frank McGrath took third and qualified for the Mr. Olympia contest after coming back from a car accident a year ago that almost took his life. Mark Dugdale moved from the 202 class to the open class and placed 4th at this show with his classy physique. The upset of the night was Tampa resident Marcus Haley taking 5th place after recently taking second at the Orlando Pro Show about a month ago. Marcus was visibly upset at his placing and the audience didn't agree with the decision either.
All in all, it was a great night. Being an old school bodybuilder myself, the highlight was seeing and talking to the legends of the sport like Chris Dickerson, Samir Bannout, Shawn Ray and Lee Labrada. It's great to see these gentlemen all in good health and still supporting the sport that they love. Congratulations to promoter Tim Gardner for putting on a great show and I look forward to next year's event.